The number one ranked University of Southern California Trojans have a lot of talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Matt Barkley is the Heisman Trophy's leading candidate. One of the starting wide receivers is an All-American and the other one is potentially an All-American this year. The two tailbacks are both 1,000 yard rushers. The talent behind these guys doesn't fall off that much at USC.
Further, four of the five offensive linemen return with the center as a likely All-American in Khaled Holmes. The one All-American left tackle who left to play in the NFL is being replaced by a 6'6" sophomore that has future NFL written all over him (Aundrey Walker). Heck, even the Trojan defense has All-Americans.
But there's one position that isn't talked about much but could be the secret weapon that makes the USC offense potentially devastating: the tight ends. Make no mistake, the Trojan offense will use their tight ends and these big guys have just as much ability as any of the other more highly visible and talked about players at USC. Not only that but don't be surprised if head coach Lane Kiffin uses two tight end sets more often in 2012. These guys are that good.
The men of Troy are deep and talented at tight end. The two mainstays are 6'4" 255 pound Randall Telfer and 6'5" 255 pound Xavier Grimble. And yes, similar to their buddies at running back and wide receiver, they may make up the best tandem of tight ends in the country.
Although both players exceed as total players, Telfer may be better afoot with possibly better hands. Again, these two are not that far apart but Telfer offers a more receiver style of tight end.
Grimble is the bigger of the two and uses that size well as a blocker. Maybe not quite as speedy as Telfer, Grimgle gives the Trojans offense a legitimate sixth lineman when he's in.
USC also has a new kid in town with Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick who stands 6'5" 245 pounds and arguably was the best tight end coming out of high school this past year. Moreover, redshirt freshman Junior Pomee who's 6'3" 250 pounds is talented but has had some injuries. Another underclassman, 6'3" 245 pound redshirt sophomore Christian Thomas is very capable and if the Trojans don't experience injuries to their tight ends this year, Cope-Fitzpatrick may be redshirted.
The good news for Trojans fans is that Telfer and Gamble are both redshirt sophomores and Cope-Fitzpatrick is a true freshman plus not one tight end listed here has less than three years of eligibility heading into 2012.
Barkley will have talented running backs like Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd to hand off to and Robert Woods and Marqise Lee to throw to and they will be front and center for the USC offensive attack.
But what a great weapon to have when teams are intently eyeing the receivers with over the top safety coverage. With that kind of talent, imagine a toss in the flat or over the middle to a wide open tight end after play-action to McNeal or Redd - it will be nearly impossible to defend. And note: USC's first scrimmage touchdown of fall camp was Barkley to Telfer.
Telfer and Gamble are both listed as starters and either one or both will be on the field often, making life difficult for opposing safety's and linebackers. Not bad options, what with ultimately being the third or fourth options on the Trojan offensive schemes. Just remember these huge men are a secret.
Sources - University of Southern California, roster
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!