Wednesday, December 8, 2021

USC freshmen try to trust the process by losing red shirts in a losing season

Rashad Davis raised his son to believe the process. Wait your turn. To make a living. But as he watched Regon spend most of his first season at the University of Southern California, he sometimes found it difficult to follow his own advice.

When Raesjon Davis signed with USC, he was the second-rated rookie in the 2021 Trojan class and the No. 3 player in the state, a slender midfielder from Santa Ana Mater Dei who could throw himself at a passer-by or hold him back. own coverage. His signing was a significant win for USC, ending what appeared to be a major shift in recruitment.

Its first season did not quite reflect this meaning. Davis only played 12 shots in his two USC defense games, 11 of which came in the season opener against San Jose. But while his defensive role has faded, Davis has still played in nine games this season for the USC start and return punt teams, disqualifying him from the red jersey under NCAA rules that allow players to appear in a maximum of four games.

This is where Rashad’s frustration takes over.

“For them to burn his red shirt, I just could not understand it. No explanation has been found for this, Davis said. “This is a big deal. You won’t get that year ago. “

With a losing season entering its final two weeks, USC coaches have already had to weigh the decisions on how to handle the future eligibility of players they probably won’t be coaching in a month.

This is a tricky situation to consider and has been further complicated this season by the influx of players who have taken advantage of the extra year provided by the NCAA due to the pandemic. Injuries didn’t help either, as USC had to dig deep throughout the season.

But more often than not, the current Trojan trainers were particularly conservative about the recruiting class, which 247 Sports named the seventh best in the country.

“This is what we are discussing as a collective, we get together and try to figure out what’s best for the squad, what’s best for the kid, and what’s best for the team,” said USC Assault Coordinator Graham Harrell. “Make a decision and follow it. Another thing is to talk to your child and make sure he understands his plan. We never want to do something that is not suitable for a child. “

In Davis’s case, Donte Williams said he didn’t believe it would take Davis five seasons to gain a foothold in USC.

“I think it shows him some things that he also needs to work on in the offseason to prepare not only for the rest of this year, but also for next year so that he can come out right now. away and fight, ”Williams said. “He played games, he played against other teams, he was in big stadiums where he will feel confident to hopefully come into play in the spring.”

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Davis isn’t the only high-profile rookie who hasn’t made much of an impact this fall. Four-star full-backs Prophet Brown and Sayyir Wright have played 24 shots over two games in the USC Defense. Four-star midfielder Julien Simon hasn’t played a single click. Together with Davis, they make up four of the top five USC defenders in their class.

The only freshmen on the USC roster to have more than 100 shots in 10 games this season are quarterback Jackson Dart, defender Calen Bullock and receiver Joseph Manjack – just one of them ranked as one of the top 10 Trojan recruits in 2021.

Even the No. 1 rookie in the country has had a difficult time entering the field this season. Corey Foreman looked at just 93 shots in nine games in his freshman year. He counted eight tackles and 1.5 sacks in these limited options, but was never able to find his footing. Some of these have been linked to a long list of minor injuries, including a concussion that prevented him from competing against UCLA. He returned to training on Tuesday.

Williams described the first season of Best Rookie as “a bit of ups and downs when I was in my freshman year.”

“I definitely think he won’t play high school. [of high school due to injury] surely someone is hurting, ”Williams said. “This year he had several injuries and the like and was trying to cope with lowering and lifting weights. So there are a few ups and downs, but hopefully it’s a learning experience when it’s ready for spring and all the going forward. “

Wright, the four-star, has tried to maintain a positive outlook during a challenging freshman season. After enrolling in the summer, he knew he had a long way to go to earn time in his freshman year. But he said he didn’t feel the pressure to play earlier.

“I pay dues, work hard and prepare for next season,” Wright said. “Everyone goes through their own process. I’ll be here for a minute. “

Whenever his father asked, Raesjohn Davis offered similar answers. Rashad is surprised at how positively his son has remained in a season that didn’t go as well as the freshmen expected when they signed.

Raejon has no intention of looking for time to play anywhere else. He plans to trust the process. Just like his father taught him.

“I’m just focusing on my role,” Davis said earlier this month. “This is what Coach Donte always expresses in team meetings. Focus on your role, do what you need to do to make the team better, and your time will come when it comes. “

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