Beginning with the troublesome…USC's defensive line.
The most concerning position group for USC this offseason is the Trojans' defensive line. Ed Orgeron already has his work cut out for him with recruiting during these months, but he will have to vamp up the recruits on his line as he will see three potential vacancies in the Trojans' 4-3 system.
Surely the biggest void will come inside with the graduation of senior tackles Christian Tupou and Da'John Harris. But if junior end Nick Perry leaves early for the NFL draft --a projected first round pick -- then 75 percent of this line will need replacements.
Especially for a line high on experience and production, this position group is akin to the Trojans' offensive line in 2011: worrisome.
Fortunately for USC, no red alert needs to be issued just yet. The Trojans have a reliable tackle in redshirt freshman George Uko, who even recorded a career start in his first year, against Washington, replacing an injured Harris. Another major contributor appeared in true freshman J.R. Tavai, who showed considerable progress in the seven games he played.
Two freshmen who redshirted this season show great promise in end Greg Townsend Jr. and tackle Christian Heyward. Kevin Greene has also been a reliable backup end for two years now and he might get more time on the field in 2012 if Perry departs for the league.
But in order for the Trojans to play at the top of their individual game, rotation is necessary. It's a major reason why the rotation of Kennard, Horton and Perry made USC's defense so successful. Thus, this position group needs at least two solid recruits who can come in and contribute.
If expected greyshirt DeVante Wilson enrolls in the spring, Orgeron and Kiffin can breathe a bit easier because his chances of playing right away are likely, especially with an offseason under his belt.
Another commit is defensive end Pio Vatuvei out of Patterson (Calif.) High. While he is a soft verbal, it's likely Vatuvei will come to Troy and help pad the depth, although he may end (no pun intended) up redshirting.
Even with Vatuvei and Wilson and the expected contributions of Heyward and Towsend Jr., coaches are hoping to bring in another talented lineman, the likes of five-star tackle Ellis McCarthy, into this class.
Two linemen are definitely leaving USC this offseason. If either Perry and/or Armstead join the seniors, the Trojans' will be in a defensive linemen drought. They need to stack this position, and do so STAT.