USC Football: Which Trojans took a redshirt in 2017?

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

How many Trojans took a redshirt in 2017? USC Football could have a dozen second-year freshman set to make a debut in 2018.

USC Football’s 2018 Spring Camp is set to begin on Tuesday, featuring a number of Trojans who still have yet to take the field in real action.

Out of a class of 24 new players in 2017, 12 sat out Year 1 as redshirts. Now that USC has released the official roster for 2018, we know exactly who used up a year of eligibility and who didn’t.

For instance, wide receiver Randall Grimes only saw action, briefly, in three games last year before breaking his hand, but he was unable to take a medical redshirt because the games he played were in the middle of the season.

So which freshmen did take a redshirt in 2017? Here’s a look:

  • Hunter Echols — four-star outside linebacker
  • Je’Quari Godfrey — three-star cornerback
  • Greg Johnson — four-star cornerback
  • Tayler Katoa — three-star linebacker
  • Jacob Lichtenstein — three-star defensive line
  • Jalen McKenzie — three-star offensive tackle
  • Brett Neilon — four-star center
  • Isaiah Pola-Mao — four-star safety
  • Jack Sears — four-star quarterback
  • Jay Tufele — four-star defensive tackle
  • Marlon Tuipulotu — four-star defensive tackle
  • Alijah Vera-Tucker — four-star offensive lineman

For the likes of Echols, Godfrey, Johnson, Katoa, Pola-Mao and Tuipulotu, redshirting was a necessity.

Godfrey arrived at USC rehabbing a high school knee injury while Katoa suffered a torn ACL during spring camp.

Pola-Mao and Johnson were lost to shoulder injuries, the former during fall camp and the latter ahead of the Washington State game. Johnson’s injury came just early enough to take a medical redshirt.

Tuipulotu was well on his way to a starting role before it was decided it would be in his best interest to sit out while dealing with a lingering back issue. He too was able to get the year of eligibility back through a medical redshirt.

For the rest of USC’s redshirt freshmen, 2017 was all about development. Lichtenstein and Tufele spent the season settling in on the defensive line while McKenzie, Neilon and Vera-Tucker did the same on the offensive line.

More from Reign of Troy

As for Sears, a redshirt was always expected as he waited his turn behind Sam Darnold with an eye on competing for the starting job this spring.

Freshmen weren’t the only players to take a redshirt in 2017. USC actually had an inordinate number of upperclassmen who gained a year of eligibility by sitting out for one reason or another.

Running-back-turned-cornerback Dominic Davis and defensive-lineman-turned-offensive-lineman Jacob Daniel each took a redshirt because of a position change. Both are now redshirt juniors in their fourth year with the Trojans.

CHECK OUT: Breaking Down USC’s Depth Chart for 2018

For receiver Keyshawn “Pie” Young and cornerback Jonathan Lockett, 2017 was a redshirt year due to injury. Young, who dealt with a hamstring problem, is now a redshirt sophomore while Lockett is a redshirt senior after sitting out while rehabbing from hip surgery.