Jack Jones reportedly academically ineligible for USC football in 2018

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

Junior cornerback Jack Jones is academically ineligible for the 2018 season, according to reports, leaving USC football down one starter.

Bad news struck USC football on Friday with a report from Adam Maya of TrojanSports.com that cornerback Jack Jones is academically ineligible for the 2018 season.

The junior held down a starting job throughout 2017 and was slated to retain that place in 2018. However, he sat out Spring Camp in order to deal with academics. It seems the extra focus didn’t pan out.

On the one hand, losing Jones is a major blow to a USC defense which was bolstered by the return of a core group of starters. Jones had an up-and-down year as a sophomore, but he drew third team All-American acclaim from the AP.

On the other hand, Jones was an inconsistent presence in the secondary last year, contributing to USC’s general problem containing big plays. He was also one of the more undisciplined members of the squad, drawing personal foul penalties at a worrying rate.

He was already suspended for the season opener against UNLV.

At the very least, the Trojans were able to get a head start at replacing Jones during his spring absence. Senior Isaiah Langley, who stood in for Iman Marshall during his brief injury stretch during the 2017 season, took first team reps throughout the spring. He showed promise opposite Marshall and should only be pushed by a wealth of depth for USC at corner.

Redshirt senior Jonathan Lockett was a starter at the nickelback spot before multiple hip surgeries took him out of the lineup, including all of last season. He returned this spring and shook off the rust quickly enough to suggest he’ll be a major figure in the rotation, if not a starter.

Redshirt freshman Greg Johnson also returned from shoulder surgery which knocked him out of what could have been an active first season. He too should be in line to compete for the vacant starting job.

On top of those established figures, USC will welcome highly-touted cornerbacks Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart this fall.

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Though this is an unfortunate development for Jones, the Trojans are in much better position to fill Jones’ slot this year than they were in 2017, when Jones, Marshall and Langley were the only options available.