Drake London has been the nation’s most efficient receiver within the first month of the faculty soccer season, which suggests the Southern California star is getting hit a complete lot greater than the typical wideout.
However there’s nothing common about London, the 6-foot-5 former Trojans basketball participant whose sole focus on soccer this fall has propelled him to this monster begin.
London is not frightened about all of these hits he is taking. In truth, he does not assume he is the one who must be frightened.
“Truthfully, it isn’t essentially punishment to me,” London stated. “I feel it’s punishment to them. I really feel like when any individual tries to hit me, I need to make them really feel me, and subsequent time take into consideration in the event that they need to hit me or not. That’s my entire mentality.”
London has a bodily, profitable mentality on a .500 workforce in turmoil. He has already racked up 39 catches for 540 yards — each tops within the Soccer Bowl Subdivision — whereas scoring three TDs for the Trojans (2-2, 1-2 Pac-12), who head to Colorado on Saturday for the subsequent cease on their curler coaster experience of a season.
London has been a mannequin of consistency and manufacturing amidst the chaos of USC’s season. Whether or not catching passes from Kedon Slovis or Jaxson Dart, London is discovering methods to get open and to maintain the Trojans’ offense shifting regardless of inconsistency from virtually each different place.
London’s athleticism instantly stands out in each Trojans recreation. He avoids tacklers with a nimble spin transfer he’s damaged out no less than a dozen instances already this season, and he has a definite benefit on leap balls that comes from a really apparent supply.
When requested about his recreation plan for these 50-50 balls, London says: “Simply dunk on ’em. That’s just about it. Kedon places the ball up within the air, and I’ll attempt to dunk on ’em and use that basketball background to my benefit.”
Interim head coach Donte Williams was the Trojans’ cornerbacks coach two weeks in the past, so he has gone from instructing defenders on methods to cease London to relying closely on the gifted pass-catcher to hold USC ahead on this season of transition.
“He’s a beast,” Williams stated. “I’ve stated that from Day One, earlier than the season began. I stated, ‘That’s the Biletnikoff winner.’ Nothing is surprising me that he’s doing. I count on it.”
USC hasn’t had a Biletnikoff Award winner since 2012, when Marqise Lee racked up 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns with coach Lane Kiffin and quarterback Matt Barkley focusing on him early and infrequently.
London is getting comparable consideration from offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and Slovis this season, and he is capitalizing.
“I feel he’s at all times been tremendous proficient,” Slovis stated. “He’s in all probability a little bit bit higher as time progresses, however I feel individuals are simply beginning to discover extra. Perhaps not taking part in basketball has helped with that. I bear in mind my freshman yr, all people was speaking about (Michael Pittman Jr., Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns), however we knew how particular Drake was from the start.”
The Trojans used London as a slot receiver in his first two seasons in Harrell’s schemes whereas USC’s featured receivers have been Pittman, who’s having a stable second season for the Indianapolis Colts, and St. Brown, now a rookie for the Detroit Lions.
London is now on the skin, the place he will get steerage and mentorship from receivers coach Keary Colbert, a star wideout twenty years in the past on a few of Pete Carroll’s greatest USC groups. Colbert and London each grew up in Los Angeles’ far-flung northwest suburbs: Colbert in Oxnard and London about 30 miles away in Moorpark.
“We’re going to attempt to end it the proper method,” Colbert stated. “I feel he’s centered on doing no matter he can to assist our workforce, and he’s achieved quite a bit to assist. We’ll add it up on the finish and see the place it falls, however he’s working onerous every single day.”
As as to if the Trojans are leaning on London an excessive amount of to salvage their tumultuous season, London known as it “a large receiver’s dream to be focused like that.”
“I don’t assume it’s ever a fear to depend on a fantastic participant an excessive amount of,” Williams added. “Did the Lakers depend on the fellows that they had an excessive amount of, or did the Bulls depend on Jordan an excessive amount of? That’s what you do if you wish to win video games.”