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USC Trojans 2021 College Football Team Breakdown (Depth Chart, Schedule & Betting Preview)

Matt Gajewski

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2021 USC Trojans College Football Pac-12 conference season preview depth chart schedule team preview fantasy football betting

No. 14 USC Trojans

2020 Record: 5-1
Returning Starters: Offense No. 8, Defense No. 8

Key Metrics and Personnel

  • Head Coach — Clay Helton (45-23)
  • Offensive Coordinator — Graham Harrell
  • Defensive Coordinator — Todd Orlando
  • Points/Game — 33.3 (28th)
  • Plays/Game — 77.3 (19th)
  • Pass Rate — 60.34% (4th)
  • Yards/Att R — 3.2 (115th)
  • Yards/Att P — 7.2 (65th)
  • Yards/Att Allowed R — 4.2 (57th)
  • Yards Att Allowed P — 6.9 (44th)
  • Points Allowed/Game — 26.0 (44th)
  • Vegas Win Total — 8.5 Over -115, Under -115

Notes

Clay Helton took over as USC’s full time head coach in 2015. He has one losing year in 2018, but he is a perennial firing candidate. Graham Harrell has coordinated USC’s offense since 2019. Todd Orlando enters his second season as defensive coordinator.

Recruiting Class: No. 7

Five Star Recruits:

  • Korey Foreman — DL — No. 1

Other Top Recruits:

  • Raesjon Davis — LB — No. 48
  • Jaxson Dart — QB — No. 68
  • Miller Moss — QB — No. 75
  • Ceyair Wright — CB — No. 79
  • Julien Simon — LB — No. 119
  • Kyron Ware-Hudson — WR — No. 125
  • Michael Trigg — TE — No. 129
  • Prophet Brown — CB — No. 162
  • Brandon Campbell — RB — No. 341

Transfers

  • Darwin Barlow (TCU — RB)
  • Chris Thompson (Auburn — S)
  • Malcolm Epps (Texas — WR/TE)
  • Tahj Washington (Memphis — WR)
  • Keaontay Ingram (Texas — RB)
  • K.D. Nixon (Colorado — WR)
  • Xavion Alford (Texas — S)
  • Ishmael Sopsher (Alabama — DT)

Daily Fantasy Players to Watch

QB Kedon Slovis, RB Keaontay Ingram, WR Drake London

USC Trojans Depth Chart

Offense: 8 Returning Starters

  • QB: Kedon Slovis, Jaxson Dart
  • RB: Keaontay Ingram, Vavae Malepeai
  • WR1: Drake London, Kyle Ford
  • WR2: K.D. Nixon, Gary Bryant
  • WR3: Tahj Washington, Josh Jackson
  • WR4: Jake Smith, Bru McCoy
  • LT: Courtland Ford, Jonah Monheim
  • LG: Andrew Vorhees, Jason Rodriguez
  • C: Brett Neilon, Justin Dedich
  • RG: Liam Jimmons, Liam Douglass
  • RT: Jalen McKenzie, Casey Collier

Defense: 8 Returning Starters

  • Edge: Korey Foreman, Nick Figueroa
  • DT: Ishmael Sopher
  • DT: Tuli Tuipulotu
  • Edge: Drake Jackson
  • LB: Ralen Goforth
  • LB: Kana’i Mauga
  • CB: Chris Steele
  • CB: Isaac Taylor-Stuart
  • CB-N Greg Johnson
  • S: Chase Williams
  • S: Isaiah Polo-Mao

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USC Trojans Breakdown

USC went 5-1 last year, including some game winning drives orchestrated by Kedon Slovis. The Trojans were also woefully inefficient in the red zone as they tried to pound the rock behind an inefficient offensive line.

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At quarterback the Trojans return Heisman candidate Kedon Slovis. Last year Slovis completed 67.0% of his passes for 1,921 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. In 2019 Slovis completed 71.9% of his passes for 3502 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He is not mobile whatsoever. Behind Slovis, USC recruited a pair of four-star freshmen in Jaxson Dart and Miller Moss.

At running back USC hopefully improves after a dreadful 2020. They add transfers Keaontay Ingram and Darwin Barlow. Ingram had 708 yards as a freshman and 853 as a sophomore. He also had 27 and 29 receptions in those seasons. He just got beat out last year. Barlow rushed 73 times for 483 yards (5.9 yards per carry) for TCU last year. He now enters his third season. USC also returns Vavae Malepeai and Kenan Christon. Neither played much, but Malepaei led the team with 54 carries and 238 rushing yards. He also caught 16 passes. They add four-star freshman Brandon Campbell as well.

Receiver is a position of strength for USC despite losing Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns. They also lost Michael Pittman the year before. They return leading receiver Drake London, who snagged 33 passes for 502 yards last year. They also return fourth leading receiver, Bru McCoy who notched 21 catches for 406. They drew a pair of transfers in Memphis’ Tahj Washington and Colorado’s K.D. Nixon. Washington caught 43 passes for 743 yards last year and Nixon notched 15 for 123. His best season came in 2018 with 52 catches for 636 yards and four touchdowns. Their depth consists of Kyle Ford, Gary Bryant, John Jackson and Michael Jackson.

USC does not always use a tight end in their air raid scheme. Jude Wolfe and Erik Krommenhoek should split these duties. They also landed receiver/tight end hybrid Malcolm Epps from Texas.

USC’s offensive line lost just Alijah Vera-Tucker. They return six players with starting experience and 75 career starts between them. Brett Neilon will play center with Liam Jimmons and Andrew Vorhees at the guards. Jalen McKenzie should play right tackle with either Jonah Monheim or Casey Collier starting at left tackle. They ranked 37th in pass blocking last year. Nobody received All-Conference honors, but they sustained many injuries.

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On defense, they lost Marlon Tuipulotu, Palaie Gaoteote, Talanoa Hufanga and Olaijah Griffin, but return immense production on defense. Nick Figueroa is back after leading the team in tackles for loss. Drake Jackson is also a solid edge piece. On the interior, Tuli Tuipulotu brings starting experience and Alabama transfer Ishmael Sopher should play. Ralen Goforth and Kana’i Mauga return to start at linebacker. At corner, Chris Steele and Isaac Taylor-Stuart return to start. Steele has significantly more experience and was Second-Team All-Pac-12. Greg Johnson also has starting experience at nickel. Isaiah Pola-Mao is a returning starter at safety and Chase Williams has five starts as well. The defense gains experience but still lacks elite players.

USC 2021 Football Schedule

  • Sept. 4 San Jose St 5:00 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 11 Stanford 10:30 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 18 Washington State 3:30 p.m. Away
  • Sept. 25 Oregon St 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 2 Colorado 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 9 Utah 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 23 Notre Dame 7:30 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 30 Arizona 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 6 Arizona St 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 13 California 12:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 20 UCLA 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 27 BYU 12:00 p.m. Home

USC Football Betting Outlook

USC plays at Notre Dame in non-conference. They also get a sneaky San Jose State in their opener and BYU to close the year. In conference play, they drew Washington State, Colorado, Arizona State and California on the road. At home, they face Oregon State, Utah, Arizona, UCLA and Stanford. They dodge Washington and Oregon.


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Looking for more college football DFS and DFS CFB? Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world, developed and maintains the DraftKings college football DFS ownership projections. Check out our industry-leading DFS college football projections for DraftKings.

Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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