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USC's Nelson Agholor looks ready to fill Robert Woods' shoes

The sophomore receiver is making good catches, displaying speed and impressing with his demeanor and leadership.

March 08, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • USC receiver Nelson Agholor gets into the end zone despite the effort of UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks during the annual rivalry game last fall at the Rose Bowl.
USC receiver Nelson Agholor gets into the end zone despite the effort of… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Robert Woods' departure for the NFL draft left USC with a major hole at the receiver spot opposite Marqise Lee.

On Thursday, Nelson Agholor continued to show that he is ready to step in.

The sophomore from Florida once again caught multiple passes in traffic and displayed consistent breakaway speed during the Trojans' second spring workout.

As the No. 3 receiver last season, Agholor caught 19 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns.

Now, he is a veteran showing younger players the way.

Receiver Darreus Rogers and running back Justin Davis are among the freshmen who have impressed in the first few workouts.

"I'm just doing what Robert and Marqise did for me," Agholor said. "If I'm playing with confidence and with a sense of urgency and just come out here to get better, those guys will see it."

Quarterback Cody Kessler described Agholor as "a grinder" with a demeanor that differs from other wideouts.

"Sometimes, other receivers, you miss a throw and they get mad and get on you," Kessler said. "He's one of those guys, you miss a throw, he'll come over and slap you on the butt and be like, 'Come on. We'll get the next one.

"His character really shows on the field."

Tuerk at center

Sophomore Max Tuerk, who started the last five regular-season games at left tackle in 2012, is playing center this spring.

At a listed height of 6 feet 6 inches, the former Rancho Santa Margarita High standout is tall for the position. But Coach Lane Kiffin sees a long-term upside.

"He's ideal to be in there as far as intelligence level and his understanding of the game and command of the game," Kiffin said, "so hopefully it will work out."

Quick hits

The NCAA announced Thursday that it would review several proposals adopted in January that would have deregulated aspects of recruiting, including allowing for larger staffs. Kiffin said USC had held off on adding staff members but anticipated doing so if the proposals are approved. "Like anything, we're always going to want to stay up at the top of it and not let somebody else have an advantage," he said…. USC, which conducted morning practices the last two seasons, is working out in the afternoon this spring, and Kiffin said he was leaning toward a return to doing the same in the fall. Kiffin said players' academic performance in fall 2010 was better than during the last two seasons. Players also had spoken of being fatigued by the time they got to classes after morning practices, he said…. Kiffin said quarterbacks coach Clay Helton, who was promoted to offensive coordinator last month, "had a couple of really big-time offers to leave last year to be offensive coordinator at some national top-five schools" but decided to remain at USC out of loyalty to Matt Barkley.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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