USC football suffered a potentially major blow at the onset of spring camp Tuesday when it was revealed that sophomore tight end Bryce Dixon missed practice because of an ongoing “student conduct issue.”
Steve Sarkisian told reporters that his player was unavailable for the opening of spring ball because of the issue but did not divulge any details as to his status going forward.
This is not the first time Dixon has had an issue which kept him from football action. He missed the Cal game last season because of another conduct issue.
Dixon was USC’s secondary option from the tight end position in 2014 behind Randall Telfer, who has since graduated.
The then-freshman was a critical pick up in the 2014 recruiting class given USC’s depth concerns at the position and was forced to see the field immediately due to Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick’s academic ineligibility, which left the Trojans with just two scholarship tight ends.
In 2014, Dixon caught 14 balls for 198 yards and four touchdowns, the first of which was also his first career catch against Fresno State in the season opener.
Though the Trojans lost Telfer, Dixon and Cope-Fitzpatrick are supposed to help strengthen the position for USC in 2015 along with incoming freshman Tyler Petitite.
If Dixon’s conduct issue drags on, USC could enter the season with just two scholarship tight ends for the second straight year and Cope-Fitzpatrick once again will be once again called upon to carry the full load this spring in Dixon’s absence.
Walk on transfer Connor Spears, who moved to USC from Columbia, could help lessen the blow of missing Dixon. He took first team reps alongside Cope-Fitzpatrick on day one, according to Shotgun Spratling of Scout.
UPDATE: Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News reports the Dixon has been dismissed from the football team. The dismissal seems to be connected to the November student conduct issue which kept him out of the Cal game.
If Dixon is indeed gone, the Trojans could turn to incoming players Osa Masina and Porter Gustin, who are both listed by USC as linebacker-tight ends. Though the possibility that either player could see real time on offense seemed slim when they signed, Dixon’s potential departure makes it a much more likely option.
UPDATE – 10:15 pm: Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com has word from a USC spokesperson that Dixon has not been dismissed.
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