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College Football Preview: 2. USC Trojans

2. USC Trojans Returning Starters: 16 Returning Star: QB Matt Barkley Key Loss: OT Matt Kalil Player to Watch: QB Matt Barkley The 2011 season started off rough for the Trojans but in the last month nobody wanted to play them. Now most of that USC squad returns for 2012. That includes senior quarterback Matt Barkley who is one of the leaders of the Heisman race. Barkley found his confidence last season. He has a good accurate arm and can throw deep balls too. It never hurts when you have two wide receivers as talented as Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Both are very athletic and have sticky hands. For the first time in years the Trojans backfield may be one of the weaker in the conference. Senior back Curtis McNeal will likely start after Marc Tyler graduated. I think that he'll get the job done but hes not very athletic. Other than Woods and Lee, Barkley has some other good wide outs to pass too. Brice Butler and Xavier Grimble are big and reliable targets for Barkley. They will be valuable options against some of the tough secondaries he'll face in the Pac 12. The offensive line lost just one player but he was a very good one. Tackle Matt Kalil had good feet and constantly helped Barkley stay alive in the pocket. Without him the job of protecting their quarterback will turn to junior tackle Kevin Graf, sophomore guard Marcus Martin and center Khaled Holmes. With guys like this the offense will run like a well oiled machine. The defense is ready for another strong year. The line lost some talent but also returns some. Nick Perry and DaJohn Harris are gone but the Trojans were boosted by end Wes Horton and senior Devon Kennard. Though the team may be a little weak up the middle. I really liked linebacker Chris Galippo and the loss will hurt for the Trojans. But not as much becuase they return sophomore Dion Bailey. He can hit hard and is a sure tackler. Lamar Dawson and sophomore Hayes Pullard will likely be the other starters with Bailey. Though, the premiere part of this defense is the secondary headlined by Nickell Robey and T.J. McDonald. Robey enters this season as a junior and is speedy and can stick to wide receivers like glue. Senior Isiah Wiley is another talented defensive back while Jawanza Starling can hit. The special teams isn't amazing but kicker Andre Heidari is pretty good as he enters his sophomore year. The Trojans are in a weakened conference with a talented quarterback and a team that is ready to capture it's glory days now that it is eligible for the postseason. Heisman Hopeful: Matt Barkley Pac 12 Rank: 1st

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