Bernard Schirmer joins USC football team after JUCO transfer

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

Add a new name to the 2018 USC football class, with offensive lineman Bernard Schirmer joining the Trojans as a junior college transfer.

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Offensive lineman Bernard Schirmer is the newest member of the USC football team, as head coach Clay Helton announced his official inclusion on Tuesday, following Day 4 of fall camp.

The 6-foot-6, 290-pound redshirt-sophomore has three years of eligibility remaining and comes to the Trojans after a rather peculiar stint at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.

In September 2016, he was handed a five-year ban from junior college football by the Southern California Football Association for punching —and knocking unconscious— a referee in a game against Ventura College, an incident that saw him arrested on suspicion of battery.

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Charges were ultimately dropped two months later according to the VC Star, after local prosecutors weren’t confident of proving the strike was intentional.

“It was unintentional,” Schirmer told KCAL-9 in an apology. “I had no thought in my head of harming the ref.”

He reportedly gives himself head slaps as a focusing mechanism, leading to the potential miscommunication.

Ironically, current USC offensive lineman Chuma Edoga was entrenched in a similar yet not-as-serious run-in with an official on the same exact day in 2016, when he was ejected and then suspended for pushing a referee in a 45-7 win over Utah State. Needless to say, they’re now teammates and past both incidents.

Before accepting Schirmer into the fold, USC vetted him for three months, talking to the people around him at Mt. SAC to find out the truth of his character.

“What we learned from the administrators, counselors and coaches was we were dealing with a tremendous young man. A man that is a great student and a great person and a guy that we had no question would be a great member of our Trojan family,” Helton said.

Schirmer, an offensive tackle by trade, gets to USC after a brief late June commitment with Pac-12 South rival Utah. He’s expected to boost the Trojans’ depth on the edge, where things are thin following the transfer of E.J. Price and medical retirement of Nathan Smith, both of whom were prominent figures in the 2016 recruiting class.

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He has yet to participate in fall camp, nor has he been officially issued a jersey number. Helton did stress Tuesday that Schirmer is cleared to play in 2018.