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Returning Advantage

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Coming off a 10-win campaign, USC leads the Pac-12 in returning starters for the 2014 season. The Trojans boast 18 returning starters (eight offense, eight defense, two special teams), leading the conference which averages 15 returners per team.

Colorado and UCLA are both returning 17 starters while South division champion Arizona State returns just 10. Eight 2013 All Pac-12 First Team players will return to the field this year, including Trojan defensive lineman Leonard Williams and fullback Soma Vainuku (awarded All-Pac-12 for special teams).

While the Trojans will feel the loss of playmakers Marqise Lee, Silas Redd, Devon Kennard and other NFL departures, the national spotlight has shifted to returning starters poised to make an impact. Junior wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who like Williams is an Athlon Sports Preseason All-American, redshirt junior quarterback Cody Kessler, and junior running backs Javorius Allen and Tre Madden are expected to headline an electric Trojan offense. On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker Hayes Pullard, sophomore defensive back Su'a Cravens, and senior defensive back Josh Shaw are among the talented returning core of the Trojan defense. 

(Returning starters chart photo credit to ESPN.com)

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