Editor’s note: The rankings are those of our college expert, Lance Ringler, as he looked ahead to the collegiate preseason. The official Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings won’t be available until a couple of the weeks into the fall season. Our staff of Andy Zunz, Cassie Stein and Brentley Romine are writing the individual profiles of the teams.
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12. USC Trojans
Preseason rank: 12
Final 2013-14 Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 25
2013-14 in review: USC notched a victory last spring at the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic. Pac-12 freshman of the year Rico Hoey led the team with a 71.36 stroke average and 5 top-10 finishes in his last seven starts. The team finished 30th at NCAAs.
Notable departures: Jeffrey Kang
Key returnees: Sophomore Rico Hoey
Newcomers of note: Freshman Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira
Circled on the fall calendar: Swoosh Invitational, Oct. 6-7; Gifford Collegiate Championship, Nov. 3-5
Fall outlook: Hoey, who earned All-American honors last season, is going to be key players for the Trojans this year, but the team’s incoming freshman should be some players to lookout for on a national level. Crocker was a quarterfinalist at this year’s U.S. Junior Amateur before falling to the eventual champion, while Texeira has been a strong player out of Southern California for many years now. Senior Anthony Paolucci will take off the fall semester to play European and Web.com Tour Q-Schools. It depends on how he finishes in at Q-School, but it’s a possibility he may return to USC in the spring.
Coach’s perspective: “I think we have a chance to be really good, or possibly great. It depends on how our incoming freshmen do coming in and how fast they get their feet under them. I would think with those freshmen, they have a good chance to crack the lineup right off the bat, and not just crack the lineup, but help us win tournaments. We will know a lot about this team when November comes around.” – head coach Chris Zambri