It’s officially game week!
The 2015 USC football season begins on Saturday when the Trojans take on Arkansas State at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Cody Kessler, Max Tuerk and the offense are ready to get the ball rolling down the field and the trio of defensive captains (Antwaun Woods, Su’a Cravens and Anthony Sarao) will try to stop the Red Wolves potent offensive attack.
You can practically smell the bacon-wrapped hot dogs and the Rose Garden already. But until we get to Saturday, we continue our countdown of the 30 key Trojans this season — 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?
7. Kevon Seymour - Senior
Immediately, you notice something different. It’s the same body in the No. 13 jersey, but the distinguishing characteristic of four-year old braids swaying across his shoulder pads is gone. Senior Kevon Seymour had determined that this season is his job interview. This is his opportunity to showcase his abilities and put on tape what he is capable of for NFL talent evaluators.
So gone are the braids Seymour has had since he first stepped onto the USC campus. Seymour, an increasingly rare true senior, knows he will be shaking hands with NFL personnel this season and he wants to make the right impression. He said he’s also working off the field towards securing his future, if football doesn’t work out, taking a look at opportunities such as internships.
He’s a player that has seen the slow, but steady progression of four years on campus. Seymour was thrust into the mix immediately when he stepped on campus after being a high school All-American at Pasadena (Calif.) Muir. He played in eight games as a backup and on special teams and made five tackles — all coming in the first two games of the year.
As a sophomore, Seymour started the season opener against Hawai’i, but didn’t record a statistic. He backed up Torin Harris the next three games before taking over as the full-time starting cornerback opposite of Josh Shaw. Seymour hasn’t relinquished his starting role since, starting all 23 games the Trojans have played after his promotion back to first team.
His sophomore season Seymour finished with 48 tackles, six deflections and an interception. He had a career-high eight tackles in the Arizona State debacle in the desert, but after a solid six tackles and his first career interception at Oregon State, Seymour’s breakout game came at the Las Vegas Bowl against Fresno State. Seymour faced off with some NFL-caliber receivers and came away with seven tackles and one deflection
Last year, he built on his numbers, producing 49 tackles, an interception and a recovered fumble. The Trojans’ top cornerback with Shaw suspended for the majority of the season, Seymour also had 13 deflections — second best in the Pac-12 and No. 12 in the nation overall. This year he hopes to turn more of those into interceptions and he’s put in the work to make most believe they will come.
While he doesn’t possess the explosiveness of Adoree’ Jackson, Seymour is the Trojans’ No. 1 cornerback and gives USC an opportunity at potentially having a pair of shutdown defensive backs that can neutralize an opponent’s top two receiving weapons. Everyday going up against the physicality and speed combination that Juju Smith-Schuster possesses has only made Seymour better. He also feels more comfortable in Justin Wilcox's defense in season two and has said he can focus on his assignment rather than alignment this year.
That helped Seymour be one of the stars of USC’s spring sessions and he has tried to carry that over into fall camp. After getting off to a strong start, he suffered a big scare when he injured his knee in a one-on-one drill. It took him about a week to get back to full strength, but Seymour looks to be ready for opening kickoff when the Red Wolves come to town on Saturday.
“Even though he’s going to be a senior, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to improve – improve our competitiveness every single play, every single day. I think we’re starting to see that more with Kevon. He’s a really talented guy. It’s getting him in the right frame of mind, then keeping him there and playing with an edge. When you’re out there at corner and you’re by yourself, you have to have that edge.
“I think Kevon has vastly improved there, and it showed today. We challenged him a bunch. He and JuJu were going at it all day, and Kevon performed very well.” — USC head coach Steve Sarkisian (during spring practice)
PERSONAL SEASON GOAL:
“Being a technician. Technique and perfecting my craft.” — Kevon Seymour
“Two ways Kevon has made himself the player USC needs him to be opposite Adoree'. He's not second-guessing himself, just playing the way a senior should -- a senior on his way to the NFL. He's also become a quiet leader -- never the vocal guy -- who leads by example now in ways his teammates are picking up on.
"As the guy opposite Adoree', he knows teams are coming his way. His response, much the same as it is when he chooses to go against JuJu day after day in drills, is a simple one: Bring it on." — Dan Weber, USCfootball.comVIDEO INTERVIEW:
Kevon Seymour checks in with Keely Eure at the end of fall camp to provide an update on his knee injury and how the fall has progressed:
|7||Kevon Seymour||131 pts||5 (Gerard Martinez)||14 (Twice)|
|8||Antwaun Woods||125 pts||7 (Ryan Abraham)||17 (Dan Weber)|
|9||Justin Davis||124 pts||6 (Austin Geller)||16 (Shotgun Spratling)|
|10||Lamar Dawson||121 pts||2 (Shotgun Spratling)||17 (Keely Eure)|
|11||Steven Mitchell Jr.||120 pts||8 (Shotgun Spratling)||13 (Dan & Ryan)|
|12||Claude Pelon||109 pts||9 (Dan Weber)||17 (Austin Geller)|
|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)|