USC Now mailbag: Transfers, depth and the College Football Playoff

USC Now mailbag: Transfers, depth and the College Football Playoff
USC cornerback Adoree Jackson breaks up a pass intended for UCLA receiver Devin Fuller on Nov. 22. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The transfer bandwagon seems to be rolling like never before for both graduate and undergraduate players. Or does it just seem that way? In years past, transfers were not a big part of football news -- now they definitely are. Have things changed or is it that college football news has become such a huge industry that it must dig ever deeper for stories and news? Or both?

-- Don Green, Merced, Calif.


Every year there are a few players who decide to transfer, quit or enter the NFL draft.

This year is no different and it has been far from an exodus.


In the past, an article probably was not written about each player who left – especially if it was a freshman cornerback who never played.

But the news cycle has changed and social media magnifies each move.

What will #USC do about secondary depth with the recent transfers of three players?

-- Mandale McGee, @mebmcgee


Cornerbacks Devian Shelton, Lamont Simmons and Rahshead Johnson left the team.

None of those players made an impact last season and I would not expect them to make an impact in 2015.

Depth at cornerback should not be a concern, but experience could be.

Kevon Seymour and Adoree' Jackson return as starters and could be the strongest duo USC has had at the position in recent years.

Sophomore Jonathan Lockett and freshmen Iman Marshall and Isaiah Langley are backups.

Are they deep enough this year to win it all?

-- Jason Fink, @AllCityBall



The only way this team has any chance to win the College Football Playoff is if the offense scores 60 points per game.

Because the defense is a major question.

The defensive line lost its best player, Leonard Williams, to the NFL. Williams occupied multiple blockers last season and the other linemen were unable to consistently affect the quarterback.

A lack of experience at safety is also a concern.

Junior Leon McQuay finished the 2014 season with a standout performance in the Holiday Bowl, but he was often inconsistent.

Sophomore John Plattenburg started six games, but made youthful errors.

Third-year sophomore Chris Hawkins moved from cornerback to safety this spring.

And the backups will be freshmen Ykili Ross and Marvell Tell.

Who will have a bigger impact for USC at receiver, Isaac Whitney or De'Quan Hampton?

--GRod, @Usc_Trojanss

It is too soon to tell, but if I had to choose, it would be Whitney.

Whitney enrolled in January and was able to play in 15 spring practices.

He started slow and dropped passes, but improved in the final weeks.

Learning the system and getting experience with the team puts him ahead of Hampton.

Why is Cyrus Hobbi out there at practice. Comeback?

-- Tom Tolman, @TTolman

Players are unavailable to speak with the media during player-run practices in June.

But it appears that Cyrus Hobbi could be training to rejoin the team. He took reps as a tight end during Thursday's player-run practice.

Walk-on Connor Spears also practiced at the position.

Hobbi is a former center who left the team after the 2013 season. He started one game in 2012.

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