LOS ANGELES — Nelson Agholor puts it right out there on his Twitter, allowing the world a close look at his personality and integrity.
“To whom much is given much is expected,” his profile reads.
That must not mean attention, because playing opposite Marqise Lee — and behind Lee and now-Buffalo Bill Robert Woods last season as a freshman — Agholor has been a ghost.
Both to USC quarterbacks and to the college football community, which all but forgot about him after a pedestrian start, even after a nine-catch, three-touchdown, 250-yard performance in the Trojans’ final intrasquad scrimmage.
Through five games, Agholor was held to just 11 receptions for 192 yards, far off what was expected out of him entering the year.
“I’m a guy who wants to do what the team needs me to win,” Agholor said. “That means catch three passes, seven passes, doesn’t matter.”
He is a ghost no more, though.
Agholor had seven receptions for 161 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown, as he stepped up into the forefront with Lee sidelined with a knee injury against Arizona on Thursday night. USC prevailed 38-31.
“Guys down, Nelson and Victor (Blackwell) had to come in and play big,” USC quarterback Cody Kessler said. “We were down to two scholarship receivers and we were still near 300 yards passing. It was awesome to have them.”
Kessler should know — Agholor isn’t exactly a ghost to him.
How can a roommate be a ghost?
Kessler and Agholor live together with offensive lineman Max Tuerk – “Man, we have some good food together,” Tuerk said – and the relationship paid dividends on Thursday.
“Nelson is a great player,” Kessler said. “I love the kid — I live with him — and we have that uniqueness where we know each other are going to be on the same page.
“From going in the summer and throwing together, I have all the faith in the world in him. He came out and performed so well tonight.”
It started with the big deep ball.
Kessler found Agholor open with a long pass just 2 minutes 39 seconds into the game, setting the stage for a big night.
I thought it was a great ball by Cody,” Agholor said. “Coaches made a great call – we ran a run play before that showed how the safeties were playing. It was a great play call.”
Now the plan is to have a few more.
Lee’s status going forward is still in doubt, and Agholor — a 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound product of Tampa, Fla. — must make his presence known.
He started with the catch, and he ended the night by sprinting to the USC fans who screamed at Kessler and him, shouting their praise.
Agholor screamed back, “We need you! We need you!”
On Thursday, USC needed him.
“Everybody that was in the receiving corps that was still up knew that they had an opportunity today to make plays to help us win,” Agholor said. “And that’s what we did.”