USC special teams getting much needed reinforcements next year

With the reduction of scholarships because of NCAA sanctions impending, the Trojans are looking to maintain an edge on the football field by upgrading the special teams unit.

When Lane Kiffin lured special teams coach John Baxter away from Fresno State after 13 years of coaching, it marked USC’s newfound emphasis on a portion of the game that Pete Carroll’s staff often relegated to walk-ons and transfers.

With seniors Joe Houston and Jacob Harfman — who handle field goals and punts respectively — graduating in the spring it was important for the Trojans to look to improve their special teams unit. Houston is 6 for 12 on field goal attempts and Harfman is averaging 42.5 yards per punt.

Kiffin has addressed this issue by snaring commitments from top-ranked kicker Andre Heidari, highly-rated punter Kris Albarado and long-snapper Peter McBride. Heidari, who is rated as the top kicker in the nation by both ESPN and Rivals, is handling kickoffs for Stockdale High in Bakersfield while Albarado is averaging 47.6 yards per punt in Lake Charles, LA.

All three recruits look to make an immediate impact as freshmen.