USC football poaches multiple linebackers from Alabama factories in transfer portal
USC football just picked up an important transfer in OLB Romello Height from Auburn, and a high-impact transfer from Alabama in former four-star ILB Shane Lee.
Height didn't play a ton at Auburn, but at least has nine games of experience under his belt (he'll be a Junior in 2022). Not too many outside linebackers for SC have a lot of experience, as some of our older OLB's in Drake Jackson and Juliano Falaniko are leaving (Jackson to the draft, Falaniko to the portal). Right now we're looking at just Korey Foreman returning, so adding Height is huge.
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And while he has just 18 total tackles and no sacks, he still has found a way to make an impact on the field during his short career so far:
And as for Lee, he's going to play right away. Not only was he the 2019 No. 5 inside linebacker recruit in the country, but he's proven himself to be able to play at a very high level. In his freshman season, he recorded 86 tackles (6.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks, a pick, a fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles.
Unfortunately, Lee wasn't able to continue that success due to a sports hernia injury for the 2020 season. In 2021, there was just too much competition ahead of him on that vaunted 2021 Alabama defense. It's a win for him because he'll now get to play at another blue blood, and a win for SC because we need inside linebackers too.
Both Romello Height and Shane Lee fill positions of need for USC football.
It's not just Romello Height that will provide experience to an inexperienced OLB room (he played eight games this past year), but Shane Lee will be leading a thin group of ILBs.
Kana'i Mauga is leaving for the NFL Draft, so we're looking at Ralen Goforth, Nomura Tuasivi, Raesjon Davis, Tayler Katoa, and Julien Simon returning.
Goforth did have 60 tackles this past year, but again, Lee's had an even better year than that. Tuasivi only has four games and nine tackles on his resume, and neither were big recruits. Neither was Katoa, and he hasn't been able to see playing time due to injuries and a Mormon mission that he went on.
Davis and Simon were big recruits, but Simon hasn't been able to see the field either and Davis only played one game (Week 1). Both are ultra-talented, and I really believe in both of them, but adding Lee was necessary. He's a sure thing.
I know the word 'injury' has been scaring USC fans for about four straight seasons now, but remember, Lee was hurt in 2020. Not in 2021. He's fine now, and was a great plug-and-play pickup for the Trojans.
SC needed to pick up LBs, and they did so. They hadn't picked up any in the portal yet, and had taken just one EDGE and one LB in this 2022 recruiting class. Both weren't blue chip guys either at three stars.
Now SC has guys who have played before, and played in a tougher conference. And again, while Lee only played three games this season, keep in mind that he was playing at a program with a top five Power 5 defense in yards per game (304.1). It's hard to see much shame in sitting for a defense like that.
He'll play for us, and play well. And Height will at least provide us with needed depth. The Trojans are absolutely smoking the competition in the transfer portal, and I doubt they're done.