The Ten of Troy: Spring Ball

In this edition of the Ten of Troy, we look at the 10 players creating the most buzz among USC fans at the halfway point of spring football 2015.

Created by Gerard Martinez | Hover over photos for analysis

1. Adoree Jackson | Sophomore | Cornerback | Gardena (Calif.)

Ryan Abraham -- Technically still a true freshman, Adoree Jackson has quickly made himself one of the most indispensable members of the Trojan football team. This spring Jackson has been given more freedom to spread his wings on both sides of the ball (and special teams) by wearing a white jersey on the days he focuses on defense and a cardinal jersey on the days he focuses on offense. He has shown tremendous leadership and poise through the first half of spring football despite also splitting duties as a long jumper on the USC track team. He is the first three-way player for USC in 20 years and has earned his spot at the top of the Ten of Troy.

2. Su'a Cravens | Junior | Linebacker | Temecula (Calif.)

Gerard Martinez -- Now a full time linebacker, Su'a Cravens continues to be a wildcard in the defense's success this spring. Cravens lines up all over the field, with several passes defensed in the last few practices, he remains a playmaker in the secondary even though he isn't technically playing in the secondary. The biggest issue for him going forward is run support. While he has improved in setting the edge as a SAM linebacker, there are still instances where he could anchor the line better. Cravens is hovering around 230-pounds, so he could still add weight over the summer.

3. Cody Kessler | Senior | Quarterback | Bakersfield (Calif.)

Dan Weber -- He's been accurate, productive, competitive and a leader this spring as he heads into his third starting season at quarterback with a mostly new group of top-line receivers. And with the challenge of developing the rapport a QB needs with new targets which seems to be where the focus is right now. Although there is this: As we've seen Cody take off on the read option this spring after reading it and realizing he's been completely unchecked, we think that may be a bit of a trend. So while we're guessing he won't be pooch-punting next fall, Cody may be doing something else with his feet -- if just a bit.

4. Juju Smith | Soph. | Wide Receiver | Long Beach (Calif.)

Gerard Martinez -- Juju Smith continues to defy his recruiting evaluations by being a tremendously productive weapon on offense. In the Trojans first scrimmage at the Coliseum, Smith was simply unstoppable. Once the team wen into full contact drills, Smith caught several passes for intermediate gains that he then turned into big plays by trucking defenders. The USC secondary had no answer for Smith size and power in the open field, which either says a lot about his deceptiveness as a runner. At about 225-pounds, Smith's strength and will to gain that extra yard put him in a rare category of wide receiver.

5. Steven Mitchell | Soph. | Wide Receiver | Mission Hills (Calif.)

Ryan Abraham -- Redshirt sophomore Steve Mitchell may have had his best practice as a Trojan on Tuesday coming off of spring break. Head coach Steve Sarkisian singled him out for some of the special catches he made, saying, “We really think he has a chance to become a really special player.” He has shown tremendous ability to create mismatches and work his way open, especially when he lines up as a slot receiver. He has also proven he can make not just spectacular catches, but also tough catches in traffic when the defense is putting the pressure on in the middle of the field.

6. Lamar Dawson | Senior | Linebacker | Danville (Ky.)

Dan Weber -- Has been the happiest surprise of the spring as the fifth-year middle linebacker from Kentucky, after missing a season-and-a-half after knee surgery, seems ready to step up to that No. 55 he was awarded on his arrival and step in to the leadership role left behind for him by Hayes Pullard. He's been that good. Listen to defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox talk about him, raving at how not only does Lamar run people down, he gets them down when he gets his hands on them. Or just one hand. That sort of open-field takedown was missing at times last fall. With Lamar up to speed, it won't be.

7. Max Tuerk | Senior | Center | Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.)

Dan Weber -- Labeled by Steve Sarkisian as "the best center in the nation," Max may be more important than that as the senior leader this spring of a USC offensive line that is still young but has everyone back and a chance to be very good. But it needs a man in the middle to make it go even if there are those who think that, at 6-foot-6 with even longer arms, Max might be better suited for another spot since he's already played guard, tackle and even tight end in his time at USC. But it's his leadership skills that have Max on a path to All-American after his All-Pac-12 selection last season.

8. Connor Spears | Soph. | Tight End | Sioux City (Iowa)

Ryan Abraham -- With Bryce Dixon not around this spring and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick returning after missing all of 2014, walk-on redshirt sophomore Connor Spears saw an opportunity and jumped on it. The transfer from Columbia has the size, at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, but he also has the talent and the work ethic to succeed as a Pac-12 level tight end. Since day one of spring football no one was more shocked than Spears was that he would be getting all of the first team reps for the Trojans. "It's pretty surreal. I'm not trying to think about it too much." Spears said. "I'm trying to be like everyone else and just play football. Just block guys and catch passes."

9. Kevon Seymour | Senior | Cornerback | Pasadena (Calif.)

Dan Weber -- Kevon Seymour may be a senior but the 6-foot, 184-pounder corner has taken on a new look in more ways than just the shearing of his dreadlocks the day after the Holiday Bowl. That was a sign, he says, to NFL scouts that he was ready for a new look and new approach to the business of being the best he can be in his final season. He's eating right, over his health issues at the start of last season and ready to be the shutdown corner he always wanted to be and USC needs him to be. With a number of young guys already on the roster developing and fighting for playing time before the arrival of a talented freshman group this summer, Kevon has no choice here.

10. Scott Felix | Junior | Linebacker | Norco (Calif.)

Gerard Martinez -- Scott Felix had an up and down season in 2014, show a propensity for undisciplined play. While Felix still improvises a bit too much in run support, he has been consistently good as a pass rusher. Early on in spring ball, he dominated passing situations by just blowing right by the offensive line. With the team still without full pads, Steve Sarkisian was hesitant to comment on Felix's performances. As spring ball has gone on, Felix is still playing with a sense of purpose and fire. Jabari Ruffin is still rehabbing his knee and in-coming freshman Porter Gustin awaits enrollment in June, so Felix's time alone to impress is coming to an end. Top Stories