USC WR Drake London is rock-steady star on team in turmoil

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Drake London has been the nation’s most effective receiver in the very first month of the faculty soccer period, which indicates the Southern California star is finding hit a whole large amount extra than the average wideout.

But there’s practically nothing common about London, the 6-foot-5 former Trojans basketball player whose sole concentration on soccer this drop has propelled him to this monster start.

London is just not nervous about all of those hits he is using. In point, he doesn’t believe he is the one particular who must be apprehensive.

“Honestly, it is not necessarily punishment to me,” London mentioned. “I feel it is punishment to them. I really feel like when any individual tries to hit me, I want to make them truly feel me, and up coming time feel about if they want to hit me or not. That’s my full mentality.”

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London has a physical, profitable mentality on a .500 group in turmoil. He has presently racked up 39 catches for 540 yards — both of those tops in the Soccer Bowl Subdivision — although scoring three TDs for the Trojans (2-2, 1-2 Pac-12), who head to Colorado on Saturday for the next stop on their roller coaster ride of a year.

London has been a product of regularity and manufacturing amidst the chaos of USC’s period. Regardless of whether catching passes from Kedon Slovis or Jaxson Dart, London is acquiring methods to get open and to retain the Trojans’ offense moving despite inconsistency from practically each and every other placement.

London’s athleticism promptly stands out in every Trojans match. He avoids tacklers with a nimble spin shift he’s broken out at minimum a dozen occasions currently this time, and he has a distinctive gain on bounce balls that comes from a really clear supply.

When requested about his match system for these 50-50 balls, London suggests: “Just dunk on ’em. That’s really considerably it. Kedon puts the ball up in the air, and I’ll try out to dunk on ’em and use that basketball background to my edge.”

Interim head coach Donte Williams was the Trojans’ cornerbacks mentor two months ago, so he has long gone from instructing defenders on ways to end London to relying greatly on the gifted go-catcher to carry USC ahead in this time of transition.

“He’s a beast,” Williams mentioned. “I have mentioned that from Working day One, prior to the year begun. I said, ‘That’s the Biletnikoff winner.’ Nothing at all is surprising me that he’s undertaking. I anticipate it.”

USC has not experienced a Biletnikoff Award winner due to the fact 2012, when Marqise Lee racked up 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns with coach Lane Kiffin and quarterback Matt Barkley targeting him early and usually.

London is acquiring equivalent awareness from offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and Slovis this season, and he’s capitalizing.

“I imagine he’s usually been tremendous proficient,” Slovis mentioned. “He’s in all probability a minimal little bit superior as time progresses, but I assume people today are just commencing to see much more. Possibly not enjoying basketball has assisted with that. I keep in mind my freshman year, everybody was chatting about (Michael Pittman Jr., Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns), but we realized how specific Drake was from the starting.”

The Trojans utilized London as a slot receiver in his initial two seasons in Harrell’s strategies while USC’s showcased receivers were Pittman, who’s acquiring a stable second season for the Indianapolis Colts, and St. Brown, now a rookie for the Detroit Lions.

London is now on the outdoors, exactly where he will get guidance and mentorship from receivers mentor Keary Colbert, a star wideout two a long time in the past on some of Pete Carroll’s very best USC teams. Colbert and London the two grew up in Los Angeles’ much-flung northwest suburbs: Colbert in Oxnard and London about 30 miles absent in Moorpark.

“We’re heading to test to complete it the proper way,” Colbert stated. “I assume he’s concentrated on doing regardless of what he can to support our team, and he’s finished a good deal to enable. We’ll incorporate it up at the stop and see where it falls, but he’s functioning really hard every single working day.”

As to irrespective of whether the Trojans are leaning on London way too a great deal to salvage their tumultuous period, London called it “a extensive receiver’s desire to be specific like that.”

“I really don’t think it is ever a worry to depend on a good player too considerably,” Williams included. “Did the Lakers rely on the guys they experienced too much, or did the Bulls depend on Jordan way too a great deal? That’s what you do if you want to win game titles.”