Marc Tyler will be the starting running back for Southern California's season opener against Hawaii on Thursday.
The junior beat out the team's top returning rusher in senior Allen Bradford for the job.
Tyler missed all but one game last season due to a toe injury, but is in his best shape in years after dropping 15 pounds since spring ball.
He rushed for 198 yards and a touchdown in limited duty as a freshman.
Freshmen Robert Woods, a receiver, and Nickell Robey, a cornerback, also have earned starting roles. Sophomore Devon Kennard beat out returning starter Chris Galippo for the starting middle linebacker spot.