USC releases depth chart (sort of)

Since 12 USC players expected to be on the 2011 two-deep missed all or much of spring practices, coach Lane Kiffin seemed torn on whether to release a depth chart after the session concluded Saturday, thereby irritating Trojans beat writers who view the release of a depth chart as a rite of spring.

Ah, but here it is. You might notice a number of "or"s on the chart, which means this is only a hint of a pecking order.

Couple of thoughts.

  • You'll note freshmen are listed under the returning players. Count on several of them, particularly on the O-line, moving up quickly. Fair to say that three spots on the line are wide-open.

  • It's notable that there's still an "Or" between backup quarterback Jesse Scroggins and the two freshmen, Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, who arrived early and participated in spring practices. Not a huge surprise, but it shows that Kiffin hasn't made a final decision on Matt Barkley's backup.

  • Senior Brandon Carswell is listed as the starting receiver opposite Robert Woods. He'll have to fight off Kyle Prater and incoming freshman George Farmer in the fall.

  • "Or"s separate the top-four tailbacks: Curtis McNeal, Marc Tyler, D.J. Morgan and Dillon Baxter, though Tyler is listed in bold caps. So stay tuned, I guess.

  • Wes Horton and Nick Perry are listed as the No. 1 defensive ends. Christian Tupou and George Uko are No. 1 at defensive tackle, which seems like a minor tweak on returning starter DaJohn Harris, who was inconsistent this spring. Tupou started in 2009 but missed all of last season and spring practices with a knee injury and Uko is a redshirt freshman.

  • Armond Armstead is listed No. 2 at defensive tackle behind Uko. He missed spring with an undisclosed medical condition and his status is uncertain. He mostly played at the end of last year.

  • Devon Kennard is No. 1 at middle linebacker and Chris Galippo is No. 1 at weakside LB. Both missed spring. An "or" separates Marquis Simmons and Dion Bailey on the strongside.

  • There's an "or" between Tony Burnett and Torin Harris at the corner opposite Nickell Robey. There is not one at strong safety between Marshall Jones and Demetrius Wright, so Jones heads into the fall as the starter. Jawanza Starling and Drew McAllister are listed as T.J. McDonald's backups at free safety.