The USC football team will soon be taking the field. We know it’s an excruciating time for Trojans fans awaiting that opening kickoff on Sept. 5 against Arkansas State. But it will be here sooner than you are expecting!
To help pass the time prior to that day — when the tailgate grills will be in use, the beer coozies will be out and the smiles will be as wide as the running lanes for Student Body Right — finally coming to fruition, we’re bringing you the “30 Key Trojans.”
As we head toward fall camp and then opening game, we will be counting down the 30 USC players that are most important to the Trojans’ success this season. This list is not the 30 most talented players or the 30 players that will put up the best stats, but instead the guys that could propel USC to a successful season.
Which players’ success is key for the Trojans’ season to be a success?
29. Viane Talamaivao - Sophomore
Our countdown continues with one of the hog mollies on the offensive line, guard Viane Talamaivao. The silent assassin of the offensive line group, Talamaivao is the guy you often forget about during a game because of how well he’s containing his defender. He’s a tenacious guy that isn’t afraid to drive his man into the ground and even deliver an extra blow or two.
The former four-star prospect was once an Alabama commit, but he flipped his commitment to USC during his senior season at Corona (Calif.) Centennial and never looked back.
Talamaivao was only 310 pounds in high school, but the 6-foot-3 guard added 20 pounds to play at 330 pounds last season. He said last week that he’s at 329 pounds and is hoping to get down to 315-320 pounds before the season begins. More importantly, Talamaivao has worked hard on his conditioning and said he feels way better than he did last year at this point. Rather than winded, he feels explosive now during USC’s summer team runs.
Last season, he started 11 games for the Trojans and played in all 13. Talamaivao earned Pac-12 honorable mention recognition and was on the Scout Freshman All-American second team as well the CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-American first team. With Chad Wheeler expected to be back at left tackle by the time the season starts, Toa Lobendahn may slide back inside, joining a clustered mix that will include Talamaivao and fellow sophomore Damien Mama battling for the two starting guard positions.
PERSONAL SEASON GOAL:
“Just being the best teammate I can be.” — Viane Talamaivao
EXPERTS TAKE:“Viane seems much more comfortable after a season and a spring. He's certainly in better shape even at the same weight. But the big difference is knowing what to do and being quick enough -- mentally and physically -- to do it. On an offensive line that's emphasizing bringing one another on, it looks like he should be able to." — Dan Weber, USCfootball.com
|29||Viane Talamaivao||23 pts||22 (Keely Eure)||Not listed (Three times)|
|30||Ykili Ross||21 pts||22 (Austin Geller)||Not listed (Twice)|