The countdown until opening kickoff continues as USC has gone through their final practices of fall camp and is transitioning into game preparations for the Red Wolves of Arkansas State. The “30 Key Trojans” countdown also continues with the 30 USC players our USCfootball.com panel has voted as the most important to the Trojans’ success this season.
Which players’ success is key for the Trojans’ season to be a success? If this or that player is successful, how much will that propel USC’s team success? 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.
13. Tre Madden - Redshirt Senior
No Trojan has a career path quite like redshirt senior running back Tre Madden. Mostly because players rarely play as a freshman and then switch positions as Madden didn’t begin his USC career as a running back.
Coming out of Mission Viejo (Calif.), Madden was an All-American linebacker, who also played some Wildcat quarterback. His future was on the defensive side of the football until there was a logjam behind guys like Hayes Pullard and Dion Bailey and the running back depth was slim.
After serving as a backup strongside linebacker as a true freshman, making a start against Colorado and most memorably being on the wrong side of a jump ball to Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo in double overtime, Madden spent the 2012 spring transitioning to the offensive side of the ball. Suddenly, Madden became a running back revelation with his combination of size and speed. He could run the ball for the tough yards, but also burst through a hole for explosive gains.
But as has become the trend with Madden, as soon as things seemed to be headed in the right direction, there was a setback. Madden tried to make a cut and his left knee buckled as he tore his anterior cruciate ligament, forcing him to miss the entire 2012 season.
Madden came back strong to start the 2013 season. As the starter in the first six games, he ran for 611 yards and three touchdowns. He became the first USC running back since Reggie Bush to produce three straight games with 100+ rushing yards and the first to open the season with three 100-yard outings since Marcus Allen in 1981. He also had 198 yards receiving and another four scores.
In each of his six starts, Madden compiled more than 100 total yards. In the midst of all the turmoil that was the beginning of the 2013 season, Madden was a star, but then he went down with a hamstring injury that hampered him the rest of the season. He managed only 92 yards rushing and three yards receiving in the final eight games of the year.
Once again, Madden bounced back with a strong spring that had him in line to battle for the starting running back role with Buck Allen, but a training camp turf toe injury eventually led to a season-ending foot surgery to reattach the sesamoid bone in his right foot. For the second time in three years, Madden missed an entire season.
Can he bounce back once again? Madden didn’t participate much during the spring, but he has been the primary back during fall camp with Justin Davis limited with hamstring and rib injuries. Madden had two really strong back-to-back practices in the first half of fall camp, but the coaching staff has limited his workload the last 10 days to try to make sure he is prepared for the start of the season.
When healthy, Madden has been a beast and gives the Trojans a power back option that can also catch the ball out of the backfield. However, staying healthy has been the issue. If the injury-plagued fifth-year senior can avoid another setback this could be a big year.
“Just trying to stay healthy. I've got a lot of personal goals to fulfill, but I'm going to keep them to myself.” — Tre Madden
“If there's a single most important component to the success of this USC team this fall, it's the ability to run the ball in the tough, short-yardage, goal-line, third-and-2 situations. Tre Madden gives the Trojans that. But at his current playing weight of 223 pounds, he should have the size and power for short yardage success but without the pounding on his foot that occurred when he was above 230 as in past years.
The lighter weight also allows him to get upfield quickly cutting in multiple directions at speed. Then there's his ability to catch the football and USC's willingness to throw it to him. Watch that part of the Trojans' gameplan for him." — Dan Weber, USCfootball.com
|13||Tre Madden||98 pts||6 (Dan Weber)||Not listed (Shotgun Spratling)|
|14||Chad Wheeler||92 pts||6 (Keely Eure)||Not listed (Shotgun Spratling)|
|15||Iman Marshall||86 pts||11 (Ryan Abraham)||25 (Shotgun Spratling)|
|16||Delvon Simmons||84 pts||1 (Shotgun Spratling)||28 (Gerard Martinez)|
|17||Jabari Ruffin||79 pts||12 (Dan Weber)||25 (Ryan Abraham)|
|18||Anthony Sarao||77 pts||13 (Keely Eure)||26 (Austin Geller)|
|19||Zach Banner||72 pts||12 (Shotgun Sprating)||Not listed (Austin Geller)|
|20||John Plattenburg||68 pts||15 (Keely Eure)||29 (Austin Geller)|
|21||Damien Mama||49 pts||18 (Gerard Martinez)||27 (DanWeber)|
|22||Connor Spears||44 pts||13 (Austin Geller)||Not listed (Twice)|
|23||Max Browne||43 pts||19 (Twice)||Not listed (Shotgun Spratling)|
|24||Leon McQuay III||40 pts||17 (Ryan Abraham)||Not listed (Twice)|
|25||Osa Masina||39 pts||15 (Gerard Martinez)||Not listed (Keely Eure)|
|26||Darreus Rogers||36 pts||19 (Shotgun Spratling)||Not listed (Dan Weber)|
|27||Matt Boermeester||35 pts||18 (Dan Weber)||Not listed (Twice)|
|28||Chris Hawkins||34 pts||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)|