USC ranks No. 14 nationally in returning production for the 2023 season, according to ESPN’s SP+.

The Trojans, led by key returners like quarterback Caleb Williams, are bringing back impactful players at several positions. Per ESPN’s formula, USC’s returning production stands at 76% for the 2023 campaign.

The returning production metric also includes production from transfers from FBS programs, which means USC’s overall number benefits from the arrival of players like Dorian Singer, Mason Cobb, Ethan White and others. USC’s transfer portal class currently ranks No. 3 nationally, per 247Sports Composite rankings.

ESPN’s returning production formula is also weighted by position. The percentage of a team’s returning passing yards, OL snaps and total tackles hold the most weight in the formula.

This is significant because returning production is often predictive of how a team will improve or regress in the upcoming season. Here’s an excerpt of analysis from ESPN’s Bill Connelly explaining the impact:

On average, teams returning at least 80% of production improve by about 5.8 adjusted points per game in the following season’s SP+ ratings. That’s a pretty significant bump! For a team ranked 25th in SP+ last year, adding 5.8 points to its rating would have bumped it to 10th.

USC is far ahead of most of its competitors in returning production projections for 2023. The Trojans rank 7th amongst Power 5 programs. Amongst the teams above USC, only Florida State (No. 1) and Texas A&M (No. 7) have major College Football Playoff aspirations.