SCPlaybook's Five on the Rise

The Trojans wrapped up a fantastic spring camp in which several players made their case to see more playing time. SCPlaybook looks back on spring practice and lets you know which five Trojans did the most to improve their stock.

Allen Bradford RB – 6'0, 223 – Junior

By all accounts Allen Bradford was the surprise of USC's spring practices. The junior tailback


Allen Braford
really dedicated himself to getting into great shape this off-season and came into spring seven pounds lighter than he was in 2007. With the slimmer frame and increased determination, Bradford exploded out of the gates and never looked back. The 6-foot, 223-pound tailback caught the attention of the coaching staff with his increased quickness and big play ability.

Bradford only rushed for 24 yards on 15 carries in 2007 but his strong performance this spring has him listed on the depth chart as a co-starter with Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable, and Joe McKnight.

Outlook – Bradford has secured his spot as one of the top four backs in the rotation at tailback and heads into the fall with the opportunity to compete for significant playing time.

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Damian Williams WR – 6'1, 190 – Redshirt Sophomore

Damian Williams has been making plays since the day he arrived on campus at USC after


Damian Williams
transferring from Arkansas. In 2007, Damian Williams quickly made his presence felt by making several big plays on the scout team against USC's vaunted first-team defense.

Everyone in the USC program is excited about his potential and Williams showed that he is ready for the big stage with a solid performance at the Trojan Huddle, in which he had 3 receptions for 56 yards including a 16-yard touchdown catch from Aaron Corp.

Outlook – Williams has worked his way up the depth chart and is currently listed as Vidal Hazelton's backup at flanker. He's a good all-around wide receiver and has the speed to be a true deep threat. Look for him to be one of the Trojans most productive wide receivers this season.

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Thomas Herring RG – 6'6, 300 – Redshirt Junior

Big Thomas Herring put together a very solid spring and as a result is now listed as the co-


Thomas Herring
starter at right guard with Zack Heberer. At 6-6, 300 pounds, Herring has the athleticism and ability to be a real road grader for the Trojans at the guard position.

When asked if Thomas Herring was a viable option to start at right guard Pete Carroll said, "He's a viable option alright. He's played very steady since we put him with the first group and let him play between Kris (O'Dowd) and Alex (Parsons). This is a big opportunity for Thomas."

Outlook – Thomas Herring gives USC size and athleticism at right guard. The big guard will push Zack Heberer for the staring spot in fall and even if he doesn't win the job he will see significant playing time on the offensive line in 2008.

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Christian Tupou DT – 6'2, 275 – Sophomore

No player on the defensive side of the ball did more to improve their stock during the spring


Christian Tupou
than sophomore defensive tackle Christian Tupou. The intense defensive tackle spent most of the spring making plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Tupou, who Pete Carroll has called "the hardest working player on the team," really caught the eye of the defensive coaches with his effort and knack for making big plays. Tupou proved that he can stuff the run and also showed the ability to get a consistent pass rush up the middle.

Outlook – While Averell Spicer is still the favorite to be the Trojans starting nose tackle, Tupou has certainly closed the gap in the race to replace All-American Sedrick Ellis. He has performed well enough to be in the rotation on the defensive line and will provide depth at nose tackle along with DaJohn Harris.

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Luthur Brown LB – 6'3, 230 – Redshirt Junior

The Trojans are once again loaded at linebacker with Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews


Luthur Brown
and Kaluka Maiva all returning in 2008, and the emergence of Luthur Brown gives USC yet another talented player at linebacker.

Luthur Brown has been plagued by injuries in his career at USC but this spring he was healthy and really looked good playing all three linebacker positions. Brown's toughness and versatility allow Pete Carroll to use him in a variety of different situations, much like Thomas Williams was used last season.

Outlook – Brown has the ability to play all three linebacker spots but with the absence of Kaula Maiava this spring, he settled into the WILL position. Brown is currently listed as the co-starter with Maiava at the WILL and should get the majority of his playing time at that spot. Pete Carroll really likes having the hard-hitting linebacker in the lineup because of the intensity and nasty attitude that he brings to the defense.


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