Despite reports of a suspension prompting him to exit USC, linebacker Scott Felix did not enter the 2016 NFL Draft leaving his future uncertain.
A USC spokesman told Scott Wolf of the Daily News that Scott Felix’s status is “undetermined.” Wolf originally reported last week that Felix had failed a drug test and was suspended for what would be his redshirt senior season. As a result, he was expected to declare for the NFL draft.
However, the NFL released the list of 96 underclassmen who have entered the draft pool early and Felix’s name is not listed. The deadline to declare was January 18th.
That could mean that Felix intends to appeal the suspension. A timetable on that process is unknown however.
Though Felix seems to have missed the deadline for the draft, he could still enter the NFL’s supplemental draft should his eligibility to play at USC next season remain in question.
The redshirt junior started ten games in 2015 at rush end, logging 28 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss including four sacks. However, Felix’s starting job was tenuous for much of the season as he was challenged by freshman Porter Gustin, who held down the the top spot on the depth chart two of the Trojans’ final three games.
Though Felix has more experience than his counterparts at the position and has a history with new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, who was his coach as a redshirt freshman, his place as a starter in 2016, even if he is allowed to return, is in question.
Gustin led the Trojans with 5.5 sacks and has seven total tackles for loss. As a highly-touted recruit in the 2015 class, it is the expectation that Gustin will feature more heavily in the USC defensive attack, especially with Pendergast’s more aggressive style. Jabari Ruffin, who is still getting back to full strength after a knee injury, could be in play for minutes.
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Felix’s future in the NFL appears murky as well. Since draft experts who project him to earn a selection are hard to come by, he would likely have to impress a team enough in workouts to earn a contract as an undrafted free agent, whether he joined the supplemental draft or not.
Felix has had 75 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries in his USC career thus far.
As it stands now Su’a Cravens is the only Trojan leaving USC with a season of eligibility remaining. In December, offensive tackle Zach Banner opted to remain in school for another year.