Coach: Tommie Robinson
Key departure: Tre Madden
Returning: Senior Justin Davis, sophomores Ronald Jones II, Dominic Davis and Aca’Cedric Ware
Newcomers: Freshman Vavae Malepeai
Outlook: USC returns its top two tailbacks from 2015, Ronald Jones II and Justin Davis.
Jones, from McKinney, Texas, overcame a bout of homesickness during fall camp to produce a breakout freshman season. He rushed for 987 yards and eight touchdowns, despite never feeding his constant craving for Texas burger chain Whataburger.
This spring, Jones must improve his blocking and pass-catching skills.
Justin Davis took over as a starter last season after fifth-year senior Madden was slowed and then sidelined by a nagging injury. He rushed for 902 yards and seven touchdowns and said that USC found its offensive identity -- establishing the running game -- when Clay Helton took over as coach.
As a senior, Justin Davis will reunite with assistant Tommie Robinson, who returns to USC after two seasons at Texas. Robinson coached Justin Davis during his freshman season.
Sophomores Dominic Davis and Aca’Cedric Ware will compete to join the rotation. Both played sparingly on offense last season, though were often used on special teams.
Dominic Davis rushed for 69 yards and also caught seven passes for 102 yards. Ware rushed for 36 yards and a touchdown.
Vavae Malepeai of Mililani, Hawaii, signed with the 2016 recruiting class and will join the team in fall camp.
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