No Huddle Breakdown: Scouting USC’s Impact Players

Ronald Jones


Offensively, the Trojans rank 13th in Total Offense, putting up 490 yards per game and rank 7th in Long Scrimmage Plays (10+ yards). The offensive line has allowed 22 sacks on the season, ranking 47th nationally.

Defensively, USC ranks 77th in Total Defense, allowing 405 yards per game. They rank 98th in Passing Defense and rank 85th in Long Scrimmage Plays Allowed. The defense, however, is tied for 2nd nationally in Sacks with 43 on the season.

We close out the 2017 season by taking a final look at the impact players of the Trojans in this edition of No Huddle Breakdown.


Sam Darnold (#14)
6’4” 220

2017: 3787 yards, 26 TD, 12 INT, 63.7%

Named 1st Team All-Pac-12, Darnold has prototypical size and good athleticism to maneuver outside the pocket. He has very good arm strength and shows the ability to fit the ball into tight windows. Has good accuracy on the run and puts the ball in a position to maximize YAC. Uses very good anticipation and mental processing to throw receivers open and is at his best when forced to create outside the pocket. Struggles with consistency in footwork which leads to errant throws in the middle of the field and is quick to escape the pocket when it gets messy. The Buckeyes will need to contain and collapse the pocket to limit the big play potential he provides.

Ronald Jones II (#25)
Running Back
6’0 200

2017: 1486 yards, 18 TD

Arguably the best running back the Buckeyes will see this season, Saquon Barkley included, due to his speed through the hole and violent running style. Jones II is a decisive runner and shows very good lateral quickness and agility without dancing behind the LOS and generates hidden yardage after contact. An underrated blocker in the passing game and is utilized outside the numbers in the bubble screen game to block downfield.
Jones II averages 20 carries per contest in 2017, but that number shoots to 37 carries against ranked opponents. Look for a heavy dose of Ronald Jones II between the tackles Friday night.


Cameron Smith (#35)
Middle Linebacker
6’2” 250

2017: 102 Tackles, 10 TFL

Very good size and frame and solid athleticism in the middle. Has very good read and react skills to fill the gaps and has a nose for the ball. Excels as a downhill run defender and has solid ability to shed blocks in pursuit. Struggles in coverage due to only adequate speed versus athletic Tight Ends and lacks awareness when having to turn and run with his back to the LOS.

Uchenna Nwosu (#42)
Outside Linebacker
6’2” 240

2017: 71 Tackles, 9.5 TFL, 7.5 Sacks, 13 Passes Defended

Perhaps the best defender on the roster, Nwosu provides very good athleticism to the defensive front of the Trojans. Listed as an OLB, Nwosu aligns primarily along the defensive line where he can use his speed and elite upfield burst to rush the edge. Has very good awareness and timing to bat passes at the LOS when his rush does not get home. Lacks a pass rush repertoire and struggles to convert his speed to power. Drops into coverage on occasion but does not show the range to be effective as a cover LB.

Other Notables:

Deontay Burnett (#80) WR- 74 Rec, 975 yards. The leading receiver is used primarily in screens and slants. Has very good agility to create after the catch. Not an effective blocker.

Tyler Vaughns (#21) WR- 51 Rec, 690 yards. Freshman WR who came on as the season wore on. Has a long frame and plays larger than his listed size. Uses his hands and provides an excellent catch radius for his QB.

Marvell Tell III (#7) S- 79 Tackles, 3 INT, 2 PD. Downhill Safety who is comfortable when playing at the LOS. Good pursuit and provides very good run support.

Christian Rector (#89) DT- 35 Tackles, 11.5 TFL, 7.5 Sacks. Arguable the most disruptive force along the defensive line for the Trojans. Has very good length to go with speed and power. Has a good competitive spirit in pursuit. Does not get the attention as Rasheem Green (#94) nationally, but equally as impactful.