Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor
From the time he was young, freshman George Farmer has always had a unique affinity for the flight of birds. While he hopes to one day pursue his own path in the field of commercial aviation, for now, the No.1 ranked wide receiver in the Class of 2011 has settled on spreading his wings on the football field.
If there is such a thing as a complete wideout at the age of 18, Farmer is the closest thing to it. With a bruising body frame (6'2", 205 pounds), freakish leaping ability (1,514 yards and 10 touchdowns during his All-American senior season in 2010) and breakaway speed (ran the 100m dash in a career-best 10.40 seconds in high school) that frankly can't be taught, the former Serra HS standout will not be a home run threat in the Trojans' offense in 2011, he'll be a grand slam.
Yet, despite all the hype and hoopla that has surrounded his leap to Troy over the last year, Farmer possesses something that may pay off more than his on-field attributes, the head on his shoulders. While most highly-decorated athletes would revel in the attention (recruited by LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and just about every Pac-12 school) he received during the recruiting process, the Gardena, CA native remains humble, believing his flight to USC is nothing short of a dream.
"To tell you the truth, I couldn't have imagined this," Farmer said about the opportunity to play for the Trojans. "When I was younger, I use to look at the athletes that played here and thought how good they were and what it would mean to play for a school like USC. Even though I am here now, it still hasn't really sunk in yet that I am a part of it."
While the 15-mile trip up the I-10 freeway from his hometown made USC a logical choice from the beginning, the freshman insists his decision on where to take his talents had less to do with convenience and more to do with what college could provide him the best opportunity to grow both on the field and off it.
"This is a prolific school, where you can get a degree and take it anywhere you want and be set for life," said Farmer, who hopes to study a combination of physics, geography and engineering during his time at USC. "Also, playing under this program is like playing under an NFL program. They train hard in the weight room and work just as hard on the field."
Although it also doesn't hurt that his former Serra teammate Robert Woods found instant success as the Trojans' top receiver in 2010 (65 receptions, 792 yards and six touchdowns), Farmer is quick to brush aside comparisons between the two, because in his mind, both have the potential to become a unified force for the USC offense.
"To be talked about along side Robert says something, because it means people think you are a pretty good football player," said Farmer. "I am okay with being in his shadow, because that's not a bad path to take after the success he had here last year. Together though, our talents will hopefully bring this school more victories and a national championship. "
He may still be green in collegiate experience, but Farmer is already flashing veteran poise when it comes to understanding what it will take for him to help USC soar back atop college football's pantheon of champions.
"It starts with hard work, because success doesn't come naturally," said Farmer. Everyone out there is working, and when you are sitting down someone is out getting better. That's always been sense of motivation for me. I always want to be better than the guy next to me or my opponent. If I can do that, I think I can help this team win games."
(Courtesy of Anthony Watson/ ESPN LA)