USC Should Be Strong at Tight End

USC TE Malcolm Epps could provide reinforcement in San Jose State game

Adam Grosbard (OC Register)  —  LOS ANGELES — With the first week of the season here, the USC football team got some good injury news on Tuesday.

USC tight end Malcolm Epps returned to practice on Tuesday after missing much of training camp with turf toe. The Texas transfer, who spent most practices in August in a walking boot, could be available for Saturday’s season opener against San Jose State. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Tight end Malcolm Epps returned to practice after missing much of camp with turf toe. The Texas transfer, who spent most practices in August in a walking boot, looked like his old self, moving crisply on the field and cutting off both feet.

If there are no setbacks from his return to action, USC head coach Clay Helton expects Epps to be available for Saturday’s game against San Jose State.

“Today was a big day for Malcolm, to be able to see him full-speed and full pads, looked really good,” Helton said. “He looked good to me today. So we’ll see how he comes out, we’ll see the soreness tomorrow but he was very positive all day today.”

Epps, along with the emergence of freshman Michael Trigg and the return of Jude Wolfe from injury, was a major part of USC’s refashioning of its tight end position this offseason. He saw limited action as a sophomore at Texas, with three catches for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

He transferred to USC in May. But despite not participating in spring ball, Helton expects Epps to be ready to contribute so long as he is healthy.

“He’s been in all the meetings. He’s basically been Trigg’s coach the whole way through the last couple weeks. And obviously a vet,” Helton said. “So he knows this offense inside and out and is ready to go when called upon.”

Not all medical updates were good ones for the Trojans on Tuesday, though. Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. is in the health and safety protocols, Helton said, and is unlikely to be cleared to play against the Spartans on Saturday.

That gives USC one less receiver with some experience to play in the opener, but Helton said he feels optimistic about where USC is at given the Trojans have transfers like Tahj Washington and K.D. Nixon to help balance out some of the younger receivers in the rotation.

“And the ability to use these big creatures at tight end, you’ll be able to see some of these involved in the passing game,” Helton said. “So even though we may not have Gary in this game, we feel confident with the rest of the guys that are in that room.”


USC Football 2019-2020 Marketing Photo Shoot

It’s been a long time coming, but linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu (58) returned to live, 11-on-11 reps in practice on Tuesday.

Tuliaupupu was a highly-touted recruit when he committed to USC out of Mater Dei as part of the 2018 recruiting class. But a foot injury suffered in a car crash that year required surgery and cost him both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

An ACL tear during 2020 summer workouts again put Tuliaupupu out for a year. The redshirt junior worked on the sidelines for most of fall camp, but on Tuesday he worked at defensive end as part of the scout team defense, a brace on his ankle to give him a little more security.

“I do think somewhere down the road he’s going to be able to help us this season. We’re taking a little bit at a time,” Helton said. “We’ve invested a lot into this and we’re so close, we want it to be at his pace – not ours. And you can see that confidence growing. Right now I’m just so happy for him because he’s so happy to be out here and running around and playing the game he loves.”


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September 3, 2021 8:39 am

SC should be strong at tight end by the million dollar question is whether Harrell have Slovis throw the ball to them. Up until now, the tight end position has been underutilized in my opinion in this crap Air Raid Offense we run.

Noble Genius
September 1, 2021 4:30 pm

Last night Colts keep Marvell Tell on their roster…………… About 3 hours ago Colts announce release of Marvell Tell to make room for Tyler Vaughns. (Probably not the way Tyler wanted to make an NFL roster ).

Noble Genius
September 1, 2021 1:52 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Doesn’t surprise me. Neither had great speed. Both were in the 4.6 range. Vaughns was a great route runner and had, at times, great hands, but would drop passes. He was not quick and could not separate from DBs. That works well at the collegiate level, not the pro. Griffin (who left early) was quick but lacked speed. There are many pro receivers in the 4.3 to 4.4 range. He was I think also 4.6. That is safety speed, not CB speed. Griffin was never an impact player like Hufanga was. He was a solid collegiate CB and could have… Read more »