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Man sentenced to 30 years in killing of former USC RB Joe McKnight


The man found guilty in the shooting death of former USC running back Joe McKnight has been sentenced, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

According to the Times, 56-year-old Ronald Gasser was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison. He had been convicted of manslaughter after originally being indicted on one count of second-degree murder.

Gasser’s attorneys had argued that their client acted in self-defense in what was described as a road-rage incident in New Orleans in December of 2016.

From the Times‘ report:

… McKnight walked up to his car following a 5-mile confrontation that began on a bridge spanning the Mississippi River in New Orleans and ended with gunfire in neighboring Jefferson Parish.

Witnesses at the trial said McKnight had been weaving in and out of traffic at high speed before the shooting. Prosecutors acknowledged to the jury that he was, in the words of Assistant Dist. Atty. Seth Shute, “driving like a jerk.” But they argued that Gasser escalated the conflict, following McKnight down an exit that he would not ordinarily have taken moments before the shooting.

Shute acknowledged that McKnight had a hand on the open, passenger side window of Gasser’s car before he was shot. But he said physical evidence proved Gasser lied during extensive police questioning when he claimed McKnight lunged at him.

McKnight, who was 28 when he was killed, was a highly-touted five-star recruit who signed with USC in 2007. He finished his injury-plagued collegiate career with 2,213 yards and 13 touchdowns prior to leaving the Trojans early for the NFL following the 2009 season.

USC WR Joseph Lewis to face five misdemeanors

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Joseph Lewis‘ most serious legal issue is over, but he still has some legal hurdles to get past.

Late last month, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to pursue a felony charge against the USC wide receiver after he wasarrested on one count of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.  At the time, though, it was reported that the case had been referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, which would decide whether misdemeanor charges would arise from the arrest.

Tuesday, reported, the city attorney’s office has decided to file five misdemeanor counts against Lewis.  The charges stem from two separate incidents in February, and include three counts of domestic battery with an injury, false imprisonment and domestic battery without an injury.

Details of what led to the initial felony charge have not been released.

As it stands at the moment, Lewis’ indefinite suspension meted out by the football program remains in effect.  The receiver is not listed on the roster released by the Trojans ahead of spring practice.

A five-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, Lewis was rated as the No. 4 receiver in the country; the No. 6 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 31 player overall on‘s composite board. The only player rated higher in USC’s class that year was running back Stephen Carr.

As a true freshman last season, Lewis caught four passes for 39 yards. He’s expected to play a bigger role in the Trojans’ passing game this season.

USC hires former Michigan OC Tim Drevno as running backs coach

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Former Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno was announced Monday as USC’s running backs coach. But that’s not all. Drevno will also be the Trojans’ run game and pass protection coordinator, which is the first time this reporter can recall such a title in nearly 85 years observing college football.

A California native, Drevno has spent most of his career in the Golden State. A Jim Harbaugh disciple, Drevno coached with Coach Khakis at San Diego, Stanford and with the San Francisco 49ers before breaking in 2014 to work as USC’s run game coordinator and offensive line coach. He reunited with Harbaugh at Michigan in 2015, where he worked for the past three seasons as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

The Wolverines’ dismal performance led Drevno to be strongly encouraged to find new work, which led to Monday’s return to Heritage Hall. He replaces Deland McCullough, who left earlier this winter to be the Kansas City Chiefs’ running backs coach.

“We are very excited to welcome back Tim to the Trojan Family,” head coach Clay Helton said in a statement.  “Through his experiences with elite college program and in the NFL, he has gained a reputation as a great teacher and he has grown his expertise in both the run game and pass protection. Adding Tim to our coaching staff will help continue the success we have had offensively and will help us reach our goal of winning a national championship.”

USC lost leading rusher Ronald Jones II to the NFL draft, but returns its next three leading rushers. Sophomore Stephen Carr rushed 65 times for 363 yards and three touchdowns as a true freshman, and Vavae Malepeai and AcaCedric Ware both rushed exactly 49 times and averaged just north of five yards per carry in 2017.

Drevno will also be responsible for protecting a new quarterback in 2018 as Sam Darnold followed Jones into the draft. USC finished 71st nationally last season after averaging 2.14 sacks per game.

Ex-Michigan OC Tim Drevno reportedly headed back to USC

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It didn’t take long for Tim Drevno to land on his coaching feet — and in a familiar spot for good measure.

Eight days ago, not long after Jim McElwain was hired as Michigan’s new wide receivers coach, Drevno stepped down as U-M’s offensive coordinator.  Saturday night, has reported that Drevno is now expected to be named as the next running backs coach at USC.

Drevno would replace Deland McCullough, who left his post as running backs coach in mid-January for a job with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.

The move, if/when it comes to fruition, would serve as a homecoming for Drevno as he spent the 2014 season as offensive line coach and running-game coordinator for the Trojans.  He was also on Jim Harbaugh‘s Stanford coaching staff, first as tight ends coach (2007-08) and then as line coach (2009-10).

Drevno spent the past three seasons as the Wolverines’ coordinator, serving as the offensive line coach as well.

USC grad transfer Roy Hemsley headed to Pac-12 rival Arizona State

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You play to win the (transfer) game. You don’t play it to just play it, you play to win.

New head coach Herm Edwards added yet another graduate transfer offensive lineman to his Arizona State roster as former USC backup Roy Hemsley announced on Twitter Thursday night that he was headed to Tempe.

Hemsley will have two years of eligibility at ASU and has the flexibility of playing both guard and tackle. He didn’t see a ton of action with the Trojans but has a chance to start with the division rival Sun Devils given some openings along the line for the 2018 squad.

The soon to be redshirt junior will join Stanford’s Casey Tucker as Pac-12 graduate transfers who committed to Arizona State this offseason. It’s not often you hear of intra-conference transfers, much less landing two, but Edwards has certainly done some work in bringing in some roster reinforcements since getting the job a few months ago.