Redshirt senior C.J. Pollard announced his decision to graduate transfer from USC, leaving the Trojans short of one safety in 2020, but opening a roster spot.
C.J. Pollard is in the transfer portal.
The Trojans’ redshirt senior safety made his announcement on Monday becoming the third backup to leave USC after the 2019 season.
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“I would like to say thank you to USC Athletics for giving me the opportunity to compete as a student-athlete and earn a degree from a prestigious private university,” Pollard tweeted. “After considerable thought and prayer, I have decided to enter the Transfer Portal as a GRADUATE.”
Pollard played in 12 games in 2019 as a backup, tallying 15 tackles and one tackle for loss. His impact was most clearly felt as a blitzer, coming up quickly to the line of scrimmage to make plays.
While he had been one of the most veteran members of USC’s secondary over the past two seasons, he was never able to secure a regular starting place. In 2018, he stepped in as a starter against Texas early in the year because of injuries. That was the lone start of his career.
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His prospects for starting were limited as he appeared likely to remain a sub behind the likes of Isaiah Pola-Mao and Talanoa Hufanga.
The departure hurts USC’s depth at safety going into 2020 with just six returning players at the position, but the Trojans do have players to turn to. Raymond Scott spent the 2019 season redshirting as he continued to transition into a safety role. Briton Allen, Dorian Hewett and Kaulana Makaula saw playing time in 2020 in various roles preparing them for more playing time going forward.
Along with Pollard, the Trojans have seen quarterback Jack Sears and wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. enter the transfer portal, but so far only backups have opted to depart.
The silver lining to losing Pollard and the others is extra room on the roster for next Wednesday’s February Signing Day. The Trojans can now account for 82 scholarship players, giving them room to add at least three more in the class of 2020. That number could grow if additional names decide to transfer over the next week.