LOS ANGELES -- For the last two seasons, USC has had a star true freshman on offense to showcase to the rest of the college football world.
First it was Robert Woods. Then it was Marqise Lee. Now, the expectation is that it'll be Nelson Agholor, the top receiving prospect from Tampa, Fla.
Trojans coach Lane Kiffin is cautioning against that assumption.
"When you get true freshmen, everyone wants them to be stars, and their families expect them to be, and the kids do," Kiffin said Wednesday. "It rarely happens. If you study the country, you’re probably going to find, really, maybe five impact true freshmen. … Your Marqise Lees, your De’Anthony Thomases, your Sammy Watkinses. There’s only about five of them a year. Yet there’s 30 five-star players every year.
"Most of the guys need that next spring to really get comfortable and get used to the speed of the college game and the playbooks."
From the looks of it, Agholor will not have as big of an immediate impact on the Trojans as Woods and Lee did in back-to-back seasons. Part of that is outside his control -- there aren't going to be too many balls left to spread out -- and part of that is because he still had a learning curve to overcome in camp.
But he'll a contributor, certainly. And that's enough for Kiffin, who obviously expects Agholor to become a star in future seasons, after he gets one of those aforementioned springs under his belt.
As for this year, Kiffin refused to put an expectation on the performances of Agholor or any of USC's other key freshmen, including defensive tackle Leonard Williams and left tackle Max Tuerk.
"We’ll see," Kiffin said. "A number of our true freshmen are going to play for us.
"We’ll give them every opportunity, like we have in the past."