The too early breakout of 2014

Too soon to predict a player on USC's roster who could make an early surprise this season? It's not too soon if you've been paying attention to summer workouts...

Once upon a time, USC freshman cornerback Jonathan Lockett wasn't a Trojan.

In fact, he was never going to be a Trojan under former coach Lane Kiffin, who failed to offer the Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei prospect a scholarship.

If it weren't for Kiffin's firing, Lockett would be wearing Purple and Gold and playing for Steve Sarkisian at Washington.

USC fans should let out a big sigh of relief (Not referring to Kiffin here) that Lockett is now in Cardinal and Gold.

Scout national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins has been big on Lockett since watching him develop at Mater Dei.

"Lockett is probably the most technically sound corner in the west," Biggins said in a Scout analysis of Lockett. "He has a great feel for the position, very fluid in his movement and high understanding of how to play the position. He has greatly improved his overall athleticism and toughness this past year gaining noticeable speed and quickness. He's much tougher in run support and plays with more of an edge to him than he ever has in the past. He's a very instinctual player who doesn't get fooled and has the quickness to close on the ball. He developed in to a very good receiver as well and his ball skills definitely help him on the defensive side of the ball."

In a 2014 recruiting class with five-star athletes Adoree Jackson and Juju Smith, Lockett probably didn't get the hype he deserved when pledging to the Trojans.

But through his first two player-run practices this summer, he's the only player -- including the veterans -- to grab interceptions in back-to-back workouts.

Results like that don't just come without the skill.

It's obvious Lockett is still learning USC's defensive schemes, but as Biggins pointed to for years, Lockett has a nose for the ball which could lead him early to the field.

Will he start in his first season? Unlikely.

But for USC fans, he'll most certainly be a welcome surprise.

And at the very least, be happy he's not suiting up for a team not named USC.

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