Flournoy set to make his move

After lost first season and redshirting last year, De'Von Flournoy is bigger, more confident and ready to push for a starting job.

The steps come fast and precise.

One, two, three.

Then comes the cut, going to the post.

No, he doubles back to the corner, putting several steps between himself and defensive back Tony Burnett.

That the ball sails high and out of bounds, well beyond the grasp of De'Von Flournoy, is almost irrelevant.

The fact that Flournoy makes the moves, with such precision and confidence, that stands out.

He continues to show off an assortment over the next hour, a go-route past Nickell Robey, and sluggo against Anthony Brown.

It's hard to believe this is the same player that was, by his own admission, often lost during his first two years at USC.

Flournoy arrived on campus a touted recruit from Birmingham High, a four-star prospect, but was thrown into action unexpectedly as a true freshman after Ronald Johnson suffered a broken collarbone in fall camp and Damian Williams' sprained ankle late in the 2009 season.

He appeared in four games, registering no catches. But it created an opportunity after new coach Lane Kiffin took over, the chance for Flournoy to step back from the game. Not only did the redshirt provide a chance to learn the nuances of the position and playbook, but allowed Flournoy to rebuild his body.

"That's because of my offseason last year and all the whole redshirt season. I came in as a freshman at I think 160. Last year I got to 175, and now I'm 186 and still feeling stronger," he said.

It hasn't cost Flournoy any of his speed. He recently posted the fourth-fastest 40 time of any Trojan, a blazing 4.47.

He'll get to show that quickness plenty in the spring, as USC has limited numbers in its receiving corps and Flournoy can line up anywhere on the field.

"He sees an opportunity to get in, and with only four scholarship wide receivers right now who are healthy, he's trying to make the most of it. He's been doing a great job," quarterback Matt Barkley said.

"His attitude has been awesome, completely different than last year in wanting to get in there, wanting to get better, striving to be different and impress the coaches. I've been really excited about him to see his attitude change. He's always been a hard worker but to have him at 100 percent is good for our team."

With uncertainty at fullback and inexperience at tight end, it seems highly likely the Trojans could employ plenty of three-receiver looks this season.

"The coaches told me to know all the positions. Know the X, know the F and know the Z and you'll help us out more," Flournoy said.

And while many fans are already penciling in Kyle Prater or incoming freshman George Farmer into the starting lineup opposite Robert Woods, the redshirt sophomore Flournoy is just fine coming in below the radar.

"I like that. Everyone wants to be the underdog in situations like this and coming to SC, opportunity is one of the biggest things they are able to push. That's what I love," Flournoy said.

"It's open season for all positions."

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