After being banned from postseason play for the past two seasons, the USC Trojans are ready to fight on in their first season back with bowl eligibility, as they enter the season at No. 3 on the USA Today preseason coach’s poll.
The Trojans are going to be a team to look out for this season under the leadership of players such as returning quarterback Matt Barkley, who skipped out on the 2012 NFL Draft, that took place in April, to return for his senior season.
Barkley will likely be a candidate for the Heisman Trophy, if he meets the expectations that are set for him this season.
Barkley had 3,528 yards passing with 39 touchdowns as a junior last season.
Wide receiver Robert Woods was one of Barkley’s main targets last season with 111 catches and 1,292 receiving yards for 15 touchdowns.
With a lot of attention on Woods, wide receiver Marquis Lee was another useful weapon for Barkley and the Trojan’s offense.
Lee had 73 catches with 1,143 yards for 11 touchdowns in 2011.
The offense also received an upgrade at the running back position after running back Silas Redd transferred from Penn State.
Redd decided to transfer after the NCAA handed Penn State sanctions for the upcoming season.
The USC will also have key returners on defense such as defensive captain TJ McDonald at the safety position.
Linebackers Hayes Pullard and Dion Bailey will also return. Both had 81 tackles each, which tied the two linebackers for most tackles on the team in 2011.
The Trojans will also enter the season with one of the Top 10 recruiting classes from the offseason, with incoming freshman such as Max Tuerk, Jabari Ruffin, Scott Starr, Zach Banner, and Jordan Simmons.