USC Is Looking For Help Everywhere, Especially On D

Trojan football is preparing for another slew of transfers

While the spring game featured some terrific incoming transfers, USC anticipates more before long…

Adam Grosbard (OC Register)  —  Watching the USC spring game on Saturday, it was impossible to escape the influence of transfers on Lincoln Riley’s first roster in Los Angeles.

Former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams threw a pair of touchdowns to former Oklahoma receiver Mario Williams. And former Washington receiver Terrell Bynum was on the first-team offense. And former Oregon and Stanford running backs Travis Dye and Austin Jones were getting the lion’s share of carries. And former Alabama linebacker Shane Lee led the team in tackles. And former Auburn defensive end Romello Height came off the edge for a sack.

But if you think the wave of veteran players from other schools ended when spring ball started last month, you have another thing coming for you this summer.

For the past two months, Riley has repeatedly crowned his USC team “one of the most unique rosters” both in the history of the program and college football. With all the roster turnover that follows any coaching change, Riley and his staff have aggressively taken advantage of the new phenomenon of the transfer portal, adding 13 players with college experience to the roster prior to spring football.

Some, like Caleb Williams, Lee and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, have come over with a clear path to a starting job. Others, like defensive lineman Tyrone Taleni, seemed like depth additions at the time but impressed the coaches enough in the spring to earn consideration for larger roles when the season comes around.

But Riley’s roster construction is far from complete for the 2022 season.

USC had around 70 scholarship players for spring camp. The NCAA limit for a college football roster is 85. So there are a lot of spots for the Trojans to fill between now and August.

Following the spring game, Riley spoke about how he views this process of filling out the roster after laying the foundation with this camp.

“The team, all of us, everybody is very aware we need to add some roster spots. It’s obvious, there’s no two ways about it,” Riley said. “They’re going to be vetted by our staff. They’re going to be vetted by our current players. We’re looking for guys who are going to come in and add to that culture.”

Riley has been clear that there is no position he would not add to at this point, at least from a depth perspective. Even with Williams and Miller Moss in place at quarterback, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a third scholarship player at that position in case of injuries.

At other positions, the needs are more clear. USC had a walk-on at second-team right tackle on Saturday. The Trojans were down to four healthy cornerbacks by the end of spring and only had four edge rushers for all of camp.

“There’s not a position on defense where we wouldn’t entertain the opportunity, at minimum in the name of competition and in other scenarios an opportunity to see the field right away,” defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said last week. “It’s an opportunity that wasn’t presented to us in years past, so we’ll be active.”

The activity began already on Sunday with the commitment of former Ohio State safety Bryson Shaw. The 6-foot, 195-pound junior started 12 games for the Buckeyes in 2021 while finishing third on the team with 59 tackles and will have two years of eligibility remaining at USC.

He won’t be the last transfer to join the Trojans. The only questions are who else, and how quickly do they follow Shaw to Los Angeles?

ocregister.com

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Steveg
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Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
April 27, 2022 6:27 am

Bob Stoops acts like the Godfather of OK football, saying Riley did not invent OK football. News for Stoops: Bob Stoops did not invent OK football, there were a couple of good coaches there before he came along.

Rock2112
Member
Mt Rushmore
Rock2112(@rock2112)
April 27, 2022 12:16 pm
Reply to  Steveg

And besides, Stoops should remember that he did not get his nickname “Big Game Bob” for the reasons he would like to have received it.

Steveg
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Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
April 26, 2022 6:12 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I keep wondering if Frost is that bad or is it nobody wants to come to Nebraska.

Chris
Member
Diamond Member
Chris(@chris)
April 26, 2022 10:21 am

Huge week for us. I predict that we get Gentry, Jonah Miller, Rodgers for sure. It will be fun to see who else comes. This week will be fun.

Chris
Member
Diamond Member
Chris(@chris)
April 26, 2022 11:08 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

same, top 15. I’ve never seen a more competitive WR come through here. I think he’s going to be great in the NFL.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
April 26, 2022 11:51 am
Reply to  Chris

I think he is top 10. If he is available, every team is going to consider him.

TrojanRJJ
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Mt Rushmore
TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
April 26, 2022 11:24 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I agree, if there is any rationality. I think Drake was the greatest WR SC has had since Keyshawn (who was, just like Drake, the O). Mike Williams was the most dominant WR I have ever seen, but he played on great teams that he made better. Drake played on a lousy team with an awful coaching staff. He actually made them decent. I really think if Drake had not been hurt, SC could have had a winning season in 2021 – he was that good. With Drake, SC was about a top 40 team, without him, it was a… Read more »

danielmcd1
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Noble Member
danielmcd1(@danielmcd1)
April 26, 2022 3:24 am

I was reviewing Pete Carroll’s first two seasons as Trojan HC in 2001 and 2002. We were 6-6 in 2001 including a 10-6 loss to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. But the losses were very close games. The largest point spread loss was to the Domers in South Bend 27-16. Every other loss was single digit. That 2001 team competed as Pete promised they would. I truly believe that this 2022 team will compete in EVERY game. There will be no blow out embarrassing losses as before under weaker coaches. Our team will score points and if we lose… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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Mt Rushmore
TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
April 26, 2022 7:20 am
Reply to  danielmcd1

Daniel, Thanks for the post. I have thought the same. The team PC took over in 2001 was in much better shape than the team LR took over in 2022. The difference is PC did not have the transfer portal. The Cat destroyed SC – when he left, SC was barely a top 50 team (if that). We really do not know what the 2022 Trojan team will look until probably Fall camp. I do agree it will be a totally different team than we have seen for the last 6 years. Imagine what this team would look like without… Read more »

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
April 26, 2022 8:45 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I would expect to see the team getting better and better as the season progresses. Losses may come here and there but overall play will be improving. That could make for a fun finish with the Ruins and Domers and a hot rising team in an exciting bowl game.

TrojanRJJ
Member
Mt Rushmore
TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
April 26, 2022 11:19 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen, You know I am conservative on my picks. But, after watching Caleb in the Spring game and how he is comporting himself, I think the floor for this team NOW (IF Caleb is healthy all year and no major injuries on the OL) is 8-4. I think the reasonable max NOW (same assumptions) is 10-2. I am using the 1st year of the Cat as my base. Sam Darnold lead that team to 10-3 and #3 in the nation with a horrible coaching staff and about the same level of talent as is on the team now. I think… Read more »

Steveg
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Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
April 25, 2022 6:25 pm

It sure looks like it going to be tough to fill the line slots. Everyone is looking for linemen for both sides of the ball. It is going to take Rileys A game to get them, if they are there.