Redshirt junior center Khaliel Rodgers plans to transfer away from USC football, Joey Kaufman of the OC Register reported Friday.
UPDATE: Rodgers has officially announced his intention to leave USC.
The lineman took to Twitter to pen his goodbye to the Trojans on Tuesday morning.
"What an incredible way to finish the season! 2017 rose bowl champs! So proud of the team for sticking together when every one counted us out. This is a memory that will last forever. With that being said, after much prayer & consideration I have decided to reopen my recruiting to all univerities as a graduate transfer for the 2017 season. I appreciate the love and support from my teammates and coaches. Thank you to the Trojan family for your love over the past 4 years and the Memories in the coliseum that I will cherish forever. Blessings"
ORIGINAL: USC is set to lose another player to the transfer market, with Khaliel Rodgers reportedly planning to leave the program as a graduate transfer.
Rodgers is seeking a transfer and has been granted permission to talk to other schools, Joey Kaufman of the OC Register reported on Friday.
As a graduate transfer, Rodgers would be eligible to play immediately, without sitting out a year as per normal NCAA transfer rules.
Rodgers has spent the last few weeks under concussion protocol, so he appears unlikely to participate in the Rose Bowl on Monday.
The redshirt junior has been shuffled across USC’s line up over the past three seasons. After redshirting in 2013, Rodgers served as a back up guard, starting three games at the end of the season.
In 2015, Rodgers was moved to center, where he backed up Toa Lobendahn. When Lobendahn went down with an ACL injury, Rodgers replaced him for six games before spraining his ankle and being sidelined by a shoulder problem.
Surgery on his shoulder limited Rodgers during spring camp in 2016, allowing his replacement, Nico Falah, to embed himself at the center position. When Lobendahn returned for fall camp, Rodgers shifted over to the other side of the ball to help out the thin defensive line.
However, Rodgers’ playing time to start the season was limited. Then another knee injury to Lobendahn left the Trojans without depth at center, prompting Rodgers to move back to offense.
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Considering the constant movement and his inability to establish himself as a regular in USC’s line up, the transfer makes sense for Rodgers.
In many ways, Rodgers’ situation appears similar to that of Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, who transferred away from the crowded Utah defensive line and has thrived for USC. Rodgers performed well as a starter when given the chance, but opportunities have been scarce due to circumstances beyond his control.
With Falah due back next year and guards Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivao each with another year of eligibility available, opportunities to start should remain limited.
Rodgers is the fourth Trojan to pursue a transfer this year.
Freshman lineman E.J. Price left the program September, defensive lineman Noah Jefferson, who has missed most of the season through a combination of injury, personal issues and academics, is also due to depart. Quarterback Max Browne has also opted to transfer to Pitt after losing the starting job to Sam Darnold.