Positional Breakdown: USC Receivers

A look now at the USC skill players. Like we did with Texas, after each player's main statistics, we'll have a rating for each receiver in categories we're labeling as "Hands" (sure-handedness), "Possession" (ability to be a possession receiver), "Explosiveness" (big play threat), and "Importance" (importance in the Rose Bowl). Each rating is on a 1 (worst) to 5 (best) scale.

Dwayne Jarrett: 81 catches, 1153 yards, 14.2 Average, 15 TD
Hands: 4
Possession: 4
Explosiveness: 4
Importance: 5

Jarrett is Leinart's Go-To Guy, and he's a receiver that can do everything. He has the size and hands to be a possession receiver and the big play ability to take you deep. One of the most intriguing matchups of the Rose Bowl will be underrated Texas CB Cedric Griffin trying to contain him. Jarrett reminds me of Mike Williams in a way. He's not the fastest guy around, but he's awfully good at using his big frame to be a lethal collegiate receiver. I think the USC receiver coaches know what they're doing.

Steve Smith: 57 catches, 928 yards, 16.3 Average, 5 TD
Hands: 4
Possession: 3
Explosiveness: 5
Importance: 4

Oklahoma is still having nightmares about this guy from last year's Orange Bowl. Smith was the recipient of three Leinart touchdown bombs in the title game rout. Smith is the guy that you can forget about when you're keying in on all of USC's other weapons. It's not an accident that their offense is as prolific as it is. It's easy to forget that Smith and Jarrett are just a junior and sophomore pair, respectively.

Dominique Byrd: 25 catches, 274 yards, 11.0 Average, 2 TD
Hands: 4
Possession: 3
Explosiveness: 2
Importance: 3

Leinart doesn't use his tight end much, but can you blame him? When you've got such explosive guys like Bush, Jarrett, and Smith to throw to, why nickel and dime your way down the field? If the Texas secondary is doing a good job on the wideouts, though, Byrd may need to play a larger role in the offense.

Reggie Bush: 31 catches, 383 yards, 12.3 Average, 2 TD
Hands: 4
Possession: 2
Explosiveness: 5
Importance: 4

Mr. Heisman doesn't just run the ball. While his kick returning skills get overblown a bit, he's a real threat as a receiver. Bush is at his best when he's got open field in front of him and he can do that Gale Sayers thing. Just another reason why this offense is so hard to slow down.

--PB--

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