Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor
There is plenty to be excited about in the upcoming year of USC football, and with spring ball underway the Trojans are discovering new and improved talent all across the field. Whether new to the roster or finally positioned for a starting role, this year's spring breakouts are ready to make a difference.
Position: Tight End
The Past: In his first two seasons, Cope-Fitzpatrick has only recorded three catches for 16 yards, getting the majority of his playing time for the Trojans on special teams. His lack of activity has not been due to his playing capabilities however, as he has waited in line behind two of the top tight end talents in the conference, Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer. Additionally, the tight end position was not utilized to its full potential in recent seasons. With that being said, Cope-Fitzpatrick said he made the most of his time the past two years learning from both Grimble and Telfer what he describes as a "warrior's mentality".
The Present: With the Spring Game quickly approaching, it's easy to see that the junior tight end made the most of spring workouts. Xavier Grimble is headed to the NFL and redshirt senior Randall Telfer has missed all of spring due to injury which has presented an open stage for Cope-Fitzpatrick to show his play-making ability. Head coach Steve Sarkisian has continually praised Cope-Fitzpatrick over the course of the past six weeks, noting specifically his athleticism and ball skills. At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, he is one of the main Trojans to have taken full advantage of strength coach Ivan Lewis' offseason workouts.
The Future: After two seasons of waiting in the wings, Cope-Fitzpatrick is looking to step up in 2014 as a major contributor for the Trojan offense. The fall is setting up to be the perfect crossroads of preparation and opportunity for the tight end who will have a large platform in Sarkisian's new offense to put his talent on tape. Cope-Fitzpatrick has been dreaming of scoring his first touchdown in the Coliseum and as the new uptempo system aims to utilize tight ends with greater frequency, it seems like that dream will become a reality very soon.
Sark on Cope-Fitzpatrick: "In this system, we love to utilize the tight end. Jalen has really focused himself on trying to come out and have a good spring."
Here is Cope-Fitzpatrick with our Sarah Bergstrom...