Though it was not the scandal it might have been with a more standout player, wide receiver Victor Blackwell’s absence from USC’s football activities has been hanging over the Trojans for weeks. Steve Sarkisian officially ended the saga Thursday when he announced that Blackwell is no longer on the team.
Blackwell, a redshirt junior and one of the more veteran players in the Trojan receiving corps, had been sitting out of practice since mid-September, reportedly because he was displeased with playing time.
After catching three balls for 54 yards against Fresno State, Blackwell didn’t seen the field when the Trojans took on Stanford or Boston College. While missing practice he also didn’t participate in games against Oregon State and Arizona State.
Blackwell redshirted as a freshman but never really made much of an impact in subsequent years as a reserve. Ankle injuries last season limited his playing time, which was especially unfortunate when USC’s available receiver numbers dwindled.
In 2014, it looked like their might be a place for Blackwell to continue contributing as a back up with more plays in Sarkisian’s uptempo offense. However, the arrival of young receivers like JuJu Smith, Ajene Harris and Adoree’ Jackson, along with the return of George Farmer limited the available touches.
Unless the Trojans suffer another devastating slate of injuries in the receiving unit, it is unlikely Blackwell will be missed.
Perhaps the most important take away from the loss of Blackwell is that it pushes USC down to 60 scholarship players on the roster. The Trojans have yet to suit up more than 57 scholarship players for a game this year.