Velus Jones

Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

USC receiver announces graduate transfer to Tennessee

Leave a comment

The long and winding road for wide receiver Velus Jones will now, finally, bring him to the SEC. The USC graduate transfer has announced he is moving on to Tennessee.

Jones announced his transfer decision with a statement share don his Twitter account. As a graduate transfer, Jones will be eligible to play his final season of eligibility with the Vols in 2020.

“I want to thank the University of Southern California and Clay Helton for allowing me to get my degree and also for the life changing experiences and connections I will have for life,” Jones said in his statement. “With that being said, I will play my last year of college football at the University of Tennessee.”

Jones appeared in 12 games for the Trojans in 2019, in which he caught six passes for 35 yards. Jones originally committed to Alabama during his recruiting process. He then flipped to USC, then to Oklahoma, and back to USC. Jones previously entered the NCAA transfer portal in 2019 before ultimately deciding to stay put with the Trojans for the 2019 season. Now, he will travel to Tennessee for one more year of college football.

 

USC survives injury to starting QB J.T. Daniels to escape with win over Fresno State

Getty Images
4 Comments

Saturday night’s season opener for USC was supposed to be a fresh start. There was a fancy renovated Coliseum to showcase, a brand new offense to unveil and a chance for the Trojans to wash away the memories of last year’s losing season.

Unfortunately for the once proud Pac-12 bell cow and their embattled head coach, anything that could have gone wrong in their contest against Fresno State probably did early on in a slim 31-23 win over the defending Mountain West champs that was anything but easy.

Trojans starting quarterback J.T. Daniels was undoubtedly the story of the game. After getting off to a good start in running the team’s Air Raid offense for the first time (215 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), the sophomore suffered the double whammy of taking a sack just before halftime that also resulted in a serious lower leg injury. Trainers checked out his knee for several minutes and had to carry him off the field before eventually loading him into the cart.

Daniels did not return and later returned to the sidelines on crutches and with a brace on his right knee — casting doubt on his status for the rest of the young season.

Taking over behind center was true freshman Kedon Slovis, who surprisingly won the backup job out of camp and seems to be the likely starter going forward. While he did throw an absolute arm punt of an interception, he also lofted a superb deep ball down the sidelines to set up a third quarter touchdown and finished the night 6-of-8 for 57 yards and plenty of promise.

Wideout Velus Jones, who had his first kick return of the game (61 yards) called back on a penalty, turned on the jets for a 101 yard touchdown return in the second half to help the cause. Fellow receiver Tyler Vaughns also went off in the passing game by hauling in 11 catches for a career-high 150 yards while tailback Stephen Carr chipped in with a score rushing plus receiving and Vavae Malepeai had a career-high 134 yards on the ground.

Despite all of that firepower, Fresno State would not go quietly into the Los Angeles night under old foe Jeff Tedford and made things interesting throughout.

Making his first start as the new signal-caller after several seasons as the backup, Jorge Reyna did what he could to rally the Bulldogs with his arm and his legs. The senior from Southern California wound up throwing for 256 yards and two touchdowns (one INT) while also torching USC to the tune of 109 on the ground as the team’s leading rusher. It often felt like he was a one-man band at times given the amount of scrambling he needed to do in the face of a tough SC front seven but it just wasn’t enough as his supporting cast couldn’t quite come up with equally elevated play.

Still, there were plenty of nerves on high alert around the Coliseum as a result of Fresno State’s efforts and even more folks left wondering if Clay Helton’s tenure on the sidelines in Los Angeles is all but certainly over in the wake of Daniels’ injury and some questionable decisions down the stretch. The night started out with a penalty on the very first kick return to sour things from the get-go and the crowd for the first game at the renovated stadium was nearly 20,000 under capacity for a fellow in-state team.

There’s still a ton of season left to go at USC but Saturday night sure felt as much like a loss for some around the program as it did the first win in 2019.

USC transfer WR Keyshawn Young moves on to Marshall

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Another of the handful of USC wide receivers who left the Trojans this offseason has found a new college football home.

On his personal Twitter account Monday, Keyshawn Young announced that he will be continuing his playing career at Marshall.  The missive comes a little over a month after Young utilized the same social media website to confirm his transfer from the Trojans.

Barring an unexpected turn of events, Young will be forced to sit out the 2019 season to comply with NCAA transfer bylaws.  That would then make the 2020 season his final year of eligibility.

Young was a three-star member of the Trojans’ 2016 recruiting class.  The 5-11, 170-pound Florida native played in nine games, all at cornerback, during his true freshman season before moving to wide receiver prior to his sophomore campaign.  He didn’t catch a pass in either of the past two seasons.

In addition to Young, Randal Grimes (UNLV), Josh Imatorbhebhe (Illinois), Trevon Sidney (Illinois) are all receivers who have left the Land of Troy this offseason and found new homes.  Bru McCoy (Texas) and Velus Jones (NCAA transfer database) left as well before experiencing a change of heart and ultimately returning HERE and HERE.

QB Matt Fink reverses course, will remain at USC

Getty Images
2 Comments

This really is becoming a thing in the Land of Troy.

In early May, it was reported that Matt Fink, who the month before had decided to leave USC, would be transferring to Illinois; that move was subsequently confirmed by his own father. Not long after, however, the quarterback took to Twitter to state that he has not yet committed to continuing his collegiate playing career with anyone, including the Fighting Illini.

On his Instagram account Thursday evening, though, Fink indicated that he will remain at USC and continue his collegiate career with the Trojans.

“Thank you to all the coaches that have reached out to me and gave me an opportunity to continue my career elsewhere,” Fink wrote, “but after a long month of soul searching, I have decided that my football future will continue here at USC with this special ‘Band of Brothers.’ #FightOn‬Forever.”

A three-star 2016 signee, Fink completed 13-of-18 pass attempts for 89 yards and a touchdown in seven career games with the Trojans. The California product also ran for 106 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Fink’s reversal continues a remarkable string of about-faces and change of hearts that should greatly benefit Clay Helton‘s football program.

Bru McCoy, a five-star 2019 signee, transferred to Texas from USC and participated in spring practice with the Longhorns before returning to the Trojans.  Both defensive back Greg Johnson and wide receiver Velus Jones signaled a move away from USC earlier this offseason before doing twin about-faces at separate times and returning to the Trojans.

Tuesday of this week brought word of yet another reversal, albeit with a slightly different twist.

After announcing in early May that he would be transferring from FloridaChris Steele revealed not long after that he would be transferring to Oregon to continue his collegiate playing career. However, it is now being reported that Steele will be enrolling instead at USC. That development came after Steele took an official visit to Eugene but was subsequently seen on the USC campus with McCoy.

Two more USC players enter NCAA transfer portal, putting Trojans in double digits

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
7 Comments

The transfer portal was busy on the first day of March adding names from the USC Trojans. Defensive back Greg Johnson and wide receiver Velus Jones, according to reports from Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com, are the newest entries to the NCAA transfer portal this offseason. That brings the offseason transfer portal total up to 10 players for the Trojans at this point in time.

Johnson was a four-star recruit in USC’s Class of 2017. The Los Angeles native played in 10 games for the Trojans last fall after sitting out the 2017 season with a redshirt. In those 10 games, Johnson recorded 15 tackles and broke up three passes. He will have three years of eligibility remaining but will have to sit out the 2019 season if he lands at another FBS program. Of course, he could always try filing for a waiver to be eligible this fall too and hope the NCAA grants him immediate eligibility.

Jones was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2016. He has yet to find his role within the program though, and perhaps a change of scenery and a chance to break in with a new program will do him well. What makes this more troubling for USC is the Trojans now have seen four wide receivers enter the NCAA transfer portal, with Randal Grimes already having made his transfer to Minnesota official. And of course, this offseason was highlighted by the quick departure of early signing period commitment Bru McCoy, a five-star wide receiver, backing out of his decision to attend USC and later sign with Texas.

In all, there are at least 10 players currently showing up in the NCAA transfer portal from USC. Three players have officially moved on. A player in the transfer portal can officially make contact with other programs but is not necessarily officially gone from their current program. Players can withdraw their name from the portal at any time, as some players around the country have. We’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the players choosing to evaluate their options a bit more this offseason end up with their status at USC, but this has been quite a turbulent offseason for the Men of Troy.