The 2012 season has brought a lot of promise not seen on the Los Angeles campus of the University of Southern California Trojans in a few years. But they will have several obstacles in their way of victories and championships, not the least of which are some extremely talented offensive football players. Here's a look at the top six players USC will have to keep an eye on in 2012 (listed alphabetically).
Keenan Allen - Wide Receiver: California Golden Bears
The 6'3" 210 pound junior may likely be playing his last year at Cal. He is potentially an All-American and may even make a run at the Heisman Trophy - he's that good. A sure-handed pass-catcher, Allen has a way of catching the toughest passes and truly is a big-play receiver who can make a difference in a game.
At 5'11" and 192 pounds, the fifth-year senior is vital to the Oregon backfield production. He's on almost every watch list, which is amazing in that Barner has literally run in the shadow of LaMichael James who now plays in the NFL for the 49ers. He will be the go-to guy in the Ducks running game and in fact, he is most of the Oregon running game (yes, there's someone else with him - see below). For the teams sake, hopefully Barner won't get injured because the Ducks are thin in the backfield.
Tyler Eifert - Tight End: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
He led the nation for tight ends last year with 63 catches and 803 yards and seriously considered moving on to the NFL. But the athletic 6'6" 251 pound senior is back as probably the top tight end in the country. In 2012, expect the Irish to move him around to different receiver positions to try and get mismatches.
Keith Price - Quarterback: Washington Huskies
The fourth-year junior is set to have a big year with the Huskies but whether he can top last year's 33 touchdowns is still up for speculation. Certainly the 6'1" 202 pounder has all the qualities to be a dynamic player but the Washington running game looks only adequate at best and with an inexperienced line - these issues may force Price to make more plays in 2012.
Stepfan Taylor - Running Back: Stanford Cardinal
He might be arguably the best running back in the Pac-12 Conference if not the country. The 5'11" 215 pound senior figures to be the main focus of the Stanford offense now that quarterback Andrew Luck plays for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. Don't be surprised if Taylor is in the running for the Heisman Trophy. He is the total package with excellent athleticism, good hands out of the backfield and he has strong powerful running balance.
De'Anthony Thomas - Running Back: Oregon Ducks
He's listed as a running back and certainly the 5'9" 176 pound sophomore will be in the backfield more than not. But because of his incredible athletic ability, he's a hybrid, playing receiver as well as running back. As an unbelievably good returner, Thomas might be the most valuable player on the Ducks team in 2012. And even a Heisman Trophy may be his to win some day.
The Trojans will have their hands full keeping up with these great players this season.
Sources - Pac-12 Conference
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!
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