The Ten of Troy: Fall Camp

In this edition of the Ten of Troy,'s staff looks at the 10 players creating the most buzz and intrigue as USC fall camp 2016 comes to an end. Please note that the rankings do not directly reflect the opinions of the Trojans football coaching staff.

Created by Gerard Martinez |

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

Dan Weber -- Adoree' Jackson: The USC sophomore corner/kick returner/wide receiver/running back is what you get when you combine the hand-eye coordination of a major league baseball player with the speed and athleticism of an Olympic long-jumper and dash man and the smarts of a three-way player who can coach his teammates up because he knows what to do in almost any situation. He's unique. One of a kind. No way to say he reminds you of some other Trojan in history. There aren't any. Is he on a path to the Heisman Trophy? He could be. Don't put it past him. "He's a threat to score every time he touches the ball," Steve Sarkisian says. And if you don't locate him when he comes into the game on offense, he's a bigger threat than that.

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

Dan Weber -- Su'a Cravens: This is not your Su'a Cravens of last season. That player was as much potential as anything in a USC defense that spent most of the time reading and reacting. Su'a needs to be in a Troy Polamalu place where opposing offenses have to react to him and his amazing ability to anticipate and play the ball and the man -- as good basketball coaches will tell you -- and do it at warp speed. Su'a will be coming at teams, just not from the same place. And playing man defense when they need him to from his SAM linebacker spot. he's also taken on much more of a vocal leadership role now as a junior who knows that in many ways, this is his team.

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

Ryan Abraham -- How far the Trojans are able to go this year will depend heavily on the arm of senior signal caller Cody Kessler. After completing around 70-percent of his passes with a ridiculous touchdown to interception ratio of 39 to 5, Kessler is now a known commodity and a likely Heisman Trophy candidate. Over the past three years Kessler has proved he has the ability to be a great leader, capable of navigating the team through major off the field distractions. But this season could be his biggest challenge yet, with expectations higher than ever, a head coach under tremendous scrutiny and a road schedule that includes Arizona State, Notre Dame and Oregon. The offensive players around Kessler will be the deepest and most talented group he has had at USC.

4. Porter Gustin | Freshman | Linebacker | Salem Hills (Utah)

Shotgun Spratling -- With four freshmen linebackers entering USC ranked amongst the top 130 Class of 2015 prospects, including three in the top 50, you could expect at least one to stand out during fall camp. And while Cameron Smith has looked sound after enrolling early and participating in the spring, there is no doubt the most impressive of the bunch has been Porter Gustin. The Salem Hills (Utah) rush end has excelled at attacking off the edge, using his combination of speed and strength to manhandle some of the young offensive linemen. Though he is behind incumbent Scott Felix and physical presence Jabari Ruffin at the position, Gustin is likely to see snaps going forward. He’s earned them.

5. Juju Smith-Schuster | Sophomore | Wide Receiver | Long Beach (Calif.)

Gerard Martinez -- Smith has taken over as the No. 1 receiver in USC's offense, and while his style of play is totally different than Nelson's Agholor's, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound sophomore has been just as dominant. Smith is the rare type of wide out who can physically punish a defense with the ball in his hands. Smith's first touchdown reception of camps came when he caught the football and two defensive backs converged only to bounce off of him like water off a duck's back. Smith has also become a vocal leader for the team and a player who sets the tone on both sides of the football. Smith loves the game and always has a smile on his face at practice.

6. Tre Madden | Senior | Running Back | Mission Viejo (Calif.)

Ryan Abraham -- After missing all of 2014 due to injury, the Trojans could really use a healthy Tre Madden in the backfield to stabilize the running game and lighten the impact of losing Buck Allen to the NFL. We have heard for months from Madden that he is healthy and ready to go, but his reps have been limited during summer throwing sessions and fall practices. After a great first week of practice where he ran with determination and toughness, Madden was held out of team drills for essentially the rest of fall camp. But this past week, with the team's focus on game preparation, Madden was back running with the first team offense and looking like the workhorse back he is capable of being.

7. Steven Mitchell | Sophomore | Wide Receiver | Mission Hills (Calif.)

Gerard Martinez -- Steven Mitchell may be the x-factor that takes USC's offense from good to great. A dynamic player in the open field, Mitchell has been able to ease back into the line up with the emergence of Adoree' Jackson in the slot. However, Mitchell has the ability to be an even greater threat vertically. All camp long, Mitchell has made some tough catches, but he also made the ordinary catches giving Cody Kessler a consistent option on quick to intermediate pass plays over the middle of the field. Those five-to-eight yards plays are crucial for USC to have success running an up tempo offense.

8. Antwaun Woods | Senior | Defensive Tackle | Woodland Hills (Calif.)

Ryan Abraham -- Pectoral surgery forced nose tackle Antwaun Woods to miss the Holiday Bowl at the end of last year, but by the start of fall camp Woods was healthy and ready to get back at it. He started off camp working with the first team defensive line alongside guys like Delvon Simmons, Claude Pelon and at times Cody Temple. With the departure of Leonard Williams to the NFL, the rest of this unit has turned to Woods in search of a leader and he has stepped up to the task. USC brought in five new freshmen defensive linemen into the mix, and Woods has worked with all of them trying to bring them along and get them up to speed. The past couple of practices Woods has been limited because of a shoulder injury, but Steve Sarkisian said it was not serious and he should be back for the opener against Arkansas State.

9. Jonathan Lockett | Sophomore | Cornerback | Santa Ana (Calif.)

Shotgun Spratling -- If Adoree’ Jackson is to be used on the offensive side to be a dynamic touchdown machine, the other defensive backs have to step up. That’s why Jonathan Lockett’s development has been a topic of interest throughout fall camp. Lockett and freshman Iman Marshall are the two guys most likely to fill in for Jackson. Most people assumed Marshall would step in and take over as a nickel back and Jackson substitute specialist, but Lockett has been one of the most active defensive backs in camp. After a slow start, Lockett really came on last week while getting additional reps with the first team while Jackson was focusing on offense for six practices.

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

Dan Weber -- Max Tuerk: The senior USC center, considered the best in the nation at that position by many, is -- and has been for two years -- the glue that holds this USC line together. He makes the line calls -- and the blocks. He's the dependable guy every team needs. You know he'll be there. He'll be strong. He'll be tough. And his shotgun snaps will be there as well, if the summer and fall camp is any indication for the rangy 6-foot-6, 295-pounder who's worked awfully hard -- and successfully it seems -- to keep that weight on.

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