L.A. Now

USC spring preview: Defensive line

USC spring preview: Defensive line

USC begins spring practice Tuesday. We’ll preview each position group before workouts begin.

Defensive line

Key departures: Leonard Williams

Key returner players: Fifth-year seniors Antwaun Woods, Claude Pelon and Delvon Simmons

Returning players: Fifth-year seniors Greg Townsend Jr. and Cody Temple, third-year sophomore Kenny Bigelow and redshirt freshmen Malik Dorton and Don Hill.

Outlook: The Trojans must find a way to replace the production of Williams, who made 80 tackles, including seven sacks.

Woods is sidelined for spring practice because of a torn chest muscle he suffered before the Holiday Bowl.

Simmons started 10 games at tackle and made two-and-a-half tackles for losses, including a sack.

Pelon made six tackles for losses last season, including 2 1/2 sacks.

Temple has been slowed or sidelined for much of his career because of injuries. He made three tackles for losses last season.

Townsend played in nine games, but could be slowed during spring practice because of a foot injury.

Bigelow redshirted his freshman season and was sidelined in 2014 after off-season knee surgery.

Dorton and Hill redshirted and practiced on the scout team. Hill is listed as an outside linebacker.

Questions about USC? Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times