It’s all about staying the course for true freshman John Plattenburg. Though it may be hard to believe, Plattenburg, a four-star and top-300 recruit in the nation, has come into fall camp relatively under the radar due to the hype some of the other players in USC’s 2014 class have received. He was a highly recruited player in high school and many thought he would make an instant impact at the next level. He still very well could and despite the lack of hype nowadays, Plattenburg still feels like he has a great shot at playing right away.
“Of course,” Plattenburg responded when asked if he felt like he could play right away. “Of course that comes with hard work. Nothing is given to you. It doesn’t matter who you are. As long as you work hard and progress, you’re going to get what you deserve. We got a great team. We got a great class. I hope everybody in our class has a chance to be able to get on the field this season.”
One way to find playing time is looking up to and learning from veteran players. Though there aren’t a whole lot on this team, Plattenburg has found many exceptional examples and he’s learned a lot from them so far. He’s not rushing himself though. He knows he needs to take the path to playing time step by step.
“I feel like I’m doing pretty good,” Plattenburg said. “I’m still just taking notes from the older guys like Su’a Cravens, Gerald Bowman, Leon McQuay and I’m just taking it day by day and making the best of it.”
Entering the world of college football can be a shock to some true freshmen. The college game is so much faster than the high school game and it catches many players off guard. Plattenburg is no different from the masses in this sense.
“Just the speed of the game and acclimating the calls and everything as the plays go on,” Plattenburg said when asked about the biggest challenge so far. “Just getting yourself in shape for it all at the same time. From watching what they used to do at Washington, I expected it (the speed). The harder we practice and the better we get at it, the easier the games are going to be. That’s better for us as a defense.”
Plattenburg came to Los Angeles thinking he would be playing cornerback for the Trojans, but he moved so safety early on. Why the move? Well Plattenburg might just be smarter than your average Joe.
“Really just being able to have a high IQ and being able to learn the system really fast,” Plattenburg responded when asked why he switched to safety. “Just being able to help other people on defense know their roles on the team and what they’re supposed to do.”
Beggars can’t be choosers, so if Plattenburg wants to see the field quickly, he knows he shouldn’t have a preference where he plays.
“Not really,” Plattenburg said when asked if he had a preference about where he plays. “As long as I can get on the field and play ball, that’s all that matters.”The Trojans kick the season off August 30 in the Coliseum against the Fresno State Bulldogs. Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for all the latest news and information.
Marshall Cherrington will be attending USC and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism beginning in January of 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @MWCherrington.