USC's Steve Sarkisian will meet with draft-eligible juniors

Written By kolimtiga on Senin, 01 Desember 2014 | 12.56

Steve Sarkisian on Monday will celebrate the one-year anniversary of his hiring by USC.

He'll spend part of the day speaking with Trojans players who might not be around for Year 2.

Sarkisian said Sunday that he was scheduled to meet with quarterback Cody Kessler and other draft-eligible players as the Trojans await news of their bowl destination.

"That's part of my job — to help educate these guys," Sarkisian said during a teleconference with reporters.

Kessler, who passed for six touchdowns in Saturday's 49-14 victory over Notre Dame, will almost certainly return for a senior season that would begin with him in the Heisman Trophy discussion.

Kessler passed for 36 touchdowns, with only four interceptions, for a team that finished the regular season with an 8-4 record.

Sarkisian said he felt "bad" that the Trojans lost to Arizona State on the final play and to Utah in the final seconds, "because if we didn't, then everybody's talking about voting for Cody Kessler for the Heisman Trophy."

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is regarded as a front-runner for Pac-12 Conference offensive player of the year and the Heisman.

Leonard Williams is regarded as the most likely USC junior to make himself available for the NFL draft. The defensive lineman has been projected as a possible No. 1 pick.

Tailback Javorius Allen and receiver Nelson Agholor also could decide to forego their final seasons of eligibility. Players have until mid-January to decide whether to make themselves available for the draft.

After the 2013 season, five players with eligibility remaining made themselves available for the draft.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected receiver Marqise Lee in the second round, and the San Francisco 49ers chose offensive lineman Marcus Martin in the third.

But safety Dion Bailey, tight end Xavier Grimble and defensive lineman George Uko were not drafted.

Bowl projections

Though their bowl destination will not be announced until Sunday, the Trojans might begin practicing later this week.

Jerry Palm of has predicted that USC will play Rutgers in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 30 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

The Holiday Bowl also is interested in the Trojans, who have never played in that game. Palm predicts UCLA will play in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska on Dec. 27 at Qualcomm Stadium.

After their rout of Notre Dame, several USC players did not voice a preference for any particular bowl.

"I'll go anywhere," senior tight end Randall Telfer said.

Even back to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, where USC lost to Georgia Tech in 2012?

"We didn't have the best time there," Telfer said. "But to be honest, we could go to the Sun Bowl and I'm pretty sure we could put our best foot forward and prepare as a team."

Junior defensive tackle Antwaun Woods said the destination did not matter.

"I just care about who we are playing," he said.

Farmer emerges

Receiver George Farmer, who is a draft-eligible, finally got an opportunity to use his straight-ahead speed against Notre Dame, and he beat defensive backs for touchdown pass plays of 48 and 31 yards.

Why did it take so long for Farmer to emerge?

Sarkisian cited a hamstring injury that slowed Farmer for part of the season and two other factors.

"His comfort level in the scheme and understanding what we're doing has definitely evolved," Sarkisian said. "The comfort level of the quarterback believing in him has really emerged.

"So all of these things have come into play where George has really good football the last three or four weeks."

Quick hits

Cornerback Adoree' Jackson, who suffered concussive symptoms during the Notre Dame game, will be monitored as the Trojans prepare for their bowl game, Sarkisian said…. Sarkisian on the Trojans' 8-4 record: "It's easy to look at the win-loss record and say 'That's who you are,' which is fine. I understand that. Ultimately that is who we are. But I look at the silver lining of a lot of things and there's a lot of things in these tight games that we're going to learn from, that we're going to be better for moving forward."

Correspondent Lindsey Thiry contributed to this report.

Twitter: @latimesklein

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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