LOS ANGELES-Impact. Speed. Dominance. Welcome to the new and improved version of the USC Trojans football experience. Get used to it because it appears that it is here to stay. It’s about the new kids on the block. Fresno State got a first-hand look at the new Trojan era on Saturday, Aug. 31.
It was a look that suggest to other USC opponents of what is about to come for the next few years: a lot of hurt and a lot of speed. Freshmen Juju Smith, Adoree’ Jackson, Bryce Dixon and Ajene Harris will be the cornerstones of the Trojans’ future.
It’s a good look for USC coach Steve Sarkisian. Jackson, the former Serra High All-American, and Dixon, scored their first career collegiate touchdowns. Smith, the all-world player from Long Beach Poly High School, put on a dominant performance with four catches for 123 yards that may raised more than a couple of eyebrows.
Oh, by the way, USC easily handled Fresno State, cruising to a 52-13 win.
“We came in as a unit and we just performed,” Jackson said after the win. “We had to live up to the hype that everybody’s given [to] us. I felt like we did a pretty good job. We can do a lot more. You know how the season goes…you always have room for improvement.”
Anytime you can get on the football field as a freshman, it is a pretty impressive accomplishment. Anytime you make your way to the starting lineup as the new kid on the block by Game 1, you must be something special. USC have a couple of those special athletes on its roster.
They go by the names of Mr. Jackson, Mr. Smith, Mr. Harris and Mr. Dixon. Welcome to the Trojandome. Jackson spoke on what is expected from them and the success they had in the first game.
“It feels good,” Jackson said. “It’s good that we’re getting our feet wet right now to see how it feels to be out here in front of the Coliseum.”
One would assume that with the spotlight shining on them in their first college football game that nerves and anxiety might creep up. That was not the case for Jackson.
“No, I didn’ t have any jitters,” Jackson said. “It’s kind of weird. I was just ready to play.”
The USC football team’s new players this season that are expected to help resurrect the Trojans’ lifeline back into national title contenders. Most of these cats are just dusting their cleats off from their high school careers.
But don’t be fooled by all those young faces. The Trojans’ recruiting class is a good reason why USC is ranked 15th in the country. And with a first-hand look at some of these young players, it is safe to say the Trojans are in good hands for the next several years. Fresno State, the Trojans’ first game opponent of the 2014 season, can probably attest to this fact.
In football, being able to go vertical at warp speed is a big part of the sport. They say that speed kills. Well, if that is the case, the Trojans will be showcasing those attributes this season, thanks to the invasion of speedsters Smith, Jackson and Harris to the top of the depth chart at the wide receiver spot.
If there is one particular area where the Trojans appear to be really strong at it is the area where the speed merchants roam. The speed that Smith, Jackson, Harris, and George Farmer possess between each other is the equivalent of a world class 4×100 relay team.
Adding Dixon to that mix gives USC an offensive lineup to be feared. That means Smith, Jackson, Dixon and Harris is helping USC build something special in Trojanland.