With USC kicking off their 2023 campaign with a win over San Jose State on Saturday night, all eyes were on presumed Heisman favorite Caleb Williams. Williams was unsurprisingly fantastic on the night, but he wasn't the only star performer on the night, as freshman wide receiver Zachariah Branch made quite a first impression in his debut with the Trojans.
Branch was all over the place for USC in this one. On offense, he hauled in four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown, while also taking his only carry of the night 12 yards. Branch was also huge as a kick and punt returner, as he took his only kickoff return 96 yards to the house, and had 66 yards on his three punt returns. Branch's big night was not lost on head coach Lincoln Riley, who praised him for making a big impact whenever he was on the field.
“He made an impact on offense, he made an impact on special teams. He earned it. He did a good job of not trying to do too much, which guys in their first game will sometimes do.” – Lincoln Riley, ESPN
Branch's blazing speed is his biggest weapon, and he used it to torch the Spartans all night long to the tune of 232 all purpose yards. While Williams will continue to dominate headlines for USC, it looks like Branch could be another star in the making for the Trojans, and if he can continue to make big plays like he did on Saturday night, that will only make USC a more dominant team as the season goes on.