When a student-athlete enters the transfer portal, that player is likely gone. But in Clay Helton’s case, he still leaves the door open for his players.
Helton said during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” Friday that he is still open to having quarterback JT Daniels return to the team even though Daniels put his name in the portal.
“JT and I talk every week and [I’m] working with his family as he works through the process,” Helton told Eisen, via USCFootball.com. “JT is such a great kid, and a great player, and came to us in the spring and said, ‘Coach, I’d like to evaluate all my options for 2020. USC is one of those options.’ That door is being left open for him.”
Helton took the same approach with Trojans backup quarterbacks Matt Fink and Jack Sears. Fink entered the transfer portal last year but ended up returning to the team and serving as Kedon Slovis’ backup after Daniels suffered a torn ACL in the team’s opener. Sears put his name in the portal and was given the option to return to the team, though he ended up transferring to Boise State.
Helton is operating in a player-friendly fashion, and his strategy of handling his players who have interest in transferring in such a favorable manner will likely work to his benefit. In this case, it’s not hard to see why he would want Daniels to return. Daniels was a five-star recruit and started as a true freshman in 2018. He would be great insurance in case Slovis gets hurt, especially since USC lost Bryce Young to Alabama.