Offensive guard Damien Mama declared for the 2017 NFL Draft on Friday afternoon, opting to leave USC after his junior season.
The first of three big USC draft dominoes fell on Friday as junior guard Damien Mama announced his decision to leave the Trojans for the NFL.
“Growing up as a Trojan fan, it was, and still is, an honor and childhood dream come true to have attended the University of Southern California,” Mama wrote on Instagram.
“I will forever consider my education within this campus to be one of my most prized accomplishments. With that said, I have decided to officially forego my senior year of eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.”
A photo posted by Damien Mama (@dmama51) on Jan 6, 2017 at 12:36pm PST
Mama went on to thank head coach Clay Helton, his family, USC fans and his teammates for their support throughout his career.
“You are my backbone, my brothers and my family forevermore,” Mama wrote of his teammates. “We proved to everyone that you can never count out the Trojans. We are Rose Bowl Champions and no one will ever take that away from us!”
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The St. John Bosco-product came to USC in 2014 as a highly-touted recruit and started right away at guard. As a freshman he participated in 12 games, starting four times.
In 2015, Mama established himself as a regular starter at left guard and earned a Pac-12 honorable mention.
As a junior in 2016, Mama started 12 of 13 games, emerging as one of USC’s most dominant linemen. He was voted to the All-Pac-12 second team.
NFLDraftScout.com rates Mama as the No. 6 guard.
Mama’s departure gives USC yet another big hole to fill on the offensive line with the graduations of starting tackles Chad Wheeler and Zach Banner.
The good news for the Trojans is that regular back up Chris Brown should be ready to slot right into Mama’s place on the line, having split time with him over the past two seasons.
Now USC will hold their breath while awaiting draft decisions from Adoree’ Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster.