Expanded role for Raesjon Davis needs to be an important piece for Alex Grinch in 2023

There were a lot of questionable decisions made by USC coaches in the Cotton Bowl loss against Tulane. Lincoln Riley’s refusal to throw the ball on the 1-yard line led to the game-changing safety which paved the way for a Tulane comeback win. Having Mario Williams returning kickoffs was met with some questions.

Also: Why did Raesjon Davis not play more — not only in the Cotton Bowl, but in previous games? Alex Grinch has to answer that question.

The USC Trojans’ defense broke down once again, and Grinch became the hot topic, although Lincoln Riley decided to bring him back for the 2023 season.

Nonetheless, there was one impressive player who stood out to Riley and the Trojans, and it was an unexpected one: linebacker Raesjon Davis.

With Shane Lee and Eric Gentry ahead of him, Davis had trouble finding playing time. (However, both players were injured this past season, which could have given Davis a chance to play more.)

In the Cotton Bowl, Davis had a season-high three tackles and really impressed Riley and the coaching staff (h/t Trevor Booth of USCFootball.com).

“He’s one that’s exciting,” Riley said. “You know, he came in, I think, came in the game and had some – in the game where we weren’t tackling well – came in and had some really nice kind of forceful, confident tackles. And that really showed up.”

It was a positive sign for Riley, and that could mean more playing time for Davis in 2023.

“We were excited of what we saw in Raesjon, and he was one of the guys we thought that made it a little bit of a jump in the bowl practices. And were we excited about some of the plays in that game? Absolutely we were.”

The Trojans are mega-talented on offense — that’s no secret. However, the defense needs a massive overhaul, and perhaps Raesjon Davis can become a significant player next season.

Alex Grinch definitely has to develop him and Korey Foreman if USC is to make the forward strides fans rightly expect.

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A Trojan tribute to Charles White: 1958-2023

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire