Oct 13, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; USC Trojans defensive end Morgan Breslin (91) comes in to tackle Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price (17) during the game at CenturyLink Field. Southern California defeated Washington 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Players to Watch – USC Trojans


The Trojans are entering their first season without Matt Barkley at the helm under Lane Kiffin. The 2012 season was the year that Trojans were going to unseat the SEC in the BCS title game only to have injuries derail their hopes of even making the Pac-12 Championship Game. Coming out of spring ball there is still a question on who will be leading the Trojans on the field at the quarterback position with talent to pick from and talent surrounding whomever is chosen.

#91 – Morgan Breslin – DE
6’2” – 250 lbs. – SR

A junior college transfer that burst onto the Pac 12 and became one of the elite pass rushers in all of college football last year, Morgan Breslin recorded 19.5 tackles for losses with 13 sacks. Breslin will move to outside linebacker this season in a new scheme for the Trojans.

Strengths – Breslin is a power rusher off the edge for the Trojans where he displays the ability to get off the line with explosiveness and dip underneath the offensive tackle. He plays with a non-stop motor once he comes off the ball with explosion and speed to chase the ball carrier down in the backfield or crash down the line of scrimmage. Breslin does a great job of punching the offensive lineman as he explodes upwards on the snap.

Weaknesses – Breslin will be playing some outside linebacker this year for the Trojans. His feet and hips are not an issue when on the line but put back into space it will be something he will need to improve on. Breslin needs to add a counter move when rushing from the defensive end position to go with his bull rush and outside edge rush.

Overall – With pass rushing becoming a need in the NFL with more passing teams, Breslin will add that threat to any team and improving his coverage skills will allow him to be on the field in any situation. He is good athlete with exceptional power and motor. In the new scheme for the Trojans, Breslin will thrive off the edge in blitz packages where he is at his best.

#25 – Silas Redd – RB
5’10” – 200 lbs. – SR

Silas Redd came to Trojans last year after the Penn State scandal broke and transferred without sitting out. In his junior year with split carries with Curtis McNeal, Redd compiled 905 yards on 167 carries for the Trojans. He tore his meniscus in his knee this spring which will be of note but should be fully healed come the fall to start in the backfield for the Trojans.

Strengths – Redd is a patient runner that does a great job letting the play develop in front of him then hitting the crease with a great burst. He possesses the speed to turn a short gain into a homerun any time he touches the ball. Redd keeps his feet churning upon contact pushing the pile forward once he is hit. Redd is very effective at making one hard cut and exploding once at the line of scrimmage with a low pad level at contact.

Weakness – A willing blocker but attacks the defensive player unbalanced causing him to miss the block or be pushed back more than he should. Redd has had issues hanging on to the ball during his career with not many lost fumbles but plenty on the dirt. In the passing game, Redd needs to improve his receiving ability out of the backfield to become a three down back in the NFL.

Overall – Redd is not a flashy running back by any means but is as consistent as any running back in college. Even with Redd’s speed and explosion, he does his most damage in between the tackles getting the hard yards awaiting the chance to break the long one. During his sophomore year at Penn State, Redd shouldered 244 carries out of the backfield without missing any time. He has been asked to be the workhorse before and with his solid frame, it shouldn’t be an issue to do so again. Look for Redd to be focal point of the Trojan offense this year with inexperience at the quarterback position.

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Defensive Ends Pac 12 Running Backs USC Trojans Football