Analysis: How Amon-Ra St. Brown's Departure Effects USC's Offense

A look into how USC's receiving group stacks up in 2021.
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Star USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown made his official NFL draft announcement on Saturday, informing the public that he will not return to the Coliseum next fall.

Now there is no doubt that receiving group will look different with the loss of St. Brown, but Keary Colbert has curated a solid group of receivers to fall back on. After all, USC is known as WRU.  Let's take a look at what the receiving depth may look like for quarterback Kedon Slovis next fall.

This past season, St. Brown was Slovis' favorite target on offense, catching 41 passes and scoring seven touchdowns to lead the team. In second place for receptions was tied between sophomore Drake London and senior Tyler Vaughns, as each of them had 33 catches. 

London led the team in receiving yards with 502, while Vaughns was a key third-down target for Graham Harrell's offense. While we know what London's intentions are for 2021, there is still uncertainty surrounding Vaughns.

Last year London was a two sport athlete and played both football and basketball for the Trojans. Earlier this month, Andy Enfield announced that London would drop basketball to focus on his football career. 

London was the big play pass-catcher for the Trojans six games this season, averaging 15.2 yards per catch. The 6-foot-5 wideout now has all of his attention on the gridiron, and expect him to be one of the main targets to replace the production that will be lost from St. Brown moving up into the NFL.

In regards to Vaughns, there is still no word on whether he will play his extra season of eligibility (due to the NCAA COVID-19 rule) or try to enter the league. The 23-year-old from Pasadena has 189 receptions for 2,395 yards with 17 TDs in his four-year career. To add, he has been a starter since he arrived at USC. 

If Vaughns decides to stay, it will be a huge boost for the receiving group as he will return with some confidence as the veteran receiver.

The rest of the receiving corps on the Trojans squad are all very talented and athletic. Redshirt freshman Bru McCoy seems to be the next man up in regards to the receiver that will benefit the most from St. Brown's departure. McCoy ranked fourth on the team in receptions and yards, catching 21 throws for 236 yards and two TD's. 

McCoy could emerge as the number two or three receiver next year, if Vaughns leaves.

To add, the Trojans have a couple of 2021 commits coming into the mix, which include four-star WR Kyron Ware-Hudson, No.1 WR from Nevada Michael Jackson III, and three-star Texas WR Joseph Manjack.

Alongside the recruits, USC has at least 10 other young pass-catchers on their roster; many who have accumulated playing time this year. Freshman Gary Bryant Jr. made an impressive debut this season and found a meaningful role on the Trojans return unit. Although the four-star athlete is still trying to find his place within Graham Harrell's offense, the young wideout showed some positive moments through out the 2020 season. 

To say St. Brown's absence won't be felt would be an understatement. No.8 came through for the Trojans at key critical points during the 2020 season. 

However, the Trojans have a plethora of talent to choose from looking ahead; and the stability of the receiving core should be just fine even without Amon-Ra St. Brown.

Read: Sarkisian's Path to the Rose Bowl: From USC to Alabama]

[Read: Amon-Ra St. Brown Declares for NFL]

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