Spring Ball Central Created by Gerard Martinez | USCFootball.com
This is a peek into the top-10 players making an impact after the first quarter of spring football 2008. Each and every player participating on a regular basis during spring practice is eligible to make this list. Please note that the rankings do not directly reflect the opinions of the USC football coaching staff.
Joe McKnight has jumped up to the top spot on the Hot Board because of consistent big plays. While he's broken long touchdown runs in each full pad session, McKnight also had a dazzling kick return for a touchdown Sunday. While most notably names take a backseat during spring ball, McKnight continues to shine. At this point, the staff feels they can use McKnight as a running and receiving threat.
A part of the same recruiting class as Rey Mauluga, Brian Cushing and Kaluka Maiava, Brown has been the odd man out because of injuries and bad film habits. Finishing up 2007 with some crucial minutes in big games, the light bulb may have just gone off for the former four-star phenom. Brown has played all three linebacker positions this spring, moonlighting at weakside for Maiava. However, as he continues to make plays - such as his diving pass deflection in the endzone Sunday - Brown will continue to garner valuable playing time this year.
While the Trojans' passing game got off to a slow start this spring, Sunday's scrimmage got the offense on track in a hurry. Johnson caught two huge touchdowns on deep balls - a rarity in these scrimmages. But Johnson isn't just about speed. Watching him develop his skills as a receiver, there are few players as motivated to improve as Johnson. He truly works at becoming a better player each practice, and that not helps himself, but his quarterbacks as well.