USC vs Alabama: Chuma Edoga Will Start at Left Tackle

USC offensive lineman Chuma Edoga during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC offensive lineman Chuma Edoga during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

Sophomore offensive lineman Chuma Edoga will start at left tackle for USC vs Alabama, Clay Helton announced Monday night.

Chuma Edoga will make his third career start against the No. 1 team in the nation. At left tackle. Against Jonathan Allen. No pressure.

“We’re going to end up going with Chuma at the left tackle position to start off with,” Clay Helton said during the weekly Trojans Live broadcast. “We’re going to evaluate Chad [Wheeler] through the week to see if he can progress into helping us with a couple series there.”

There was hope at the end of the mock game week that starting left tackle Chad Wheeler would be recovered enough from plantar fasciitis to make the start against Alabama. Unfortunately for the senior, however, Helton does not seem confident in his ability to get back in time to play the full game against the Tide.

Wheeler is one of USC’s most experienced offensive linemen with 34 career starts to his name. He earned freshman All-American honorable mention status after redshirting in 2013, tore his ACL in 2014 and came back with All-Pac-12 second team honors in 2015.

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With such a nagging injury, Helton indicated during fall camp that the team will need to monitor Wheeler’s health throughout the season.

The sophomore tackle, Edoga, is no stranger to being thrown into the fire against tough opposition. He started at right tackle for the Trojans against No. 3 Utah at the Coliseum last year, then returned to the starting line up in the Holiday Bowl against Wisconsin.

Though he performed admirably throughout the season, Edoga is still the most inexperienced player on USC’s offensive line and will have the difficult job of protecting Max Browne’s blindside against one of the most formidable defenses in the nation.

In other injury news, Helton indicated that safety Marvell Tell should be back to full form after a hamstring injury. However, fellow safety John Plattenburg will miss the game as he continues to go through concussion protocols.