USC football: 15 players to watch in spring (No. 2)

Thirteen down, two to go. The countdown of the 15 USC players to watch in spring practice is nearly complete.

For Nos. 3-15, see below. For No. 1, check back in a couple of hours.

NO. 2 — RB ALLEN BRADFORD

Profile: 5-11, 235, redshirt senior

2009 stats: 13 games, 115 carries, 668 yards, 5.8-yard avg., 8 TDs

Why he’s one to watch: USC fans finally might get what they have been clamoring for — Bradford in the lead-tailback role. I’m saying “might” for now because all positions are open to competition under the new coaching staff, and there are plenty of tailbacks eager to snatch carries. But Bradford is the heavy favorite, and with good reason.

Thanks to good health and playing time, Bradford had by far the best year of his career last season. He showed he could be both punisher and finisher, particularly against Oregon State, when he rumbled for a career-best 147 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

That was Bradford’s only 100-yard performance, not altogether surprising considering he never had more than 17 carries. If Lane Kiffin uses Bradford the way he used Montario Hardesty at Tennessee, Bradford could have 10 100-yard games. But Hardesty didn’t have C.J. Gable, Marc Tyler and Curtis McNeal behind him. So the carry distribution is still to be determined.

What isn’t is Bradford’s other role on this team. When times were tough during the Pete Carroll-Kiffin limbo period, Bradford became one of the Trojans’ primary leaders. That he took that sort of initiative tells me he’s ready to step up and have a breakout season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH SCHEDULE

USC football: 15 players to watch in spring (No. 2) is a post from: USC

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Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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