Over time, SEC football has produced top-tier TE talent with the likes of Kyle Pitts (Florida), Brock Bowers (Georgia), Thaddeus Moss (LSU), O.J. Howard (Alabama) and many more! Entering this 2022 season, Lane Kiffin landed a physical, athletically-gifted specimen at the TE position in the transfer portal.
Introducing USC transfer Michael Trigg – a big, smooth TE who presents a mismatch for any defender on the field. Trigg came in a package deal with his QB from USC, Jaxon Dart, and is poised to have a breakout season this year. This season, Kiffin has big plans for his Ole Miss squad, especially with Trigg inserted in the offense. But is it enough to compete with powerhouse opponents, such as Alabama, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Georgia? Let’s deep dive into what Kiffin’s offense will look like with Trigg’s presence!
Listed at 6’4” and 215 lbs., Trigg is the ideal body type for a top-tier TE coming out of high school. According to 247sports composite, Trigg was listed as a 4-star recruit and received 21 offers from D1 programs. Trigg ultimately committed to USC on National Signing Day. Most scouts considered him to be more of a receiver in a big man’s body than a blocking TE. Throughout his high school career, Trigg had a total of 1,705 yards, 112 receptions, and 30 total touchdowns! He was also a prolific HS basketball player, receiving multiple offers from major division one programs. Check out this kid’s talent — dunking over Lane Kiffin’s son Knox!
Trigg brings an athletic element to this game. Having a 6’4” frame and running routes like a receiver presents significant matchup problems. He has a long wingspan that allows him to stretch out, make spectacular catches, and reach the ball out for extra yardage.
Trigg also has deceptive speed and quickness in space – eluding and quickly separating from defenders with his first step. His basketball background gives him a smooth element to the game. This adds to his athletic repertoire by boosting his overall footwork, body movement, and spatial awareness. It’s safe to say that Trigg is a matchup nightmare for opponents, with his only deficiency being his overall weight (215 lbs. out of high school). However, over the last two years, Trigg has added on 30-plus pounds of muscle – putting him around 245 total. I don’t suspect that physicality will be an issue with him!
Transfer Portal Factor and Jaxon Dart
With NILs playing a big role in today’s age, players loaded up in the transfer portal in 2022. One of those players was Dart, along with Trigg. According to an SI article by Ben King, Trigg and Dart share a special bond. “We do everything together,” said Trigg. “If [Dart’s] hungry and I’m not hungry, we’ll go eat together. That’s my brother, I can do anything with him.” Wherever Dart decided to go was closely tied with where Trigg decided to go. Now both get to build a stronger connection at Ole Miss – as they are not only teammates but also roommates. I anticipate that Jaxon Dart will win the starting job at Ole Miss. Ultimately contributing to Trigg’s overall performance in the passing game – boosting his draft stock as a TE.
The Charlie Weis Jr. Effect
Along with striking the transfer portal, Kiffin also made some coaching changes to bolster his overall offensive unit. Adding Charlie Weis Jr. from USF to the staff was the best move Kiffin made during this off-season. Weis Jr. has previously worked with Kiffin as the offensive coordinator for FAU, designing a creative offensive scheme around player personnel. Kiffin believes in Weis Jr. as an offensive mind! “He’s way ahead of his time in how he sees the game, his football IQ, and just his overall intelligence,” Kiffin said. “He’s been around the game with his dad being a coach, a lot like I was when I was growing up, and has a bright future.”
The Element of Schematics
Although Weis Jr. is a great addition, how can he elevate the performance level of Trigg? As the USF offensive coordinator, Weis Jr. created efficient ways of freeing up the TE against opponents. In most cases, he would utilize pre-snap motion with his TE and set him up in various alignments. This would confuse defenders and put them in positions of a disadvantage, especially matched up against the TE. For example, check out how Weis Jr. was able to catch the defense off-guard with his usage of the TE:
I anticipate that Weis Jr. will expand the playbook with all sorts of brilliant ways of aligning Trigg in advantageous matchups. Weis Jr. is the key to unlocking Ole Miss’s offensive potential. With a player like Trigg, the possibilities are endless!
What To Expect in 2022
Trigg has much to prove this season with all this hype surrounding him as a transfer from USC. He is physically and athletically gifted on the football – presenting a serious receiving threat against other defenders. Trigg’s catch radius and overall range in unmatched against any defender. His chemistry with Dart also bolsters his confidence and ability in the passing game.
However, Trigg will need to improve in the run game as a blocker. Unlike the PAC-12, the SEC presents more physicality and discipline on the defensive side of the ball. Facing Auburn and Alabama, Trigg will need to take his game to another level. It will be interesting to see how Kiffin, Weis Jr., and the rest of the staff will deploy Trigg this season. The future is bright for Trigg moving forward. It’s time to buy into the hype!
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