Alijah Vera-Tucker is coming back. The Trojans’ best offensive lineman opted back in Tuesday, allowing him to play his redshirt-junior season in 2020.
It’s Christmas in October for the USC football program. Less than a month after announcing his departure to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, Alijah Vera-Tucker is back.
The fourth-year offensive lineman is once again a vaunted piece of the Trojans’ roster for what will be a title-challenging campaign.
“The opportunity to rejoin my teammates, represent the Trojan family, continue to advance towards my degree and compete for a Pac-12 Championship this season is something I cannot pass up,” Vera-Tucker said in a USC produced video posted to Twitter.
The reversal is a direct response to the Pac-12’s own reversal to the 2020 football season.
Besides simply playing, Alijah Vera-Tucker is the biggest boost the Trojans could’ve gotten this fall.
It can’t be understated how big of a development Vera-Tucker’s re-inclusion to the lineup will be for USC. Not only does it ensure their best lineman is back, but it allows the Trojans plenty of flexibility and removes any likelihood of having to play a young player too early.
Expect for Vera-Tucker to try a move from left guard to left tackle, enabling Jalen McKenzie to reprise his role as the starting right tackle.
This would bide time for not only redshirt-freshman tackle Jason Rodriguez, but the entire class of 2020. They all remain unknowns at the collegiate level due to the lost spring camp.
While AVT is a big coup for the Pac-12 South favorites, fellow draft-eligible star Jay Tufele won’t be joining the party. The defensive lineman announced Monday his decision to opt out of the 2020 season is final.
Both players could’ve surely used a full season to bolster their NFL Draft status, but can still find themselves as first rounders with seven and zero games to their names, respectively.