Cody Kessler's spring at USC have usually consisted of some type of quarterback competition either in a backup role or to be the team's starter. This spring, that wasn't the case. Kessler finished the 2015 spring with all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds a USC returning starter at the position. There was Heisman talk and even star treatment during the spring game in which he only attempted 10 passes and spent most of the afternoon as a spectator watching his backup, Max Browne, lead the offense. While Kessler's status at quarterback isn't in doubt, there are other position groups that aren't so certain. Here are the top position battles for USC heading into fall camp. -- RAHSHAUN HAYLOCK
The most troubling position group heading into fall camp for the entire team is at tight end. The depth chart at the end of spring had Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (pictured) as the starter. However, in practices, it was walk-on Connor Spears who received the bulk of the reps with the first team. Bryce Dixon did not participate in spring drills and his status with the team remains in question. In the fall, freshman Tyler Petite will enter the fold along with graduate transfer Taylor McNamara from Oklahoma. Cope-Fitzpatrick, Spears, and McNamara have seven career catches between them.
After a position change Chris Hawkins has emerged as a viable candidate to start in the fall. There were three players vying for two spots in the spring -- Hawkins, John Plattenburg (pictured), and Leon McQuay III. Hawkins and Plattenburg have seemed to rise to the top but McQuay III may not be too far behind. Once fall camp opens freshmen Marvell Tell III and Ykili Ross will get a shot as well.
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On the defensive side of the ball, the biggest concern is the defensive line. Aside from Antwaun Woods (pictured), who didn't participate in spring drills after season ending chest surgery in 2014, there are plenty of question marks. Delvon Simmons is the favorite at defensive tackle after making 11 starts last season. Kenny Bigelow should return to full strength following knee surgery which kept him out all of last season to provide some relief. Freshman Rasheem Green could make some noise for a spot in the rotation. Claude Pelon is the favorite at defensive end entering camp. The senior made three starts for the Trojans last season. Greg Townsend Jr., who missed all of spring with a foot injury, will be a part of the rotation.
If you ask linebacker Su'a Cravens, he'll tell you Kevon Seymour was the MVP of the USC's defense this spring. Seymour entered spring with a new haircut and a new attitude. Adoree' Jackson (pictured) has one cornerback spot locked down. USC fans are excited about the idea of having Jackson lined up on one side and incoming freshman Iman Marshall lined up on the other. The question is, how long will it take for that to become a reality?
If the spring game was any indication, a corner could have been turned in the USC kicking competition to replace Andre Heidari (pictured) in the fall. Both Matt Boermeester and Alex Wood connected on each of their field goal attempts. They were a combined 4-for-4 in the spring game. Each also made a kick from 50-plus yards away. Boermeester's 52-yarder inside the Coliseum was the longest of the day. The success, however, came as somewhat of a surprise. The kicking game was inconsistent in the spring. Boermeester is incredibly raw having just one season of kicking under his belt. Wood, on the other hand, has yet to attempt a field goal in his USC career.