USC puts 3 players on ESPN's preseason true freshman All-America team
USC is well-represented on ESPN’s newly-released preseason true freshman All-America team.
The Trojans have 3 players who made the list: tight end Duce Robinson, wide receiver Zachariah Branch and linebacker Tackett Curtis.
Robinson and Branch are both expected to be early contributors on a USC offense that figures to be amongst the most explosive in the country.
Branch is the No. 1 wide receiver in the country for the class of 2023, per 247Sports Composite rankings. With Jordan Addison now in the NFL, USC will be searching for more production out of its wide receivers. He could also make an impact on special teams as a true freshman.
Here’s some analysis from ESPN’s Tom Luginbill:
Not to get too far over my skis, but Branch might be the most talented skill player on USC’s roster — not only as a receiver, but also as a return man in the kicking game. He possesses rare speed and is a nightmare to defend in the open field. While the Trojans hit the portal nabbing former Arizona wide receiver Dorian Singer, I don’t think any of their current crop of pass-catchers matches Branch’s game-changing ability. Size is really his only shortcoming. He’s like Tavon Austin, who at 5-8 was a dynamic playmaker at West Virginia.
On the other side of the ball, Curtis could make an impact at linebacker for a USC defense that struggled at times in 2022. A 4-star from Louisiana, Curtis has impressed so far this offseason.
Here’s analysis from Luginbill:
Talk about arriving at the right time. USC needs to take a major step forward defensively and there is a significant need in all three phases. Curtis will compete with Oklahoma State transfer Mason Cobb, who gives the Trojans stability and experience, but Curtis is the better athlete. He should see significant work at linebacker once acclimated. Curtis projected as a safety early in his high school career and still has a lot of upside for growth.
USC will open its 2023 season against San Jose State on Aug. 26.