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USC football loses more players to transfer portal


Isaiah Raikes’ nameplate over his locker barely had settled in, but USC’s latest great hope at defensive line already is looking for a new home.

Raikes and defensive back Tre’Quon Fegans were removed from USC’s online roster this weekend as the transfer portal sets to open Monday. Freshman offensive lineman Jason Zandamela, a four-star prospect at a position that the Trojas have struggled to recruit recently, announced his intention to transfer last week.

Raikes’ departure leaves a 6-foot-2, 320-pound hole in the interior of a defensive line that is in need of a bounce-back season under first-year coordinator D’Anton Lynn. The nose tackle was expected to anchor the defensive front along with returner Bear Alexander.

But entering the final week of spring practice, which ends next Saturday with USC’s spring game, Riley is encouraged by the talent the Trojans still have on the defensive line. Alexander, who flirted with the transfer portal briefly, affirmed his commitment to the team this week, and Vanderbilt transfer Nate Clifton also has stood out.

“Once we got a chance to lay out our situation to him and him to us, it was an immediate fit, like no-brainer for both sides and that one just feels great,” Riley said of Clifton. “He’s been a good presence in our locker room, a really good presence on the field.”

Fegans, who transferred from Alabama before last season, had nine tackles in limited playing time. He was in the mix to compete for an opening in the secondary — where the Trojans have to replace starters at four of five defensive back positions — but was at risk getting buried again in a crowded room.

In addition to returner Jacobe Covington, freshman cornerback Marcelles Williams is emerging as a spring camp star, Riley said. The younger brother of former USC safety Max Williams, Marcelles has been “unusually consistent” for a freshman while also making explosive plays like interceptions during a team period this week and another pick during a scrimmage Saturday.

“He’s a confident kid and he’s been around this program a lot,” Riley said. “I think that’s helped him to come in not really wide-eyed, and just ready to come in and compete. And obviously from his family history, I think there’s probably an understanding of kind of what it really takes at this level.”

Cornerback John Humphrey was establishing himself as a potential impact player but will miss the rest of the spring because of a recent medical procedure, Riley said. The UCLA transfer from Pasadena, who followed Lynn across town, is not expected to miss time this fall.


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