USC football: Depth chart offers few surprises
There were no big surprises when USC Coach Lane Kiffin released an end-of-spring depth chart Monday.
Kiffin, in fact, brushed off its importance.
“That really doesn’t mean very much,” he said.
Still, the chart does offer some insight into where the roster stands heading into summer. The Trojans begin training camp in August in preparation for their Sept. 1 opener against Hawaii.
Matt Barkley, of course, is the starting quarterback. Max Wittek and Cody Kessler are listed as co-backups.
Third-year sophomore Jesse Scroggins, who sat out most of spring practice because of a hip injury, is listed behind the redshirt freshmen.
Kiffin said Scroggins continues to work through academic issues that could affect his eligibility.
“Jesse’s got a long two weeks here,” Kiffin said. “He’s got to dig himself out of a hole.”
Sophomore Aundrey Walker is the heir apparent to Matt Kalil at left tackle.
The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Walker started training camp at right tackle. But he was moved to the left side after a week and is on track to protect Barkley’s blindside. Junior Kevin Graf, who began training camp at left tackle, returns to the right side, where he started every game in 2011.
“It just makes too much sense to leave Kevin where he’s got 12 games under his belt,” Kiffin said. “Aundrey’s length is so unique. That obviously helps you a lot on the left side, and he has a very high ceiling.
“So it’s exciting at times — you see some plays that look like first-rounders do. He’s got that type of ability.”
Tailback depth and defensive tackle remain concerns.
Curtis McNeal is the starting tailback, D.J. Morgan the backup. Incoming freshman Nelson Agholor is listed as a receiver and tailback.
Sophomore J.R. Tavai is listed as the starting nose tackle next to George Uko. But Kiffin said Antwaun Woods also is in the mix at nose tackle.
Senior Jawanza Starling and junior Demetrius Wright are battling for a safety spot opposite All-American T.J. McDonald.
Isiah Wiley started the last six games at one cornerback spot in 2011, but Brian Baucham, who was academically ineligible last season, and injured Torin Harris are also listed as possible starters at the position.
Kyle Negrete, the punter last season, is listed as a co-starter with redshirt freshman Kris Albarado. Kiffin said there could be a possibility that Negrete would handle short punts, Albarado longer kicks.
Here’s the depth chart with starters in bold and incoming players in parentheses:
Giovanni De Poalo
Randall Telfer OR Xavier Grimble
Christian Thomas OR Junior Pomee
Max Wittek OR Cody Kessler
John Manoogian OR Emon Saee OR Anthony Neyer
Taylor Ross OR
Alec Jaffe OR
Greg Townsend Jr.
Morgan Breslin OR Kevin Greene
Jawanza Starling OR Demetrius Wright
Isiah Wiley OR Brian Baucham OR Torin Harris
Kyle Negrete OR Kris Albarado
Robert Woods AND Curtis McNeal OR Marqise Lee
George Farmer OR Nickell Robey
Nickell Robey OR Robert Woods