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USC's receiving corps is getting deeper

Junior De'Von Flournoy and freshman Nelson Agholor have been impressive at training camp. George Farmer says he's finally healthy.

August 14, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • USC's De'Von Flournoy is working hard to become the Trojans' No. 3 wide receiver.
USC's De'Von Flournoy is working hard to become the Trojans'… (Christina House / For The…)

Sophomore George Farmer arrived at USC in 2011 regarded as perhaps the nation's top high school receiver.

Freshman Nelson Agholor was among the top receivers in the Class of 2012.

Both, however, are trying to catch junior De'Von Flournoy in a competition to become USC's No. 3 receiver.

Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are expected to pile up receptions, yardage and touchdowns as quarterback Matt Barkley's primary targets, but Flournoy is making a serious bid to join the rotation.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Flournoy made several outstanding catches Tuesday, and continues to gain Barkley's trust.

"He's been making plays," Barkley said, "and his speed shows up."

Flournoy's ascent, however, has been anything but fast.

Coach Lane Kiffin stripped him of his No. 1 jersey during the spring of 2010, saying players should have to earn the right to wear a number once worn by All-American receiver Mike Williams.

Kiffin then informed Flournoy that he would redshirt.

Instead of complaining about his plight, Flournoy switched to No. 10 and worked harder in the weight room. He also studied the playbook, learning three receiver spots instead of only one.

"It was my new slate," he said.

Flournoy did not catch a pass in 2011, but with Farmer sidelined because of injuries last spring, he began to assert himself.

"He's fought through a lot kind of being an underdog at first," Barkley said.

Now he will try to hold off the youngsters.

On Monday Kiffin said, "These next two weeks are going to be huge for George Farmer."

Farmer, 6-1, 205 pounds, went through a full practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering a hamstring strain on the first day of training camp.

Farmer fumbled once but also flashed the speed that makes him such a threat for the Trojans.

After being frustrated by injuries, Farmer said he was finally feeling healthy.

"I feel like I'm ready to go," he said.

Meantime, Agholor continues to develop.

Several Trojans players have said that the 6-1, 185-pound Florida native was the most advanced freshman during summer players-only workouts.

Agholor had a solid first week of training camp and continues to impress coaches with his preparation and playbook study.

"Hopefully," Kiffin said this week, "the on-the-field stuff matches it."

Quick hits

USC's home games against Oregon and Notre Dame are sold out, the school announced…. Freshman Max Tuerk continues to work with the first unit at left tackle…. USC practiced at Dedeaux Field, the school's baseball stadium, to preserve the turf at Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field. Asked if the baseball environment reminded him of the 2009 Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park, Barkley said, "We weren't on the dirt so it wasn't as bad. Good old times."…. Kiffin said the deadline for the Trojans' roster to be at 75 scholarship players or less is the first day of school. USC begins classes Aug. 27.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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