USC went 5-7 in 2021, but the Trojans didn’t go without featuring several players with NFL Draft potential. One of the headliners of this group is Receiver Drake Londonwho caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards with seven touchdowns even in an injury-shortened season.
London has since declared itself for the 2022 NFL Draft, and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. likes London’s chances of giving defenders nightmares at the next level. Kiper speaking during the first draft of the podcast, said he projects London will become a potential top-10-15 pick with his physical attributes, comparing him to the likes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver mike evans and retired Super Bowl champion Plaxico Burress.
“Drake London also has a huge amount of talent,” Kiper said. “He’s a mismatch with that size and that physicality and that length that he brings with those ball skills. I compare it to a Plaxico Burress, to a mike evans. And I think he’s going in that top 10 to top 15. Now the injury obviously – he finished with what, eight games? 88 catches in eight games? Now, if he had played all season, his numbers would have skyrocketed. Of course I like Drake London.”
At 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, London was a problem all season for the rest of the Pac-12 before his ankle injury against Arizona on Halloween. London rushed for more than 100 yards in six of the Trojans’ first seven games in 2021 and had 81 yards with two touchdowns the night it lost to the Wildcats. He caught a season-high 171 yards a game earlier in a loss at Notre Dame.
Statistically, London was close to rivaling Marqise Lee (the program’s only Biletnikoff Award winner) by 118 single-season receptions (2012) and her single-season receiving distance of 1,721 (2012). At worst, London was on course for a unique all-time Top 5 year at USC. His Trojan career ended with 2,153 receiving yards on 160 catches with 15 touchdowns. His 2,153 yards rank 16th all-time in school history and his 160 receptions rank 17th all-time.
A former four-star prospect from Moorpark High School (California) in London was ranked the 35th receiver prospect in the country for the 2019 recruiting round. He was ranked No. 33 overall in Golden State and No. 247 nationally. for this cycle, whatever its position. London received 20 offers during its recruitment, including nine schools from the Pac-12 conference. Other notable offers included Notre Dame, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
The 2022 NFL Draft takes place April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The draft was originally scheduled to be held on the Vegas Strip in 2020 before the event went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
USCFootball.com contributed to this report.