USC football released their 2016 spring practice guide on Monday, including the new roster for the coming season.
USC football’s spring practice for the 2016 season is due to begin Tuesday, so the Trojan released their updated roster for the new year featuring new numbers and answers on returning players.
Players with questions swirling around their returns for 2016 included offensive tackle Chad Wheeler, outside linebacker Scott Felix and tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. Two of them will return, one will not.
Wheeler and Felix are both listed on the roster for their final seasons of eligibility. The former missed the Holiday Bowl after an incident involving the LAPD. He was never charged with a crime and head coach Clay Helton indicated that the Trojans would welcome him back. The roster confirms that.
As for Felix, though he is included on the roster, a report that he failed a drug test and could be ineligible for the coming season has his future still clouded in doubt.
When it comes to Cope-Fitzpatrick, it appears that his Trojan career is officially over. The tight end was academically ineligible last year after missing the 2014 season for the same reason.
Another Trojan whose career might not be finished quite yet is Cyrus Hobbi, who is appealing for a sixth year of eligibility after returning to the team as a tight end.
Early enrollee numbers
USC welcomes seven early enrollees for the 2016 season and they all have official numbers now.
Wide receiver Michael Pittman will take on Cody Kessler’s old No. 6 while fellow receiver Daniel Imatorbhebhe will don Kris Albarado’s No. 17.
Quarterback Matt Fink will wear No. 19, which was previously worn by walk on quarterback Conner Sullivan.
Safety C.J. Pollard will wear No. 28 opposite running back Aca’Cedric Ware on offense.
Offensive lineman Nathan Smith will wear No. 78.
Linebacker Liam Jimmons will inherit No. 93 from departed defensive end Greg Townsend Jr.
Finally, Nigerian defender Oluwole Betiku solidified his future on the defensive line with the choice of No. 99, which was previously worn by defensive tackle Antwaun Woods.
There are only two changes of number for the spring with wide receiver De’Quan Hampton swapping his No. 89 for No. 13 and tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe moving from No. 49 to No. 88.
That means USC’s most storied No. 55 jersey will likely go unworn in 2016 following the departure of Lamar Dawson.
In a different kind of move, Jalen Greene has moved back from wide receiver to quarterback, though he retains his No. 10.
The Trojans list 15 returning starters on offense and defense, but that designation is an interesting one.
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Though receiver Steven Mitchell started six games in 2016 he is not listed as as a returning starter, while center Khaliel Rodgers, who also started six games, is given that designation.
Scott Felix is a returning starter though he did not start the final three games of the season for USC in 2015 and his status is officially “undetermined” because of a personal issue, which has been reported as a failed drug test.
Toa Lobendahn who started five games before tearing his ACL, is not listed as a returning starter but will certainly be expected to battle for a starting job.