The Ten of Troy

The Ten of Troy

Cody Kessler and Nelson Agholor lead the way in the post-fall camp edition of the Ten of Troy. USC has a long tradition of dynamic passing duos, but can the Kessler-to-Agholor combo prove to be more successful than Kessler-to-Marqise Lee?

1. Cody Kessler, Junior, Quarterback

Dan Weber -- Up from No. 2 on our list, our No. 1 pick makes it clear that a team can't compete in the Pac-12 -- maybe in other leagues but not here -- without a marquee quarterback running things. At the end of August camp, everything we have seen would indicate that USC does have that man. Kessler is handling Steve Sarkisian's uptempo offense pretty much as hoped. His stronger passing arm fits perfectly with a run-heavy offense that will set up deep play-action off the run but his quick hands and quicker feet work well with the read-option and quick slants and dump-offs to the running backs that will become a staple for the Trojans.



2. Nelson Agholor, Junior, Wide Receiver

Gerard Martinez -- Nelson Agholor started off fall camp establishing himself as the next great wide receiver to come through USC. Agholor made several big catches in week one over the likes of Josh Shaw and Chris Hawkins, helping to set the tone from the rest of the offense. Agholor is a true leader for this team in that he is vocal and he will lead by example. Since the first two weeks of camp, Agholor has still had his share of plays, but the coaching staff is definitely keeping the Ferrari in the garage until game day.



3. Javorius Allen, Junior, Running Back

Dan Weber -- Moving up to No. 3 on our list, the 6-foot, 215-pound Florida speedster with the best hands on the team could easily be higher here, as we say every time we do this list. And that was before we knew he'd also be lining up at left guard on the kickoff return team and as the "adjustor" on the punt return team. Not that the athlete who can run with power and speed doesn't already have plenty to do as the top receiver out of the backfield and the prime Red Zone threat who just seems to know where the goal line is and how to get there. Has had a sensational camp. Almost no way he could do more for this team.



4. Hayes Pullard, Senior, Linebacker

Ryan Abraham -- Redshirt senior Hayes Pullard has come a long way since he days at Crenshaw High School. Pullard has led the Trojans in tackles two out of the last three years and is poised to do the same in 2014. The clear leader of the talented but thin group of Trojan linebackers, Pullard has put in a workman like fall camp, leading this defense by example. He doesn't miss practices, he works as hard as anyone on the team, he doesn't make mistakes and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time to make not just big plays, but routine plays as well.



5. Su'a Cravens, Sophomore, Safety

Dan Weber -- He's down to 225-pounds (from 231) and trying to make the case that he's a safety even if he's often going to be playing down on the line of scrimmage in USC's nickel or double nickel defensive sets against the many wide-open spread attacks the Trojans will face. And it looks like he'll be here for the duration despite the sense of some unhappiness at how his move to the "nickel SAM" position -- after OLB Jabari Ruffin's season-ending knee injury -- was handled. Despite strep throat and a groin pull in camp, Su'a has been productive, causing an average of a turnover a day when he's in there. He's a playmaker and the idea here is to have him lined up in places where he can do just that.



6. Leonard Williams, Junior, Defensive End

Ryan Abraham -- True junior Leonard Williams was an All-American last season, he will be an All-American this season and likely a highly paid NFL defensive lineman next season. Williams missed spring football practice recovering from right shoulder surgery and also missed a number practices this fall when he injured his left shoulder. None of the coaches needed to see Williams out there on the practice field as everyone knows what he can do, but Williams pushed to come back to practice to set an example for his teammates. When in the lineup, Williams has been a one-man wrecking crew and Trojan offensive linemen will be happy when he gets to pick on someone wearing a different colored uniform on August 30.



7. Max Tuerk, Junior, Offensive Lineman

Dan Weber -- Up from No. 9 on our original Ten of Troy, the long-limbed snapper seems to have settled in as a shotgun snapper although the work with the quarterback under center goes on. But the 6-foot-6, 290-pounder who has played guard, tackle and tight end already in his career, is as much needed at center for all the intangibles from making the line calls to just rallying the troops. Has had a very good camp and as Kessler's roommate, he has a chemistry with the QB that's a must, especially when this offense is working so hard to go fast. With newcomers on either side right now, Tuerk's experience could not be more needed.



8. Josh Shaw, Senior, Safety

Ryan Abraham -- Not many players can say over a five-year career they have played for five different defensive coordinators with five different position coaches in five different defensive schemes. Josh Shaw is one of those players. The 6-foo-1, 200-pounders has settled in to cornerback and can finally focus on just one position for his senior season. Shaw has played a huge part in helping to personally mentor many of the true freshmen defensive backs, some of which will be expected to contribute this season. His leadership skills off the field combined with his physical play on the field makes Shaw a must on our Ten of Troy list.



9. Ajene Harris, Freshman, Wide Receiver

Gerard Martinez -- This pick really came down to Ajene Harris vs. Juju Smith, and while Smith has certainly had a great camp, Harris will probably see the field even earlier on Saturdays. Harris will likely start at the slot receiver position over Steve Mitchell, who is still coming back from an ACL tear from last summer. Harris was all over the field catching screens, deep passes, short passes and everything in between. The coaching staff has marveled at how quickly he has picked up the playbook.



10. Bryce Dixon, Freshman, Tight End

Gerard Martinez -- The bad news for USC fans is that true freshman tight end Bryce Dixon will have to play early and often. With only one other scholarship tight end available this season, the Trojans have no choice, and no coaching staff wants to be forced into playing a true freshman. The good news is that Dixon is 240-pounds and physically ready to make an immediate impact. He has caught the ball as well as any player at the position and has made it a point to be a more aggressive blocker. Dixon may eventually be seen as the biggest signing of the 2014 class by season’s end.
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