2005 Wide Receiver preview

The Trojan receiving groups have put up big numbers in recent years and there's no reason to think that things will be any different this season as the reigning Heisman Trophy quarterback will be throwing to a gang of familiar faces including a pair of starters in Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett who can rival any duo in the country.

This is a veteran group as evidenced by the fact that all but 14 of the catches made by Trojan receivers in 2004 return this year. They will once again benefit by being surrounded by some of the top offensive talent ever assembled at one time in college football and the only real unknown as we head into fall camp is how the receivers will be impacted by the transition at offensive coordinator from Norm Chow to Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian.

2005 Wide Receivers

Steve Smith put together one of the most dynamic performances you will ever see in the 2005 Orange Bowl and for Trojan fans who have watched him thus far in his career it didn't come as much of a surprise. Steve was well on his way to establishing himself as a big-time player early in the 2004 season before an injury cost him part of the season so it was nice to see him come back in the title game to show what kind of player he is. Smith is a natural athlete who catches everything and is fluid in all that he does on the field, much like his USC mentor Keary Colbert. Steve has also bulked up this off-season and seems ready to have the kind of breakout year that will place him among the elite receivers in the nation.

His counterpart, Dwayne Jarrett, will also look to be mentioned as one of the top receivers in college football and there's no reason to think that he can't make that leap. Dwayne, another in a line of tall Trojan receivers, uses his frame well and has a great ability to get into the end zone. He started slowly in 2004 yet by the end of the season he was playing with a completely different level of confidence and he showed as much potential as any freshman can show. That kind of growth is a good sign for the future as we look to find out if he is ready to continue growing as a player to make the leap from pretty good to great. We will find out this season.

Smith and Jarrett are pretty well set as the starters but in fall camp there will be several players competing for playing time behind them in a rotation that is far from being set.

Chris McFoy started several games last season and did a solid job. He is a steady, if not spectacular, pass catcher who has improved his hands but his biggest value is as the top blocking wide receiver on the team. It's a role Chris takes a lot of pride in. He has battled numerous nagging injuries over the years so the ability to stay healthy will be key.

There were times in spring ball when William Buchanon was the best player on the field. He has tremendous physical gifts, William is tall and lanky with the 2nd best 40 time on the team in recent testing (behind Reggie Bush), but so far at USC he has yet to put it all together on a consistent basis. Part of the problem has been the fact that he has been moved around to different positions but he is a senior now and he looks as ready as ever to make his mark. With his speed, he could be a dangerous weapon to help stretch the field.

Perhaps the biggest buzz this summer surrounded incoming freshman Patrick Turner (photo) based on the potential he showed during 7 on 7 drills. Patrick is physically very big and he runs with the athleticism of a big-time receiver. On top of all that, the veterans raved about the good attitude he has shown so far. Patrick bruised his heel during a recent workout but is expected to be fine for the start of fall camp.

Greig Carlson is an extremely smart player who can play any spot and he is like a coach on the field with his knowledge of the offense. Greig can also be a sure-handed punt returner if needed.

This could be a critical year for Whitney Lewis. At this point Whitney is finishing up summer school with the likelihood that he will be qualified for the fall. Assuming he is available, Whitney will need to show a sense of urgency that wasn't present during spring ball. Anyone who saw him at the 2004 Trojan Huddle knows that he can be an impact player with the ball in his hands and now is his time to do that on a consistent basis. If he can have himself mentally and physically prepared for the season it would be a big boost for the offense and his career.

The Trojans have three quality walk-ons at receiver in John Zilka, Brad Walker and Wil Smith.

Overview

Chances are things should be just fine for the receivers this year, even with the transition at offensive coordinator. Kiffin and Sarkisian have long been involved in the passing game and they have a vast working knowledge of the system and the players in it. The competition among the reserves as they jockey for playing time in fall camp will be intense but no matter how they rotate in and out it's clearly a deep group of receivers who should see a lot of success this year.

Projected depth chart to begin fall camp

SE – Jarrett, Buchanon, Turner
FL – Smith, McFoy, Lewis

Wide Receiver roster

#1 Patrick Turner 6-5, 220 FR
#2 Steve Smith 6-0, 195 JR
#4 Whitney Lewis 6-1, 225 SO
#8 Dwayne Jarrett 6-5, 200 SO
#19 Greig Carlson 5-10, 190 SR
#26 Wil Smith 6-1, 200 SR
#31 William Buchanon 6-3, 185 SR
#48 Brad Walker 6-2, 200 SO
#80 John Zilka 6-4, 200 JR
#82 Chris McFoy 6-1, 200 JR

Returning stat leaders

Jarrett 55 catches, 849 yards (15.4 per), 13 TD's
Smith 42 catches, 66 yards (15.7 per), 6 TD's
McFoy 21 catches, 272 yards (13.0 per), 0 TD's
Buchanon 4 catches, 15 yards (3.8 per), 0 TD's

2005 USC Position Previews

Thursday, July 7th - Linebacker
Monday, July 11th - Defensive Line
Thursday, July 14th - Defensive Back
Monday, July 18th - Special Teams
Thursday, July 21st - Offensive Line
Monday, July 25th - Wide Receiver
Thursday, July 28th - Tight End
Monday, August 1st - Running Back
Thursday, August 4th – Quarterback


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