USC veteran linemen see bright future for OT Mason Murphy

Last summer, when USC first split into separate weightlifting sessions, Justin Dedich made a request. The redshirted senior and future captain wanted to move into the same group as redshirted rookie Mason Murphy.

Dedich had seen something special in the young offensive tackle, and he wasn’t alone in USC’s veteran offensive line group. Several months later, when Murphy made his first start as a USC right tackle on Saturday against Arizona, Dedich and redshirt junior lineman Jonah Monheim both called Murphy “the most talented player ever.” “of the Trojans in front.

“This kid has a lot ahead of him,” Dedich said, “and he’s working to get it.”

“There’s no doubt,” Monheim added, “he’s such a talented kid.”

This talent took time to develop. Not to mention the “tough love” of veteran USC linemen, each of whom seems set on taking Murphy under their wing.

From those summer sessions, they made it a point to hold the young tackle accountable.

“Didish and [center] Brett [Neilon] and Jonah and all these guys have been on top of him, and they pushed him and they set a good example for him,” USC coach Lincoln Riley said. “And I give credit to Mason, he is followed. We were tough on him. He has real talent, he really has a chance to be a good player, but he has to grow and mature and really move forward.

That development really accelerated this summer, with Murphy healed from a broken foot – and fellow linemen watching his progress closely.

“We were all trying to ride him every day to do the right things, to take every day at a time and prove [it] every day,” Monheim said. “Because he’s a super talented guy. If he does the right thing day in and day out, the sky’s the limit for him.

Few seem to recognize that talent on the recruiting track, where Murphy was a three-star prospect and the 48th-ranked offensive tackle in the nation, according to 247 Sports. Two years later, he’s the centerpiece of USC’s future plans along the offensive line, where the Trojans are expected to experience significant turnover this offseason. Neilon, left tackle Bobby Haskins and left guard Andrew Vorhees will graduate, while Dedich has a final year of eligibility to use but could also declare for the draft.

USC got a brief glimpse of his future at the job last Saturday when Vorhees was held off with an injury. As Dedich tipped to the left side and Monheim moved inside, Murphy stepped in at right tackle.

Each of USC’s linemen was brimming with confidence before the redshirt rookie’s first start.

“We knew he was ready,” Monheim said. “[My advice was] go ahead and do not hesitate. You’re good enough, you’ve prepared pretty well. Let it fly, let it rip. We support him no matter what. That’s what I told him. I think he did that.

Injury progression?

After four starters sat out the win over Arizona, Riley said his “hunch” was that a few of USC’s injured players could return Saturday against California.

Among this group of injured are several key contributors essential to the Trojan stretch race. Wideouts Jordan Addison and Mario Williams, linebacker Eric Gentry and Vorhees were involved in practice Tuesday to some extent, Riley said.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who will be close for the game,” Riley said. “My gut feeling is that we’ll probably end up getting some back, maybe not all of them. But really nice progression. I don’t think I would definitely say anyone is for sure, I’m definitely not able to say that someone is definitely absent right now.