With injuries holding so many scholarship running backs out of action during USC’s spring camp, fullback Jahleel Pinner is making the most of his opportunity, earning praise from Steve Sarkisian Tuesday.
“He’s a very smart football player,” Sarkisian said, noting his grasp of the new offense and his ability to take advantage of the defensive set up. “He’s got a high football IQ.”
The 5’11 junior has impressed in place of injured running backs like Buck Allen, Ty Isaac and Justin Davis. Davis is out for the spring and Allen sat out Tuesday’s practice with a rolled ankle, leaving Tre Madden, Pinner and walk on James Toland to split the majority of carries.
Sarkisian singled out Pinner’s strength and his penchant for earning extra yards, especially by falling forward at the end of plays. It’s that ability which may earn Pinner carries at running back in the coming season.
“I’m not sure he’s going to be a feature back for us down the road, but he’s a guy we know we can put him in whether it’s in a short yardage situation, a goal line situation, late in a game to close out a football game,” Sarkisian said.
Pinner is also holding up the fort at fullback, his full-time position, with Soma Vainuku limited by injury.