Former USC football players begin NFL careers

first_imgChuma Edoga was a full-time starter for two years at USC and appeared in 34 games throughout his college career. Now a Jet, he will reunite with former USC quarterback Sam Darnold in New York. This preseason, Edoga has seen increased action with Darnold and the starting unit due to an injury to starting right tackle Brandon Shell. Edoga’s chemistry with Darnold should help him learn the Jets’ blocking schemes quickly and allow him to communicate effectively throughout his rookie year. Edoga is projected to be a backup offensive tackle and has a chance to see the field this year if the Jets’ offensive line should suffer any injuries. However, he will need to improve his pass protection before becoming a full-time starter in the NFL.  Throughout its history, the Trojans’ storied football program has sent more players to the NFL than all but one other school in the nation. This year, USC has continued to establish itself as a breeding ground for NFL-bound talent, as four Trojans were drafted into the league and one signed as an undrafted free agent. OT Chuma Edoga The leading tackler for USC’s defense in 2018, Cameron Smith was drafted by the Vikings in the fifth round, joining star linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks in Minnesota. Smith is a high-IQ player adept at diagnosing offensive calls and seeking out the ball carrier. His highest tackle total for USC (112) came in 2017, when he played in all 14 games. In his three other seasons as a Trojan, he averaged just over 80 tackles a season. Smith is still battling to make the Vikings’ 53-man roster this year, and it wouldn’t be a shock if he does, but he is unlikely to see significant game action this season.  Round 3, Pick 92 Overall  LB Porter Gustin Former USC cornerback Iman Marshall, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, makes a tackle against Washington State last season. (Tal Volk/Daily Trojan) CB Iman Marshall At USC, Marvell Tell III proved to be a playmaking free safety whose speed could help him make an impact at any level. In his junior year, Tell made 85 tackles and had three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. Indianapolis drafted Tell intending to use him as a safety, but teams were wary about taking him due to his smaller stature, believing him unable to be a consistent tackler. Tell earned a spot in Pro Football Focus’ “Team of the Week” after allowing no receptions on two targets and breaking up one pass in the Colts’ preseason opener. He will continue to be a promising prospect that Indianapolis will hope to develop into a contributing corner in the near future. Iman Marshall was a four-year starter at the cornerback position for USC. As a Trojan, the 6-foot-1 207-pounder was known as a big hitter and never shied away from contact with smaller Pac-12 receivers. In the NFL, he may struggle guarding faster, more disciplined wideouts one-on-one. The Ravens have considered transitioning him to safety, where his physical style and experience as a cornerback should certainly benefit him. Marshall is not projected to have a starting role in Week 1 but will be on the team’s radar throughout the year. Marshall has been sidelined due to injury.  Indianapolis Colts New York Jetscenter_img Minnesota Vikings LB Cameron Smith  CB Marvell Tell III  Round 5, Pick 162 Overall  Round 6, Pick 144 Overall  Undrafted Free Agent Round 4, Pick 127 Overall Baltimore Ravens  New Orleans Saints At USC, Gustin was a dominant outside linebacker with a knack for getting to the quarterback. However, his injury history and a positive test for Adderall (considered a performance-enhancing drug) at the 2019 NFL combine caused his once-promising draft stock to plummet, and Gustin was not selected. The Saints picked him up hoping to convert him from outside linebacker to defensive lineman. Gustin played defensive end in 2016 for the Trojans and picked up 68 total tackles, 5.5 sacks and four deflected passes. He may have to bulk up for the position change; while his 6’4” stature is average for NFL defensive ends, his weight of 260 lbs would put him at a disadvantage against massive offensive linemen. Gustin has seen valuable action throughout the preseason and tallied a sack and tackle in the Saints’ matchup against the Jets. Gustin is unlikely to see much regular season game action this year.last_img read more

Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2 odds, pick, prediction, betting trends & prop bets

first_imgThe encore to arguably the biggest fight of 2019 take place this weekend when Andy Ruiz Jr. defends his IBF, WBA (super) and WBO heavyweight titles against former unified champion Anthony Joshua in their highly anticipated rematch on Saturday, Dec. 7 at ​the Diriyah Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.Here’s a complete betting guide for Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua with updated odds, trends and our prediction to win. Join DAZN to watch Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 & 100+ fight nights a yearAndy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2 oddsFighterOddsAndy Ruiz Jr.+175Anthony Joshua-205Sportsbooks have installed Joshua as a shocking sizable favorite, according to Bet Online. The logical theory is that oddsmakers are looking at the first fight back in June, in which Ruiz scored four knockdowns, including two in the seventh and final round to pull off the upset, as a fluke. Joshua is trending at a -205 favorite, which means you’d need to wager $205 to win $100. The champion is +175, meaning you’d win $175 if you bet $100. After a bit of fluctuation when Joshua initially opened as a -300 favorite, odds for the Englishman went as high as -325 before tumbling to as low as -200. With the fight getting closer, more people started placing money on Joshua and the number rose to -220.The odds of Ruiz retaining his belts, like Joshua, were like a roller coaster; they were initially at plus +250 and went as high as +265. But unlike Joshua, those odds kept dropping, with more people feeling that Ruiz can do what he did six months ago.Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 prop betsHeading into this monstrous clash between two of the best heavyweights in the world, there are three intriguing prop bets you should keep on as the fight inches closer.First, the over/under of total rounds is currently set at 7.5 rounds. Remember, the first fight ended slightly above this number at 1:33 of the seventh round. That’s only three seconds, and this is a heavyweight title fight. The chances of it ending quickly are better than all of the divisions because of the size of the men, and they hit much harder. Another one — and it is quite puzzling — is Ruiz repeating his performance and finishing off Joshua inside the distance, which is coming in at +290. Out of his 33 wins, Ruiz has won 22 of them by knockout. To me, it shows the public is feeling Ruiz is more James “Buster” Douglas than a legitimate, top-tier heavyweight, and with more time to prepare, Joshua will figure it out and get the job done. Lastly, Joshua winning a decision is at +280. Joseph Parker is a common opponent between Joshua and Ruiz. Ruiz suffered the lone loss on his resume to the Kiwi in December 2016, and Joshua gave Parker the first loss of his career, winning by unanimous decision in March 2018 to add the WBO title. The best path to victory for Joshua is what he did in the Parker contest, and that’s fight on the outside, pop the jab, and when you see an opening, then come in with power shots. It isn’t like the 30-year-old suffered a flash KO. From the third round to the time of the stoppage, Ruiz battered Joshua around with his quick hands and better boxing acumen. If he’s gunshy about getting into another slugfest because of what happened in the first bout and wants to make it a boxing match, so be it.Join DAZN to watch Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 & 100+ fight nights a yearThree trends to know1. The last fights for Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) and Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) were against each other, with the 30-year-old from California becoming the first boxer of Mexican descent to become heavyweight champion. 2. The rematch is taking place in Saudi Arabia, at the newly constructed Diriyah Arena. The site was a surprise to many. Joshua had it stipulated in the contract for the sequel that he would determine when and where the rematch would take place.The prevailing thought had been it would take place in Joshua’s home country of England at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, and have the comfort of being at home or because the first battle took place at Madison Square Garden in New York and Joshua would want to right the wrong and exorcise his demons there. However, the script was flipped and the Middle Eastern country was chosen to host the first significant fight the region has ever seen.3. The bout is closer than anyone thinks. People tend to forget how skilled both guys are, only looking at what happened back in June. They only had five weeks to prepare due to Jarrell Miller being pulled after failing a litany of drug tests. Three things to watch1. The biggest thing heading into the fight that fans are wondering about is Ruiz’s physique and if it will help him. Pictures and videos of him appear to show he lost weight. That’s something Ruiz emphasized coming in, as he wanted to shed around 14 pounds to help with his cardio after he weighed 268 pounds for the first tilt. Watching him at his open workout on Tuesday, Ruiz succeeded at his goal. But will it equate to a better performance in the ring?2. Another significant factor to watch out for is how Joshua approaches the rematch. After the loss, Joshua was in hiding for almost a week, thinking about what happened and what went wrong. During fight week and the duration of the battle in the ring, Joshua appeared to be too relaxed and acted like he was taking a stroll at the park without a worry in the world. Now, his career is on the line. Supreme focus is of the utmost importance. The smiling and nonchalant attitude needs to be out the window and can come back when the bout concludes. If not, it will be a more tranquil night for Ruiz, and the end of Joshua as a legitimate heavyweight is out the window.3. While the location of the fight in Saudi Arabia has been a topic of conversation among the public, how it affects Ruiz and Joshua is unknown. Both arrived in ample time to get themselves acclimated to the time zone and the conditions. The temperature is expected to be in the high 50s by the time they make their walk to the ring at 3:45 p.m. ET. You truly won’t know how it plays a factor until after first round ends. You will get to see how they are moving and their body language. Athletes handle fighting in new places differently. Look at how Joshua fought in the U.S. for the first time. What was the end result? For Joshua’s sake, he better have learned to go about everything differently.This is Ruiz’s first time fighting outside the U.S. How does he handle the pressure of now being the heavyweight champion and making his first title defense in a foreign country? Will he be comfortable in a new environment.Join DAZN to watch Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 & 100+ fight nights a yearRuiz vs. Joshua predictionContrary to the odds, this is a hard fight to pick a winner. Logic would lean toward Joshua because he did take the initial bout on five weeks’ notice while Ruiz was coming right off a fight and didn’t take any time off in between to put on a fantastic performance and pull off the monumental upset.Did Joshua work on his game enough to fix the flaws? If he did, it will be an easy night at the office. You don’t win an Olympic gold medal if you lack intelligence and the willingness to adapt to get better at your craft. I feel Joshua is going to play it safe by flicking the jab on the outside and making it a boxing match for 12 rounds. Why get into another firefight when it didn’t work out so well the first time?Ruiz has a great chance of winning. With the weight loss, that will give him better cardio and better movement in the ring that should help him if the fight heads into the later rounds. Combine those factors with his quick hands and we could easily see the same result.Playing it safe isn’t always the sexiest route to go, but showing the world you are more than a slugger will enhance Joshua’s arsenal in the future, gain his confidence, and most importantly, recapture three heavyweight title belts.  The fight will have its moments of excitement, but it’s going to go the distance and Joshua will get his titles back. Trilogy fight anyone?SN pick: Anthony JoshuaBest wager: Fight goes the distance (Bet Online, +250)last_img read more

Conte sticks to League Cup youth policy

first_imgChelsea’s Boss Antonio ConteLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte says he will give his young players another chance to shine in Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final at home to Bournemouth.Conte fielded weakened teams in the earlier rounds against Nottingham Forest and Everton and although the semi-finals are now in sight, he is not planning to change his approach.“Every competition is serious. I think our task is to try to win the game, to try to reach the semi-final,” Conte told Tuesday’s pre-match press conference.“At the same time it’s right in this competition to give the opportunity to the players not playing regularly.“For the players that are struggling to find the best form after injuries; (Danny) Drinkwater, for example.“I have to trust my players. Not only with words, but with facts, to show I trust my players and I want to give them a big opportunity in a big game to show me they deserve to play.”With wing-back Marcos Alonso suspended after accumulating five yellow cards, Brazilian Kenedy is set to get a rare first-team start on the left flank.Back-up striker Michy Batshuayi and midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who has recovered from illness, could both be named in the starting XI.Wales international Ethan Ampadu, 17, could start and fellow teenagers Callum Hudson-Odoi and Dujon Sterling are also in contention. David Luiz remains sidelined with a knee injury, but the form of Andreas Christensen means the Brazil centre-back has not been missed.Christensen, 21, has usurped Luiz as Conte’s preferred pick in the centre of his three-man defence and the Italian says the Denmark international is an example to Chelsea’s fringe players.“I hope to have this type of problem,” Conte told journalists at Chelsea’s Cobham training base southwest of London.“Before taking a decision for the starting XI, if a player plays or not, the last part of the body that I look (at) is the head.“You ask me: ‘Why don’t Chelsea play young players?’ I put a young player (in) now. If you deserve to play, you play.“Don’t forget Christensen is playing, only 21 years old. He’s showing he deserves to play. I think this guy has fantastic prospects for the present, for the future.”Conte would not be drawn on newspaper reports linking Luiz with a move away from Stamford Bridge.“I don’t read,” said the Chelsea manager. “I solve the problem.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more