The University of Southern California Trojans have always had a first-rate corps of receivers on hand and recently, the quality has been excellent. Last season’s duo of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee may have been the best in the land. The All-American Woods will be playing in the NFL this coming season, but Lee returns as the best college wide-out in the country (source: Biletnikoff Award).
So the men of Troy will have to replace Woods who was a three-year starter and record-breaking performer. Logically, if you knew the quality and standards that are needed to fill Woods position, naturally you would look at your depth and notice a former All-American prep star. He may have been the best player coming out of high school in 2011 and had incredible athletic ability with speed and great hands. Now a junior, that former high school star would be George Farmer.
Personally, I’m well aware of his talents as Farmer and his teammates destroyed Paso Robles in the 2010 CIF semifinals – Paso Robles is where I live. Farmer came from the same high school as Woods and Lee – yeah, heck of a group of wide receivers. Woods said Farmer was better than himself. Heady stuff. Lee and Farmer both entered USC at the same time but Lee was considered for defense more than offense while Farmer was being thought of as a likely starter in 2011. Well, that didn’t happen.
Farmer had trouble picking up the offense while Lee was leaving people gasping in wonderment at the feats he was displaying. Farmer had nagging injuries and becoming buried on the depth chart, finally it was decided that he would redshirt his freshman year (source: Yahoo! Sports). But the Trojans were in bad need of bodies in the backfield so Farmer tried to resurrect his career as a running back. That didn’t last long and soon he was back as a receiver, mostly standing on the sidelines.
Mental and physical issues behind him?
Some might say his mental game was the problem but once more, injuries plagued Farmer’s career in the first two years. Still, he starts spring practice with a shot at the starting job. So the question remains: Can George Farmer finally perform to expectations?
He has speed to burn along with quickness and strength. His vision of field is outstanding and he has great moves, as well. Yet, that incredible athleticism hasn't translated into any decent playing time while at USC.
Health has been an issue and although Farmer hasn’t had any serious injuries, there have been enough to keep him from getting comfortable. If he can finally overcome the mental aspects, he appears to be healthy this spring so this might be his time to shine.
Sophomore Nelson Agholor worked in last season as the third wide-out and is likely Farmer’s chief competition. Another sophomore Victor Blackwell will also be pushing for playing time. Enrolled freshman Darreus Rogers could also compete for snaps in 2013.
Ironically, his long-time teammate Lee, has become everything Farmer was supposed to be. Unless injuries once again slow his progress, Farmer would seem to be in line for the starting receiver spot opposite Lee. Talent isn’t the issue but possibly focus and the mental game may be what either keeps Farmer on or off the field; however, he appears ready. Will 2013 be George Farmer's year?
Additional sources: University of Southern California