The USC Trojans finished the college football season with a disappointing loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Holiday Bowl, 49-24, but their receiving corps had a fantastic year.
USC managed to get four receivers to have over 500 receiving yards this season. I think that puts this group among the best receiving corps in college football history.
There have been five teams to have three 1,000 yards receivers in college football history. One of the most impressive groups of the five was the 2003 Texas Tech Red Raiders; they almost had four players with 1,000 yards receiving. Carlos Francis (1,177), Wes Welker (1,099), Nehemiah Glover (1,081), and tight end Mickey Peters, who was also used as a Y receiver, had 975 receiving yards.
The USC Trojans receiving corps was led by Michael Pittman Jr., who caught 101 passes for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns. Pittman was the Trojans go-to receiver; he made a ton of plays for the offense when they needed him. At 6’4, Pittman uses length as an advantage over defenders when working vertically. What makes Pittman so dominant is his elite movement for his size. Pittman is very competitive and always battles for extra yardage.
Amon-Ra St. Brown was last seasons leading receiver in catches as he hauled in 77 balls for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns. St. Brown was another reliable receiver that could get the job done for the Trojans making tons of crucial catches. St. Brown is a good route runner and he gets the ball at its highest point. St. Brown might be the most talented receiver with the highest upside on the Trojans Roster.
Tyler Vaughns caught 74 passes for 912 yards and six touchdowns. Vaughns was another receiver that improved on his stats from last season. He was a steady receiver that complimented Pittman and St. Brown.
Vaughns is athletic and has good speed. Along with his speed, he has an excellent vertical and is able to go get the ball with the best of them. What makes Vaughns special is his quickness to beat you underneath, he can play the slot and outside receiver positions.
His size will be a problem for secondaries for years to come. London also plays basketball, and he is a deep ball threat with his size and his ability to box out defenders and out jump them on deep balls.
After losing quarterback, JT Daniels early in the season, freshman Kedon Slovis came in with a big season passing for 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell brought over concepts of the Air Raid offense and the west coast offense to the Trojans in his first season. Also, Harrell was able to create a productive running game, even with all the injuries to his running backs. This aided in taking some of the pressure off of his young freshman QB.
When you look at the entirety of the season, and all of the obstacles that were thrown at the Trojans, it is quite amazing what this receiver group was able to accomplish. They will certainly go down as one of the best units in college football history, and the remaining group will have a lot to build upon as they welcome a few new names to the room.