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Practice Report: USC Football's Defense Labeled 'Dominant Group' So Far in Fall Camp

Aug 12, 2022

USC suffered its first major injury of Fall Camp, head coach Lincoln Riley announced following the team's seventh practice Friday (Aug. 12). Redshirt junior tight end Jude Wolfe has a foot injury and is expected to be out until mid-October.

"He's going to have a procedure done here pretty quick," Riley said. "We'll get it cleaned up. Hopefully have him back for the second half of the season."

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch shared at the end of USC's spring camp that the team would be "active" in the NCAA Transfer Portal due to depth issues. Riley shared Friday how the fruit of the coaching staff's offseason labor has paid off so far this fall.

"We had major, major depth issues there in spring," Riley said of the Trojans' defense. "That is a lot different now; no question. We brought in a lot of players and a lot of guys who weren't practicing who are now. So the talent level is up."

Riley also noted that USC's defense has had the edge as of late.

"The defense has played very well in this camp," Riley added. "They, certainly over the last several days, have been the dominant group."

Notes from USC's seventh practice of camp:

  • Redshirt senior cornerback Mekhi Blackmon continues to separate himself in USC's cornerback battle. 

    • "I would say Blackman has  certainly continued to press as he's had a really strong start to camp," Riley said.

  • Despite the inexperience true freshman Domani Jackson and redshirt freshman Ceyair Wright might have, the young corners have made an impression on the Trojans' head coach.

    • "Domani is doing a nice job. I've been really impressed with Ceyair," Riley noted.

  • Riley also provided an update on sophomore rush end Korey Foreman, who has not participated in practice recently. The sophomore missed Monday's practice due to a prior commitment, but now has been absent due to injury. 

    • "Nothing too severe," Riley said. "He'll be back in a few days."

  • Redshirt senior Solomon Byrd was one of the defensive additions Grinch & Co. added to the depth chart this offseason. Riley shared that the defensive lineman has done well in his first few practices as a Trojan.

    • "He's picked up our schemes very quickly. The guy can naturally rush the passer," Riley explained. "He's been able to move around and play some different positions for us as well. So he did a good job getting his body into shape. We thought he came into summer a little bit out of shape, and that's really changed."

New numbers to know:

  • Defensive lineman Nick Figueroa, who previously wore No. 50, now dons 99. The redshirt senior wore that number during his stint in junior college.

  • Defensive back Bryson Shaw, who transferred from Ohio State as a redshirt junior this summer, wears 27.

  • True freshman running back Raleek Brown sports the number 14.

  • Wide receiver Michael Jackson III, who previously wore No. 13, now wears the number 9.

  • Wide receiver Jordan Addison wears the once-retired No. 3, after Trojan legend Carson Palmer gave his blessing.

  • Redshirt senior defensive lineman Solomon Byrd, who transferred from Wyoming this summer, dons No. 51.


Head coach Lincoln Riley's media availability: