USC TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick to Miss 2015 Due to Academics


Mar 11, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (88) at spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Talk about déjà vu. For the second year in a row, Steve Sarkisian has announced during fall camp press conference that tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick will not participate in the upcoming season, instead focusing on academics.

RELATED: Predicting USC’s 2015 Season Game By Game

Sarkisian made the announcement on Wednesday morning after the Trojans had their first practice since Monday’s scrimmage.

Cope-Fitzpatrick, who missed all of 2014 despite being able to participate in practice then, has been a no-show throughout camp. According to Sarkisian, he’ll rejoin the team this upcoming spring after taking the semester to focus on school.

In two seasons of play, Cope-Fitzpatrick has appeared in 22 games as a reserve for the Trojans, making just three catches for 16 yards. With his inability to play this year, USC officially will not return a single tight end.

Dixon, who impressed as a freshman last season, was expelled from school in May in response to an undisclosed student conduct issue. However, he won a stay in court and has returned as a student, while being unable to play football.

Without them, USC’s tight end situation is primarily limited to walk-on Connor Spears, freshman Tyler Petite and Oklahoma transfer Taylor McNamara. All three have shown instances of effectiveness in camp, though Sarkisian hasn’t used the tight ends much in the passing game.

Former offensive lineman Cyrus Hobbi has returned to be a blocking tight end, while Florida transfer Daniel Imatorbhebhe –who caught a touchdown pass on Monday night– is ineligible to play due to NCAA transfer rules.

For Cope-Fitzpatrick, the road back likely seems even longer now. But there is a precedence for a big return from a Trojan who missed two seasons dude to academics.

That’s Chauncey Washington, who led the Trojans in rushing in both 2006 and 2007 after having to re-earn his scholarship following two years of academic ineligibility.

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