The Trojans are through another week of summer conditioning and player-run practices and the calendar has officially ticked away the Toa Lobendahn jersey No. 50-day mark until opening kickoff. While the players continue to work hard on the field and especially at the training table where players are fluctuating weights up and down based upon need, we push through our countdown of the “30 Key Trojans.”
The Arkansas State matchup at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (at least that remains the name for now) on Sept. 5 seems to be getting closer and closer to grasp, but until then we prepare you for the season with the 30 Trojans that are keys to USC success this season.
With less than 50 days remaining, we stretch to No. 26 of the 30 USC players 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?
26. Darreus Rogers - Junior
Wide receiver Darreus Rogers has always been one to show flashes of his abilities, but he’s also been one to let opportunities slip by the wayside, such as a dropped touchdown pass in the first half of the Arizona State game last year.
Rogers is one of the growingly rare grayshirts. He signed with USC on National Signing Day in 2012, but had to take care of some academics and didn’t enroll at USC until the spring of 2013. Rogers produced a solid freshman campaign with 22 catches for 257 yards with back-to-back 60+ yard performances in the third and fourth games of the season, but he had only one more game above 35 yards.
Last season, he seemed primed to take the next step in his development with a strong start to the year. He caught five passes for 60 yards in the opener against Fresno State, his first career touchdown against Boston College and then made a career-long 48 yard catch on Hail Mary at the end of the first half in the Oregon State game. But for the rest of the season, Rogers’ four catches and 34 yards against Arizona State were the best numbers he produced.
He finished the year with 21 catches for 245 yards and hauled in four touchdowns, but also had a big blunder at Utah, dropping a swing pass that was later ruled a lateral on the second play of the game and then not having the wherewithal to fall on the ball. That allowed Utah to pick up the ball and run it back into the end zone for a touchdown. You guys might remember how that game concluded.
But Rogers showed new resolve this spring and was one of the most consistent pass catchers in the receivers group. While Steven Mitchell looked to be a breakout star and Juju Smith is poised to be the leader of the group, Rogers is the elder statesman this season — four years removed from his breakout 2011 senior season at Carson (Calif.) where he as a Super Prep All-American and four-star receiver after he caught 64 passes for 1,251 yards and 10 touchdowns on a team where he was the only true weapon.
PERSONAL SEASON GOAL:
“My person goal is for me to make all of my plays and step up. There’s a lot of young guys out here. I’m a vet now. I’ve got to make sure I’m on top of my game, so they are on top of theirs.” — Darreus Rogers
“No question Darreus has stepped up and is showing the kinds of leadership qualities you want from a veteran. The issue for him this year will be to stay stepped up and ahead of the new names and faces fighting to get on the field led by a couple of impressive junior college transfers -- Isaac Whitney and De'Quan Hampton -- and a talented blueshirt freshman from Serra, Deontay Burnett. This is going to take some doing for Darreus. That trio is as advertised." — Dan Weber, USCfootball.com
|26||Darreus Rogers||36||19 (Shotgun Spratling)||Not listed (Dan Weber)|
|27||Matt Boermeester||35||18 (Dan Weber)||Not listed (Twice)|
|28||Chris Hawkins||34||21 (Twice)||Not listed (Twice)|
|29||Viane Talamaivao||23 pts||22 (Keely Eure)||Not listed (Three times)|
|30||Ykili Ross||21 pts||22 (Austin Geller)||Not listed (Twice)|