USC: 2011 top performers

Top 10 performers, No. 4: Robey

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
2:26
PM PT
We're doing a series on the Trojans' top 10 performers in 2011, ranking the team's best players based on their overall value to the team last season.

The first six players, in descending order, were T.J. McDonald, Christian Tupou, Curtis McNeal, Nick Perry, Dion Bailey and Marqise Lee. Here's No. 4 now: cornerback Nickell Robey.

Robey
Kirby Lee/US PresswireCornerback Nickell Robey.
He doesn't look the part, standing a listed 5-8 and 165 pounds and actually measuring in closer to 5-6 and 160. But Nickell Robey is a dogged defender for the Trojans and arguably the most important player on the USC defense.

Thinking of the top players the Trojans faced this season, four of the top 10 or so threats USC went up against were wide receivers. Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, Arizona's Juron Criner, Cal's Keenan Allen and UCLA's Nelson Rosario all fit into that category, and Robey totally shut down both Floyd and Criner.

Allen and Rosario had good games, but that's to be expected when dealing with elite threats. They will still good games on occasion, no matter the quality of the defense. It's telling, though, that Floyd, a likely first-rounder in next April's draft, couldn't get anything going against Robey, and Criner, a guy with four 100-yard games in 2011, had his second-worst game of the season.

Consider, also, that those players are seven and eight inches taller than Robey, respectively. That gives you some context to just how dominant Robey was.

And consider what USC would have had to do at the cornerback position if he weren't there. Remember the weeks between when Torin Harris got hurt and Isiah Wiley emerged as a legitimate No. 2 guy? Tony Burnett struggled mightily.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

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