USC wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. has reportedly put his name back in the transfer portal, leaving the Trojans after a quiet 2019 campaign.
Over the weekend, the first dominoes fell with regards to USC’s staff changes following the 2019 season. On Monday, the first transfer domino joined them.
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The transfer decision isn’t the biggest surprise, just like the staff changes with defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and special teams coach John Baxter removed from their posts.
Jones Jr. had already mulled a transfer option ahead of the 2019 season but decided to come back to the Trojans. His role, however, was limited largely to special teams. While he was USC’s primary kick returner, bringing one back for a touchdown in the season opener against Fresno State, he caught just six passes for 35 yards.
It’s not clear if Jones Jr. will leave the Trojans as a graduate transfer, but he is a redshirt junior. The likelihood is he will be immediately eligible to play wherever he lands.
Jones arrived at USC as the least-heralded receiver in the loaded class of 2016, but he stood out because of his blazing speed. After redshirting in Year 1, he found a role as a jet sweep specialist, though the result of those plays were limited. He had six catches for 46 yards and five rushing attempts for 15 yards.
In 2018 his role increased just slightly. He had 24 receptions for 266 yards and a touchdown while scoring one rushing touchdown on six attempts for 13 yards.
Jones struggled to see the field because of the quality of USC’s starting receivers, but the Trojans’ depth in the receiving corps worryingly thin. Michael Pittman is graduating, meaning USC will return just seven receivers from the 2019 squad. That’s if Tyler Vaughns decides to come back for his redshirt senior season, forgoing early entry into the NFL.
Next season, the Trojans will need to rely on a talented group of young players to keep the unit strong. While Amon-Ra St. Brown is poised to lead the passing attack, the likes of Drake London, Munir McClain, Kyle Ford, Bru McCoy and John Jackson should have big opportunities to establish themselves in the lineup.