USC recruiting 2002-2009 pt2 WRs

Moved this to its own post, I'll edit up my RB post tomorrow during my lunch break and then maybe tackle TEs when I get home from work.

2002 Mike Williams 6'5" 200
2002 Jason Mitchell 6'2" 195
2002 Chris McFoy 6'2" 185
2003 Whitney Lewis 6'1" 215
2004 Fred Davis 6'4" 210
2004 Derrick Jones 6'0 170
2004 Dwayne Jarett 6'5" 205
2005 Patrick Turner 6'5" 210
2005 Steve Smith 5'11" 190
2006 David Ausberry 6'4" 213
2006 Vidal Hazelton 6'3" 193
2006 Travon Patterson 5'8" 160
2006 Jamere Holland 6'1" 175
2007 Brandon Carswell 6'1" 172
2007 Ronald Johnson 6'0" 177
2008 Brice Butler 6'2" 178
2009 De'Von Flournoy 6'0" 178

The 2001 USC WR depth as best as I can remember it was Kareem Kelly, Keary Colbert and pray that Palmer doesn't get picked. Colbert was a possession guy who blossomed in the Norm Chow system while Kelly was a track guy trying to play football. PC's first class included BMW, Jason Mitchell and Chris McFoy. Mitchell played sparingly his first two seasons before getting in regularly as a junior. McFoy redshirted and didn't really become a part of the offense until his junior and senior seasons where he became a solid #2/#3 guy from what I recall. Mike Williams caught 176 passes for over 2500 yards in his 2 brief seasons before getting double whammied by the NFL and NCAA and never recovering. He, like Bush, was one of those players that Pete kept trying to repeat during his tenure. Whitney Lewis was the first player in California HS history to rush and receive for over 1000 yards but he never caught on at USC and ended up transferring to Northern Iowa. Fred Davis was a mega hyped recruit who spurned his home town Buckeyes to come to USC, where he got bigger and struggled at WR. Showing his dedication and maturity he offered to switch to TE where he eventually grew into a star, winning the Mackey award his final season with USC. Derrick Jones practiced with USC 11 times but never attended a class and eventually ended up at Oregon. Dwayne Jarett was another big east coast recruiting steal and he over came some homesickness and unfair comparisons to BMW to go on and catch on of the most memorable passes in Trojan history before leaving a season too early for the NFL. Patrick Turner was a guy I remember always being disappointed in until his final season when he finally stopped being afraid of contact and learned to catch the ball. Steve Smith was and still is awesome. Ausberry was another big, tall receiver who for whatever reason hasn't broken out. Vidal Hazelton's dad never wanted him to attend USC and eventually got him to transfer away. Patterson is another track guy whose career has been set back by injuries. Holland transferred to Oregon. Carswell and Johnson are both speed guys, Carswell redshirted and started working his way into the lineup the last two seasons. Ronald Johnson struggled his first year (although in my head that was largely because Booty couldn't throw the ball deep enough to get it to him), did well his second and then lost most of 2009 to a colarbone injury. Butler saw a lot of field time this past season but seemed prone to drops.

Probably the first thing that will stand out here is how tall most of USC's WR recruits were. I think once PC struck gold with Mike Williams he kind of kept trying to hit that mark again. That being said, some of the "shorter" guys certainly played key roles. Keary Colbert and Steve Smith were just as important to the Trojan's offense as guys like Mike Williams and Dwayne Jarett. Another thing that stood out is from some of the profiles it seems like a lot of the biggers guys were not considered good route runners going into college. This seems like the kind of thing you can get away with more at the college level. That is playing a bigger, more athletic but less refined guy at WR because his athleticism will overcome his skills. I thought initially that the shorter guys would seem significantly faster than the big guys, but based on the raw 40 times posted on Rivals almost all of the receivers had 4.4 or 4.5 speed so its hard to say. Another thing to note is that the pass distribution at USC varied largely upon the players on the roster in a given year. For example in 2006 Smith and Jarett caught 71 and 70 passes while the next highest guy Fred Davis had 38. Whereas in 2005 Jarett had 55, Smith 42, Reggie Bush 43 and Dominque Byre (a TE) had 37. Or 2007 when the team leader was Fred Davis with 62 and Vidal Hazelton was second with 50 or even this past season where Damian Williams had 70 and Ronald Johnson who missed a large part of the season was second with 34.

How this applies to the current roster/draft prospects
I guess the number one thing I see when I look at the current Seahawks roster is that there is no one at WR over 6'2", and I have to believe that at some point PC is going to want a guy in the 6'4"-6'5" range. I could also potentially see him identifying Branch and Butler as sort of redundant. Branch is smaller than all but one WR he recruited to USC. Given overall needs I don't think that WR is gonna be a top priority, especially given the post Chow offenses that Pete had more input in seemed fine with throwing to backs and TEs. Don't be surprised though if you start seeing the Seahawks go after more big receivers though.

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