USC football released the 2019 roster on Monday, with transfers still listed, position hints for players new and old, and more.
When USC football dropped the 2019 roster ahead of Spring Camp, which starts on Tuesday, the biggest surprise was the players still listed.
Despite reportedly entering the transfer portal at the end of last week, wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. and cornerback Greg Johnson still feature on the Trojan roster.
CHECK OUT: Projecting USC’s pre-Spring Camp depth chart
Other players who entered the transfer portal but have not yet completed a move to another program—like receivers Trevon Sidney and Josh Imatorbhebhe, linebacker Oluwole Betiku and safety Ykili Ross—do not appear on the roster.
It may be that Jones Jr. and Johnson’s transfer decisions were simply too recent for the change to be reflected on the roster officially. Or it may be that the two could be allowed to practice with the team this spring while they weigh transfer options. More will be known on Tuesday.
The roster release also confirmed the position change of Liam Jimmons, who is shifting over from the defensive line to the offensive line. Jimmons is listed as a tackle and is also making a number change from No. 93 to No. 71.
Positional listings create all the other intrigue from the roster, with some clues as to what roles players will play, but a whole lot of vague designations as well.
On the offensive line, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Andrew Vorhees are both listed as guard-tackles, which will keep the door open for either to get a run on the outside. However, given USC’s tenuous guard depth, that seems unlikely.
Meanwhile, centers Brett Neilon and Justin Dedich are just that, centers. Neither got an OG designation, though both are capable of playing the position.
[UPDATE — The center position will get a depth boost from early enrollee Gino Quinones who “will compete for action at center and offensive guard,” according to the Spring Prospectus]
There were no changes for several other defenders, which both does and doesn’t clarify their positions.
Jordan Iosefa is once again an inside and outside linebacker. He started at strongside linebacker in 2018, but he may be in contention for the starting job vacated by Cameron Smith at middle linebacker.
[UPDATE — Iosefa is described as having moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker in the Spring Prospectus. The same goes for Kana’i Mauga, who is expected to “push for a starting spot” on the inside as a sophomore.]
Meanwhile, Solomon Tuliaupupu remains firmly planted at inside linebacker, without the dual designation.
Christian Rector was designated as a defensive lineman in 2018, despite spending half the season at outside linebacker. He comes into the 2019 season with the singular DL designation.
[UPDATE — The Spring Prospectus more clearly describes Rector’s role as someone who “will look to once again make an impact on the defensive line or at outside linebacker.]
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That’s not the case for early enrollee Drake Jackson, who is listed as a DL/OLB. It will be interesting to see if he lines up at defensive end or predator linebacker this spring.
Designations in the secondary don’t spread as much light as they could either.
While Chase Williams is still listed as a cornerback, despite spending most of last season practicing as a nickelback and a safety, early enrollees Max Williams and Briton Allen both were given the vague listing of defensive back. That means they could lineup at just about any position in the secondary. Perhaps it hints at a nickelback role for the two freshmen.
[Update — Allen is described as a safety in the Spring Prospectus. Williams is described as a cornerback.]
Dominic Davis is still listed as a cornerback, but he retains the dual designation as a tailback as well. He will have his best shot at playing time in the secondary in his final season with the program, but there is an argument to deploy him back at running back, where his skillset as an all-purpose back could be utilized in the Air Raid system.