Robert Woods and Marqise Lee were close friends and football teammates at Serra High in Gardena.
Now they’re at USC and garnering so much publicity through their outstanding play that a compelling case could be made they’re the best wide receiver tandem in the nation.
If there was any doubt, Woods and Lee may have put it to rest as they combined to grab four of quarterback Matt Barkley’s school-record tying six touchdown passes last Saturday night at the Coliseum as the Trojans routed crosstown rival UCLA 50-0 in a Pacific 12 Conference game.
Woods, a sophomore, is super-fast and blessed with terrific hands. When Woods drops a pass, it’s news.
In his first year at USC, Woods, who is 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, had 792 receiving yards and 65 catches for six touchdowns.
Woods’ best outing in 2010 was a 12-reception, 224-yard performance in a 37-35 loss at Stanford.
Lee, a true freshman, is even faster than Woods, and like his buddy, has hands of gold.
Against the Bruins, Woods and Lee became only the fourth set of USC receivers to surpass 100 catches and eclipse 1,000 yards in a season.
So talented and special are Woods and Lee that UCLA’s cornerbacks gave them nearly a 10-yard cushion. The thinking being it was better to get hit short than long.
In the end, this ploy didn’t work especially well for the Bruins (6-6), as Barkley, a junior who hit 35 of 42 passes for 423 yards, showered UCLA’s defenders with short, medium, and long-range offerings.
Lee grabbed 13 passes for 224 yards and made the first dent of the warm evening when he grabbed Barkley’s 42-yard pass early in the first quarter that made it 7-0.
When the 6-0, 190-pound Lee hauled in Barkley’s 52-yard strike with 10:55 left in the third quarter, it became 36-0 for the No. 10th-ranked Trojans, who aren’t eligible for postseason play after being placed on a two-year ban by the NCAA because of the Reggie Bush case.
Woods gained 113 yards and had 12 catches for a season total of 111, smashing the USC and Pac-12 standard set by fellow Trojan Keyshawn Johnson in 1995.
With 3:50 remaining in the third quarter, Woods made his mark when he snared Barkley’s four-yard throw that made it 43-0. The catch capped a 93-yard, eight-play march.
Barkley connected with Woods on a 41-yard bomb early in the fourth quarter as USC (10-2) bolted ahead 50-0.