Fall camp position preview: Receivers/tight ends

August, 1, 2012
8/01/12
11:51
AM PT
With the start of the 2012 USC football season drawing near, we’re doing position-by-position previews of the Trojans’ roster all this week. We began Monday with quarterbacks and continued Tuesday with running backs. Today, we'll do receivers and tight ends.

For each position, we’re starting with the current depth chart, going off the end-of-spring depth chart as released by Lane Kiffin, and discussing what needs to be resolved by Sept. 1.

Receiver

Flanker

1. Robert Woods, junior
2. De'Von Flournoy, redshirt junior
3. Nelson Agholor, freshman
4. Darreus Rogers*, freshman

Split end

1. Marqise Lee, sophomore
2. George Farmer, sophomore
3. Victor Blackwell, redshirt freshman

Tight end

1a. Xavier Grimble, redshirt sophomore
1b. Randall Telfer, redshirt sophomore
3a. Christian Thomas, redshirt sophomore
3b. Junior Pomee, redshirt freshman
5. Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, freshman

*Assuming he qualifies academically

There are two primary questions the Trojans are facing at receiver.

The first of those relates to the health of Robert Woods' ankle. The second is who's going to be Matt Barkley's No. 3 target?

With Woods, it seems the ankle is finally getting good enough for him to return to the field, but it doesn't seem like it'll be good enough for him to be deemed 100 percent by the team's training staff anytime soon.

How much that matters depends on your perspective. Woods clearly wasn't fully healthy for most -- if not all -- of the Trojans' games last season and performed just fine.

The No. 3 receiver question, then, seems to be the biggest. Who's going to be the go-to slot receiver behind Woods and Lee?

One week ago, the most likely candidate was Farmer. Now that Silas Redd is officially in the fold, though, it might very well be Agholor -- assuming he's going to play receiver, of course.

Agholor is agile, speedy and smart. He's got a lot of Robert Woods in him in terms of his pre-season preparation, and he'll be mentally ready for the role come Sept. 1. Will he be physically ready?

If he's not, Farmer makes the most sense. He has the ideal receiver's attributes and some experience now, too. The problem is that he's on his way to becoming known as injury-prone.

Flournoy could also end up playing a Brandon Carswell-esque role if the Trojans go for reliability over upside. Blackwell is also available, and Rogers may or may not get to campus at any point during camp.

At tight end, Grimble and Telfer are complementary players who qualify as one of the best tight-end duos in the country, all things considered. They're going to be on the field a lot.

It will be interesting to see how their roles change from a year ago. Grimble was more polished to begin the 2011 season, especially as a blocker, but Telfer emerged into a red-zone threat in October and November.

It's conceivable Thomas could be tried out at defensive end once he returns from hip surgery, due to Devon Kennard's torn pectoral muscle. If he is, that would open up the No. 3 slot for the talented Pomee, who struggled with injuries last season.

Cope-Fitzpatrick appears to be a redshirt candidate.

We'll do the offensive line Thursday.

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2013 TEAM LEADERS

PASSINGATTCOMPYDSTD
C. Kessler361236296820
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
J. Allen1357855.814
T. Madden1387035.13
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
M. Lee5779113.94
N. Agholor5691816.46
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense174.2218.1392.3
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring28.521.37.2