` Kennard tore his pectoral muscle before the open of fall camp, effectively sidelining and forcing him to redshirt his senior season.
"I'm so excited," Kennard said after practice on Sunday. "I'm just trying to take it one day at a time and not get too ahead of myself, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity.
Though less than ideal to have to watch his team struggle to a 7-6 finish from the sideline his senior season, Kennard says the experience made him become a better football player. "I learned how to deal with it, became a better person and player from it," he explained.
Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron agreed, calling the year off a "blessing in disguise."
"He's a fantastic young man," Orgeron explained. "He's like a coach on the field... He's gotten better as a coach."
The year delay also means Kennard will now have the opportunity to play outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast's new 3-4 scheme, as opposed to defensive end in the Trojans old 4-3 under former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
"He's more at home [in the 3-4]," Orgeron explained. "We really expect him to have a great year."
USC head coach Lane Kiffin pointed toward Kennard and fellow defensive lineman George Uko as two players who "practiced like champions" throughout fall camp, setting the example for their teammates.
"If had had to say someone had a great camp, he's one of them," echoed Orgeron.