Daniel Imatorbhebhe’s return to USC football confirmed

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /

Tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe is officially returning to USC football, new assistant coach John David Baker confirmed on Wednesday.

4-Star APB Picks Kentucky Over USC. MORE

USC football will be getting a promising, but unexpected playmaker back for the 2020 season.

Daniel Imatorbhebhe, the tight end who broke out in 2016 but struggled through injury in 2017 and 2018, is back with the Trojans after sitting out all of the 2019 season. That’s according to new tight ends coach John David Baker, who made an appearance on Trojans Live on Wednesday evening.

CHECK OUT: New signee Jack Yary boosts USC’s tight end unit

Baker saw Imatorbhebhe walking around campus last fall and wondered why the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder wasn’t on the football field with the Trojans. The assistant admitted “there’s a long story” when it comes to Imatorbhebhe’s absence, much of it shrouded in mystery.

After battling a hip flexor injury throughout the 2017 season, Imatorbhebhe sat out Spring Camp in 2018 with the expectation of coming back healthy. Fall Camp came and went and still Imatorbhebhe was still unavailable. He ultimately missed the entire campaign.

He still had eligibility to return in 2019, but he was once again unavailable for Spring Camp and the Trojans updated their roster in the summer with Imatorbhebhe among the “squadmen lost.” Head coach Clay Helton explained at Pac-12 Media Day that the player was focusing on his schooling at USC, but wouldn’t be a member of the football squad.

Imatorbhebhe’s return to the team was first reported by Keely Eure of USCFootball.com in January, but no official word had yet come.

Now Imatorbhebhe will get a chance at a comeback, presumably with a sixth-year of eligibility via a medical redshirt.

Baker, meanwhile, will get the chance to work with a talent whose injuries derailed what looked like the start of a stellar career. As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Imatorbhebhe had 17 catches for 250 yards and four touchdowns in half a season of regular play.

“We’re fired up to have him back and just getting him back up in the offices and getting to sit down and meet with him. What an unbelievable kid,” Baker said on Trojans Live. “I think he’s gonna fit perfectly in what we do. I’m really excited to get him out there and get him on the grass this spring.”

Next. USC's 2020 Recruiting Ends With Whimper