USC Football: TE Injuries Have Trojans Dreaming of Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick



Class of 2012 incomer Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is still a high school senior at Whitney High in Rocklin, California, but that doesn’t mean that the USC Trojans couldn’t find the big tight end useful at the moment. Both Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble have gone down with injuries for the Trojans in spring camp, and according to Michael Lev, there is suddenly a huge void at tight end.

"Tight end Randall Telfer became the latest Trojan to suffer a hamstring injury when he pulled up late in practice. The injury left USC without any available scholarship tight ends. Xavier Grimble remained out because of a toe injury; Junior Pomee missed his second consecutive practice because of a family situation; and Christian Thomas is out for spring while recovering from hip surgery."

Cope-Fitzpatrick is obviously unavailable for Lane Kiffin and the Trojans, but it makes you wonder how much valuable experience it would have been for him had he been an early enrollee for the Trojans. The way the depth chart lines up, a redshirt year seems likely for the incoming freshman, as Telfer and Grimble were huge playmakers for the Trojans last season as freshmen.

Had Cope-Fitzpatrick been able to enroll early, he’d get first team reps without Telfer, and second team reps without Grimble. Considering how much Lane Kiffin used the tight end in the passing game in 2011, a second string gig in spring camp would have been a key role and served up plenty of experience.

By all accounts, Cope-Fitzpatrick is walking mismatch at 6-5, 250 lbs, which gives him more of a comparable frame to Xavier Grimble and former Trojan, Anthony McCoy. McCoy was a perfect blend of size and speed, and JCF is in that same mold. Cal High Sports said in December of 2010, that he “has enough quickness and burst that he can create space and breakaway from his defenders, and he is so strong that he is very hard to drag down, almost always requiring more then one tackler.” Given what we saw from Telfer in 2011, Lane Kiffin loves his tackle breakers.

So while JCF won’t get on the field until August, it’s an interesting dilemma that the Trojans are in, without Telfer and Grimble. Does it give Kiffin more of a chance to test out four and five receiver sets? Of course it does. But don’t think this isn’t an opportunity for more creativity, like we’ve seen with the move of Tre Madden to running back. For the time being however, Kiffin is using fullback Hunter Simmons at tight end as a space saver.