The Pac-12 was one of two conferences that initially suspended all fall athletic activities on July 10 due to the worsening condition of the COVID virus. They would reverse their decision on September 24 and instated a six-game conference-only schedule that began in November. The USC Trojans went undefeated but lost to Oregon in the Pac-12 championship. With the season over, many USC prospects are looking forward to USC’s Pro Day and the 2021 NFL Draft.
When is USC’s Pro Day?
The pro day for the USC Trojans will take place on March 24.
Top USC prospects working out
Ranked 36th overall on Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline’s 2021 Draft prospect rankings, USC junior offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker boasts extreme versatility in the 2021 offensive line class. Vera-Tucker redshirted his freshman season, spending time bulking up to 315 pounds on his 6’4″ frame.
The young lineman saw his first action in 2018, receiving reps on special teams and backing up at right guard.[sv slug=”drizly”]
Vera-Tucker broke out in 2019. He switched sides to left guard, starting all 13 games for the Trojans, further showcasing his aforementioned versatility. Showing strength in both rush and pass protection, his impressive season was acknowledged, earning USC Offensive Lineman of the Year and AP first-team All-Pac-12 honors.
Vera-Tucker originally opted out of 2020 but decided to return
After Austin Jackson’s departure to the 2020 NFL Draft, Vera-Tucker filled in admirably at left tackle last season. He received All-Pac-12 honors yet again, as well as All-American honors and the Morris Trophy.
From Chief Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline:
“After initially announcing he would opt out of the 2020 season, Vera-Tucker returned to the field and had a brilliant campaign,” Pauline says. “He displays terrific footwork, strength as a run blocker, and the tenacity to start in the NFL, though I believe it will be at guard rather than tackle.”
Excelling at multiple positions makes projecting his NFL Draft value a bit complex. While he excelled at left tackle in 2020, his 2019 work at guard was superior.
According to PFN Draft Analyst Oliver Hodgkinson, the best fits for the versatile lineman include the Chargers, Colts, and Chiefs. Sitting just outside the top 32 players, Vera-Tucker can propel himself into the first round with a stellar outing at USC’s 2021 Pro Day.
Amon-Ra St. Brown
A five-star recruit in the 2018 class, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown was rated 11th overall. Heavy hitters lined up, taking their chance at signing the talented receiver. Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Ohio State all sent offers to St. Brown. In the end, being from Anaheim, California, and wanting to stay close to home, St. Brown committed to the USC Trojans.
St. Brown commanded a substantial role his freshman year, catching 60 passes for 750 yards and 3 touchdowns. In 2019, he became one of the critical pieces of the Trojans offense. The talented receiver set season-high totals in all categories with 77 receptions for 1,042 yards and 6 TDs. While the 2020 season was shortened to just six games, St. Brown hauled in 41 passes for 478 yards and a career-high 7 TDs.
PFN’s own Draft Analyst Ian Cummings says, “He’s not quite an elite athlete, and he’s not big enough to be a cheat code in contested situations. Nevertheless, St. Brown brings solid athleticism and explosiveness, exceptional route-running ability, natural catching skills, and some dynamic potential after the catch.”
With how top-heavy the 2021 WR class currently is, a good USC 2021 Pro Day will make or break St. Brown’s chances of being selected in the first round — WR6 through WR9 are all graded between 3.90-3.97. There’s room to rise up draft boards, and according to Cummings, the Colts, Jets, Lions, Packers, and Ravens could all be great fits for the USC prospect.
USC safety Talanoa Hufanga made an immediate impact on the Trojans defense. Showcasing coverage and formidable tackling abilities, Hufanga started hot playing the first eight games of 2018. However, a broken collarbone in his breakout game against Arizona State ended his season. He finished the season with 90 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
Things only improved the following season. Hufanga earned consensus All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 honors while also being named 2020 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Pauline explained, “Though likely to be characterized as a run-first defender at the safety position, he’s much more complete and displays terrific ability in coverage. He possesses classic size for a strong safety, but has enough range and ball skills to play free safety.”
This safety class does not possess a clear No. 1. So a good day at USC’s 2021 Pro Day could boost the prospect considerably, but a bad day can tank it just as hard.
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