Spring battles: fullback

There isn't expected to be much suspense or drama during spring practices at the fullback position. The Trojans return the same four players to the spot, but will there be a switch at the top of the depth chart?

Soma Vainuku, RS sophomore
Soma Vainuku, now a redshirt sophomore, should expect to once again be atop the depth chart during spring practice. He proved in 2012 to be a strong blocker. Over the season Vainuku had more receptions than carries -- but what you probably recall the most are a few key drops -- at Washington -- and the fateful drop in the end zone against Notre Dame. Vainuku will need to prove this spring he is capable of making key receptions under pressure in order to maintain his starting role.

Jahleel Pinner, sophomore
Jahleel Pinner looks to be Vainuku's biggest threat at taking over the top spot on the depth chart this spring. Now as a true sophomore, Pinner has had a season to adjust to the size and speed of the college game. If the 5-foot-11 225-pound back's blocking skills continue to progress as they did toward the end of the season and he can show he can handle the ball under pressure, look for him to take the starting spot from Vainuku.

Charles Burks, RS sophomore & Hunter Simmons, RS senior

Both will continue to challenge for a spot in the rotation, but barring injury, expect Vainuku and Pinner to have it on lockdown.

My prediction: Pinner's experience starts to pay off and he proves he has the ball skills to take over the top spot on the chart.

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