USC Football: Matt Lopes, Reuben Peters, James Toland Awarded Scholarships

Safety Matt Lopes during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
Safety Matt Lopes during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

USC football awarded scholarships to walk ons Matt Lopes, Reuben Peters and James Toland IV, head coach Clay Helton announced after practice Thursday.

Safety Matt Lopes, fullback Reuben Peters and running back James Toland IV are walk ons no longer. The trio of USC football players were awarded scholarships on Wednesday night, Clay Helton revealed on Thursday.

“I love men that honor the game of football and respect the game and do their role to the best of their ability,” Helton said. “Where we were scholarship numbers-wise gave us the opportunity to celebrate three young men who have walked on to this program and become a huge part of our football family and huge contributors.”

Both Lopes and Toland are fourth-year juniors while Peters is a redshirt sophomore.

Lopes, whose father Steve has worked in USC’s athletic department for decades, has become a key figure in the defensive backfield for the Trojans over the last two seasons. After sitting out in 2013, the walk on played five times in 2014, filling in for an injured Su’a Cravens admirably in the second half of USC’s win over Washington State.

Last year, Lopes led the team in tackles in the season opener against Arkansas State and served as a member of the rotation before breaking his foot against Colorado.

This year during fall camp he has regularly proven himself as an instinctual player capable of making an impact. On Wednesday, he had two interceptions during practice.

Toland has served as a reserve tailback for the Trojans for two seasons after redshirting in 2013. He has rushed for 125 yards in 32 attempts in his career. He has also contributed on special teams.

Peters, the youngest of the bunch, was USC’s Defensive Service Team Player of the Year as a freshman redshirt at linebacker in 2014.

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In 2015, Peters mostly contributed on special teams and was awarded the Joe Collins Walk-on Award.

This year, Peters has made a position switch, changing from defense to fullback. With the switch, Peters is USC’s only fullback and looks primed to see his role increase drastically.

“All three men represent what we want the Trojan Family to be and have done a tremendous job,” Helton said of the three newest scholarship players. “To them and their families I’d like to congratulate them and thank them for their service to our team.”

With the three new scholarships, USC should field a full roster of 85 scholarship players this year.