Zachariah Branch is quickly becoming an elite offensive and special teams weapon for the USC Trojans. With four touchdowns in his first three games, Branch’s exceptional speed and field vision have set him apart as one of college football’s standout players this season.
In a remarkable display of his versatility, Branch made a stunning return to kickoff duties against San Jose State, a role he hadn’t undertaken since eighth grade. This triumphant return saw him sprinting down the field, ultimately scoring a thrilling touchdown. But that was just the beginning of his heroics, as he later returned a punt for an impressive 75-yard touchdown. USC’s Head Coach, Lincoln Riley, was quick to acknowledge the crucial role played by the blockers in both of Branch’s electrifying touchdown returns.
“I just saw it off the foot of the punter and I looked down to see how much space I had between the defenders and the ball. I saw a lot of room and I took it up the middle, the blockers did a great job and the rest is history,” Branch said.
(Via USC Athletics)
Branch’s incredible performances have not gone unnoticed, even by NFL star receiver Tyreek Hill, who couldn’t contain his excitement after witnessing Branch’s breathtaking punt return. Zachariah Branch is an integral part of what many consider to be one of the nation’s finest wide receiver corps. Alongside standout players such as Brenden Rice, Dorian Singer, Mario Williams, and Tahj Washington, the Trojans boast an abundance of elite options for their talented quarterback, Caleb Williams. Branch’s inclusion in this formidable lineup adds a unique dimension to an already dynamic passing game. He’s not only contributing with his returns but also with his prowess as a receiver, averaging an impressive 12.2 yards per reception and tallying two touchdown receptions. His five-star recruit status from high school is starting to make perfect sense.
“[Branch] deserves a lot of credit for but I’ll tell you what also deserves a lot of credit is how we’ve blocked on those plays,” Riley said. “It’s been a real group effort.”
(Via USC Athletics)
As the Trojans gear up for their upcoming game, they’ll enjoy a well-deserved bye week before facing off against Arizona State on September 23rd. Zachariah Branch’s exceptional performances are sure to keep fans on the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating his next spectacular play on the field.