Spring Storylines: Who's No.3 at WR?

The Trojans have nine returning starters on the offensive side of the ball in 2009, including two explosive playmakers at wide receiver in Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson, and while expectations are high for the receiving corps, the Trojans still need to find a capable player to take over the No.3 spot.

The Trojans have nine returning starters on the offensive side of the ball in 2009, including two explosive playmakers at wide receiver in Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson, and while expectations are high for the receiving corps, the Trojans still need to find a capable player to take over the No.3 spot.

Junior wide receivers Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson have the potential to be one of the top receiving tandems in college football if they continue to build on their impressive performances from 2008.

The duo combined for 17 touchdown receptions a year ago and have been working overtime at Howard Jones Field this off-season building chemistry and timing with the new quarterbacks.

Williams emerged as the leader of the group last year with his tremendous work ethic and natural leadership skills in practice, which translated into a team-high 58 catches for 869 yards and 9 touchdowns.

In just his second season, Johnson quickly became Mark Sanchez's favorite deep target, pulling in 33 receptions for 570 yards and 8 touchdowns.

While Williams and Johnson have a firm grip on the top two spots in the wide receiver rotation, offensive coordinator John Morton will have plenty of options to choose from to round out the group.

The four players that jump to the forefront when discussing the third wide receiver position are David Ausberry, Brice Butler, Travon Patterson and Brandon Carswell.

The Trojans have utilized big, physical receivers like Mike Williams and Dwayne Jarrett probably better than any team in college football under Pete Carroll, and David Ausberry could fit that mold.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound junior has looked terrific in practice the past two years, but hasn't found a way to become a regular contributor on game days.

Ausberry isn't going to beat anyone with his speed, but is certainly a big target that could play a role in the redzone offense.

Another player that has shined at times in practice is junior Travon Patterson from Long Beach Poly.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound receiver is one of the fastest players on the team and would give the Trojans a second legitimate deep threat to go along with Ronald Johnson.

Having Johnson and Patterson in the game at the same time would put a lot of pressure on the defense and be an option when looking to stretch the field.

Brandon Carswell is a player that doesn't seem to get mentioned much but has quietly gone about his business and become a steady pass catcher.

Along with his good hands, Carswell is one of the more elusive receivers with the ball in his hands, and a player to keep an eye on down the road.

While Carswell, Ausberry and Patterson have the skills to contribute in specific areas, smooth sophomore Brice Butler has all the tools to be the most complete wide receiver of the bunch.

Butler is a very polished player with a good combination of speed, size and smarts.

After redshirting as a freshman, he has looked a lot more confident this off-season and has been one of the most productive receivers during the players-only throwing sessions.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver is already one of the better route runners on the team and is our pick to become the Trojans' No.3 wide receiver in 2009.


David Ausberry hopes to leap into the No.3 position in the wide receiver rotation.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


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