USC's first fall camp under Lincoln Riley officially wrapped Saturday morning. Just two weeks remain until a new era of Trojans football begins against Rice.
So let's empty the notebook on USC's training camp.
Consensus camp star
There were a multitude of doubts about USC's defense coming into camp, most of them warranted. The only certainty among that group all summer seemed to be that Tuli Tuipulotu was on the brink of becoming a star.
His ascent has played out as planned thus far. Ask any USC coaches or players who stood out most on defense, and you'll get the same answer. Tuipulotu, they suggest, has been an absolute game-wrecker.
"All he does is lead from the front. All he does is play hard," USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said. "Without question, he's been one of our standouts."
How exactly Grinch plans to deploy the Trojans' destructive defensive end is still unclear, but as injuries depleted the defensive front in camp, Grinch responded by moving Tuipulotu all over the line. He even tried his hand at standing up as an outside rush end.
Wherever Tuipulotu lines up, the consensus from camp is that he'll make a major impact.
Eric Gentry makes big impression
It's impossible to miss Eric Gentry. At 6-foot-6, standing in the middle of USC's defense, the transfer linebacker from Arizona State towers over the front with uncommon length for the position.
"When he first came in I was like, 'Who the hell is this tall dude?" Tuipulotu joked this week.
Gentry's length isn't the only part of his game that's stood out to coaches. Inside linebackers coach Brian Odom commented recently how quickly Gentry has picked up the defense. During USC's scrimmage, he was in the right place at the right time to snag an interception.
"Very impressed with Eric," Grinch added. "You can tell he's played football at our level. The difference between freshman year and sophomore year, there's no bigger difference."
Considering Gentry's first year ended with freshman All-American status, that's an encouraging sign. It doesn't, however, assure him of the starting inside linebacker spot. While Gentry undoubtedly has the higher upside, senior Ralen Goforth has the edge in experience.
USC could choose to trot out Goforth alongside surefire starter Shane Lee to begin the season. But it seems only a matter of time before Gentry steps into that role.
The Wright stuff?
USC's second corner spot remains one of its most intriguing battles ahead of the season, and by no means has that battle been settled. But reading the tea leaves, it's impossible to ignore how much we've heard Ceyair Wright's name come up.
The redshirt freshman — and budding actor — was raw when he arrived at USC as a four-star prospect last season. He got more screen time in the new "Space Jam" movie last summer than he did on the field for USC in the fall.
That won't be the case this season. Wright continues to be placed opposite Mekhi Blackmon on USC's first-team defense during the open portion of practice, while Riley and others have heaped praise on his development.
Asked Saturday who improved his stock most through camp, Riley didn't hesitate to bring up Wright again.
Does that make him the favorite for the corner spot? Hard to say. Washington transfer Jacobe Covington and sophomore Prophet Brown appeared to have a more clear path to that role at the start of camp, and although Brown intercepted a pass in last weekend's scrimmage, we haven't heard much about Covington. Five-star freshman cornerback Domani Jackson, meanwhile, missed the last week of camp with an undisclosed injury.
O-line is nearly set
Little has changed with USC's starting offensive line since the spring. Andrew Vorhees, Brett Neilon and Justin Dedich have remained locked in on the interior, while Jonah Monheim has continued to man the right tackle spot.
Riley essentially confirmed on Saturday that those four have earned their spots. The only question mark comes at left tackle, where Courtland Ford and Bobby Haskins are continuing to compete into next week.
"Right now we think both Courtland and Bobby are good enough," Riley said. "I'm sure they'll both have a role."
Haskins has been behind Ford all camp, but don't be surprised if he climbs to the top rung of the depth chart over the next week.
Tuipulotu thought he had freshman running back Raleek Brown within his reach during last weekend's scrimmage. Then, Brown turned on the jets and blew past the Trojans star defender.
"Raleek is fast," Tuipulotu said.
That seems to be the consensus on the Trojans' all-purpose freshman playmaker. Of all the first-year players in camp, Brown seems most assured of a role this fall.
His speed isn't the only trait that's been on display, either.
"Raleek has some really good hands," running backs coach Kiel McDonald said. "His ball skills are considered ahead of schedule, for sure. He's a joy to have."
Depth with De'jon?
Behind Tuipulotu, who has been sensational, and redshirt senior Nick Figueroa, who's as steady as they come, there's not exactly an abundance of proven depth along USC's defensive front. That's defensive line coach Shaun Nua's biggest concern and could be a problem into the season if injuries hit the group.
But one reserve defensive lineman seems to have made enough of an impression to earn trust in that rotation.
De'jon Benton played only a bit part on USC's defense the last three seasons. Still, Nua believes in his potential in the Trojans' new scheme.
"He was made for this defense," Nua said. "He fits what we do perfectly."
Lake making waves
A foot injury will sideline expected starter Jude Wolfe for at least half the season, leaving USC with a gaping hole at H-back, a position that's been crucial to past iterations of Riley's offense.
Into that void steps Lake McRee, a redshirt freshman who came on strong at the end of last season.
Riley has used many different types of H-backs over the years — and found success with pretty much every kind. McRee, assuming he holds onto the job, will presumably be more of a flex receiving threat. The only other healthy scholarship tight end in camp is senior Malcolm Epps, who's likely to play more of a traditional, inline tight end role.