Damien Mama: The former five-star true freshman is poised to get the start at left guard for the Trojans. He will join true freshmen Toa Lobendahn at left tackle and Viane Talamaivao at right guard giving USC three first year offensive linemen starting against the Irish.
Mama is just the latest shakeup on the USC offensive line after left tackle Chad Wheeler was lost for the season with a knee injury suffered against Utah. Aundrey Walker, one of USC's most experienced linemen, stepped in after Wheeler was injured and played well. But in the next game against Washington State the coaching staff moved Lobendahn over to left tackle and he has played there ever since.
Mama and USC's trio of freshmen will be challenged by a young and depleted Irish front-seven. The 350-pounder will be asked to revive the Trojan running game that has fallen off in the later part of the season.
J.R. Tavai: Rush end J.R. Tavai returned from injury last weekend against UCLA and was expected to give a needed boost to the Trojan pass rush. But Tavai only played 16 snaps and was only asked to rush Brett Hundley a handful of times.
A healthy Tavai gives USC its best chance to create pressure on Everett Golson by just rushing four, essentially what USC has been doing all season. USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox could send more blitzes against Notre Dame after seeing the success Arizona State had, but that hasn't been in USC's DNA this season.
It will likely come down to Tavai winning some one-on-one battles on the outside while Leonard Williams faces double-teams.
Adoree Jackson: This true freshmen has been a major contributor on defense and special teams. He was on the field for every defensive snap against UCLA and many feel he has already emerged as the best cover cornerback in the Pac-12.
Jackson is also USC's top kickoff return man, though lately he has made some bad decisions that cost the Trojans field position. He can be magic in the open field with the ball in his hands and is often one block or missed tackle away from taking one to the house.
For those who don't feel that recruiting really matters, Jackson is proof that it does. USC has relied on talented true freshmen this season, no one more so that Adoree Jackson.
Randall Telfer: Remarkably Telfer is the only Trojan senior to score a touchdown this season. Against California he was the only available scholarship tight end on the roster with true freshman Bryce Dixon out because of a student conduct violation.
This week Dixon has missed practice time because of concussion-like symptoms and his status for the game is uncertain.
While USC has not utilized the tight ends in the passing game very often this season, when they make catches they are usually big ones. Either way, Telfer should play a key role in helping the ground game get going.
George Farmer: With so much focus on Nelson Agholor in the passing game, USC needs a second receiver to step up and contribute. Throughout the year there has been no consistency with receivers after Agholor, and it is hard to determine just who, if anyone, will emerge as the clear No. 2 guy.
Former five-star prospect George Farmer played on the same high school team with NFL receivers Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and Paul Richardson. He missed all of last season with a knee injury and has been banged up at times this season. In 9 games he has 20 catches for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Will Saturday finally be his coming out party? We have a hunch this could be Farmer's time to shine, so keep an eye on No. 8.