The promising career of one of the highest-rated signees USC’s most recent recruiting class has, at least temporarily, been put on hold.
Clay Helton confirmed Tuesday that Marlon Tuipulotu had undergone back surgery earlier in the day. As a result, the true freshman defensive tackle will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2017 season.
The current issue, Helton said, is believed to be connected to “a previous injury at an early age.”
“I think it’s something that they got fixed,” the head coach said according to the Los Angeles Times. “For the big picture it’s very, very positive for him. It was actually better than they thought and the future is very bright for the kid.”
Tuipulotu missed the past three games, the first because of a knee injury and the second with the back issue. Because he played in just three games, the lineman will be eligible for a medical hardship waiver that would get him a season of eligibility back.
A four-star 2017 signee, Tuipulotu was rated as the No. 5 defensive tackle in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Oregon; and the No. 60 recruit on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. An early enrollee who participated in spring practice, Tuipulotu had played in the first three games of the season prior to the injury issues surfacing.