Uchenna Nwosu was the unquestioned leader of USC’s defense in 2017 and parlayed his strong play into being drafted in the second round of the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Chargers. Now, USC has to figure out how to replace the departed star.
Nwosu led USC’s pass rush last season and with Rasheem Green also gone, the Trojans desperately need to find players to pressure opposing QBs. So who will step up?
With Porter Gustin and Cameron Smith returning to USC, the program is pretty strong at linebacker. However, the team needs a bonafide pass rusher at the linebacker position. Nwosu’s backup, Jordan Iosefa, could be the go-to guy. Iosefa has dealt with injuries during his time at USC and is not really familiar with the outside linebacker position.
A few other options are true freshmen Kana’i Mauga and Palaie Gaoteote. Both players were highly ranked recruits, but are obviously inexperienced. Coach Clay Helton and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast could choose to throw the young guys into the fire. But with a difficult early season schedule, that could backfire on the Trojans.
USC will have a lot more answers at this position after fall camp, but needless to say they will exhaust all of their options as they try to replace Nwosu’s production.