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#pounditSunday, May 22, 2022

Articles tagged: USC Football

All-American WR announces transfer destination

Jordan Addison warming up

Sep 18, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) warms up before the game against the Western Michigan Broncos at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

All-American wide receiver Jordan Addison has a new home out west.

Addison announced Thursday that he will transfer from Pitt to USC, where he will play under coach Lincoln Riley. Addison thanked his coaches and teammates at Pitt in a statement, but said he would “continue my full development as a student athlete” with the Trojans.

Addison is a big get for USC. The reigning Biletnikoff winner was an All-American in 2021, he caught 17 touchdowns and tallied 1,593 receiving yards as a sophomore for the Panthers last season. He will have a chance to at least match those numbers in Riley’s high-powered offense with quarterback Caleb Williams throwing to him.

While Addison’s decision is not a big shock, it will definitely sting for Pitt. That’s especially true considering it sounds like the school already had some concerns about what may have gone on between USC and Addison before the wide receiver even entered the portal.

Lincoln Riley shares insulting comment about USC transfers

Lincoln Riley does Fight On sign

Lincoln Riley shared a pretty insulting comment about the transfers he has landed since taking the USC job.

Riley, who became USC’s head coach in November, shocked the college football world when he left Oklahoma for the job with the Trojans.

It didn’t take long for some of the recruits Riley had lined up at Oklahoma to flip to USC. Next, Riley started locking up some former Sooners players.

First, former Oklahoma receiver Mario Williams transferred to USC. Most recently, it was Caleb Wiliams who transferred from Oklahoma to USC.

In an interview with Colin Cowherd on Tuesday from Radio Row at the Super Bowl, Riley defended his transfers. He said he “didn’t take players from Oklahoma. We took players from the transfer portal.”

Come on, Lincoln. You really expect us to buy that? You recruited the players to Oklahoma. Then you got them to follow you to USC. You didn’t just pluck random players from the portal with whom you had no previous connection.

Does he really think he has us fooled with this kind of wordplay?

Photo: Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley poses with Fight on sign during a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Williams announces his transfer decision

Caleb Williams warming up

Caleb Williams has officially made a decision on where he will play football next season, and it is one that is hardly a shock.

Williams told ESPN’s Pete Thamel that he is transferring to USC. The move will reunite him with Lincoln Riley, who coached Williams at Oklahoma last season before Riley took the USC job.

“I wanted to go somewhere I thought would provide me with the best development both on and off the field,” Williams said. “Getting to know Coach Riley and gaining familiarity with his offense definitely played a part in my selection, as well as already knowing some the guys on the team.”

Williams also shared a USC hype video on Twitter.

Williams reportedly considered Georgia, UCLA and Wisconsin in addition to USC. He also contemplated remaining at Oklahoma, though that never seemed like a realistic option.

USC was the obvious choice for Williams as soon as he entered the transfer portal. The sophomore was given a chance to start at Oklahoma last year after Spencer Rattler struggled. He made the most of the opportunity. Williams had 1,912 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions in seven starts. He added 442 rushing yards and six rushing scores.

Williams will be the favorite to start for the Trojans in 2022. Two other QBs have transferred from USC, which paved the way for Williams to join Riley and step into a big role.

Photo: OU quarterback Caleb Williams is set to lead the Sooners against Oregon on Wednesday in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio

USC lands big running back transfer in Travis Dye

Travis Dye talks

Lincoln Riley is collecting transfers and recruits at USC.

Travis Dye, a former Oregon running back, has transferred to USC, the Trojans announced on Friday.

Dye took over as Oregon’s running back after CJ Verdell got hurt. He rushed for 1,271 yards and 16 touchdowns. Dye also had 46 catches for 402 yards and two touchdowns.

Dye is a graduate transfer, and his exit could signal Verdell is returning and that he did not want to share time.

This is USC’s second transfer in two days, as they also secured a transfer from former Stanford running back Austin Jones. The Trojans were looking for running back help after Keaontay Ingram declared for the NFL Draft.

Caleb Williams reportedly deciding between 2 schools

Caleb Williams warming up

A new report says that Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams has narrowed his potential transfer destinations down to two schools.

Williams is deciding between USC and LSU, according to Dean Blevins of KWTV. There is no indication when a decision may be made.

USC has long been Williams’ rumored destination. Some reports have even claimed it is a done deal, though this one runs counter to that. The Trojans have no clear No. 1 quarterback for 2022 with Kedon Slovis and Jaxson Dart transferring, and Lincoln Riley appears keen to bring Williams along from Oklahoma.

LSU hunting for a quarterback upgrade makes sense, as the Tigers likely are not sold on Garrett Nussmeier. Even if they are a finalist for Williams, however, it’s quite likely they are the underdogs to secure his commitment at this stage.

Photo: OU quarterback Caleb Williams is set to lead the Sooners against Oregon on Wednesday in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

Caleb Williams transfer to USC announcement coming soon?

Caleb Williams warming up

One of Lincoln Riley’s former Oklahoma players committed to USC on Saturday. An even more well-known former player of his could be committing to the school soon too.

Former Oklahoma wide receiver Mario Williams announced on Saturday that he was committed to the Trojans.

The LA Daily News’ Scott Wolf said in response to Mario’s announcement that Caleb was next.

BroBible’s Grayson Weir says an announcement could come as soon as Monday.

Caleb transferring to USC has been expected for a while. The rumor seemed even more likely to come true after Jaxson Dart left USC as a transfer.

USC had a QB competition between Dart and Kedon Slovis last season. Now they have neither. It makes too much sense for Caleb to transfer in and rejoin Riley.

Williams passed for 1,916 yards, 21 touchdowns and 4 interceptions as a freshman for the Sooners this past season.

Photo: OU quarterback Caleb Williams is set to lead the Sooners against Oregon on Wednesday in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

Lincoln Riley adds another ex-Oklahoma star at USC

Lincoln Riley does Fight On sign

Lincoln Riley continues to work the transfer portal to bring talent he knows well to USC.

Wide receiver Mario Williams, who played for Riley in 2021 at Oklahoma, announced Saturday that he will transfer to USC. The announcement was accompanied by a social media video of Williams posing in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Williams made an impact as a true freshman in 2021, catching 35 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns. A highly-touted recruit out of high school, his move to the Trojans will add further depth and talent to a rapidly improving roster.

There’s no reason to believe Riley is done working the transfer portal to bring in talent. In fact, there is some reason to believe the biggest name may be yet to come.

Photo: Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley poses with Fight on sign during a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jaxson Dart leaving USC could mean Caleb Williams is coming

Jaxson Dart

Another top quarterback has entered the college transfer portal, and the move could signal that USC head coach Lincoln Riley is planning to reunite with former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams.

USC quarterback Jaxson Dart entered the transfer portal on Monday, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.

Dart seemed to have a clear path to the starting job at USC after Kedon Slovis recently transferred to Pitt. Dart appeared in six games for the Trojans this past season and took over for Slovis after Slovis suffered a leg injury in early November. Dart, who is entering his sophomore season, threw for 1,353 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions.

There are likely only two reasons Dart would leave USC. One would be that he didn’t want to play for Riley. The other would be that he was told USC plans to bring in a transfer QB. That’s where Williams could enter the picture.

Williams, who took over for Spencer Rattler as Oklahoma’s starter last year, announced last week that he has entered the transfer portal. He did not rule out remaining with the Sooners, but that seems unlikely with another QB sneaking in behind him.

One report claimed an SEC powerhouse is the leading contender to land Williams. USC might make the most sense now that Dart is leaving.

Photo: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

CJ Stroud throws shade at USC, UCLA Football

CJ Stroud passing

CJ Stroud is from Southern California but left his home area to play college football at Ohio State. He believes he had some very good reasons for doing so.

Stroud’s Buckeyes will be facing Utah in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., which brings Stroud less than an hour away from his home in the Inland Empire. He talked Wednesday about players from SoCal leaving the area to play at programs elsewhere around the country. He attributed the moves to unimpressive fanbases for UCLA and USC.

“You go to USC and UCLA games, and quite honestly, it’s just kind of boring. Without all the people. They kind of just are there on vacation. You go to the other schools out of state and their fans are kind of like fanatics,” Stroud said, via Joe Reedy.

Stroud is right and wrong.

Stroud was too young to experience what the Coliseum was like when Pete Carroll was at USC. The Coliseum was rocking when Carroll was there, and the Trojans were one of the biggest attractions in town during their run of dominance. They were among Hollywood royalty, with Matt Leinart as well known as Paris Hilton. But when Stroud became a teenager and likely had more interest in football, USC was headed by Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, and Clay Helton. Those coaches had some measures of success and double-digit win seasons, but they left a lot to be desired, and the fan environment just wasn’t the same. Under Helton, the fan interest became dead. During that time is when USC would have been in position to recruit Stroud.

UCLA had some nice success early in Jim Mora’s tenure, but things leveled off, and then the Bruins were flat-out bad at the start of Chip Kelly’s tenure. Fan interest in UCLA Football has often been mediocre, and it’s never been helped by the stadium being an hour away from campus.

If both programs — especially USC — were better, then Stroud would have seen more excitement from the fan bases at the time that he was a recruit.

Overall though, the passion SEC fans and several Big Ten and Big 12 fans have for their teams just obliterates UCLA and USC in comparison. Both USC and UCLA have diehard fans, but they have way too many fair-weather fans. The amount of diehard Ohio State or Texas fans, for example, is much greater.

It’s not just the mediocre performances from both premier SoCal football programs recently that has resulted in this feeling; it’s the result of an attitude from a disinterested and almost disdainful administration. Many of the schools in the Pac-12, especially the ones in California, have just shown a lack of interest in investing in their football programs to compete with SEC programs or other top ones across the country. The leaderships at some of these schools almost seem proud of this notion, like they perversely receive enjoyment from canceling sporting events. The Pac-12 shut down and barely played football last season. Cal was the only program to shut down a game this regular season. UCLA flaked on a bowl game this week.

If you’re a top athlete, why would you go to one of the local schools that aren’t as invested in football as an Alabama or Clemson? That’s what Bryce Young and DJ Uiagalelei realized. Stroud saw it too.

But USC finally invested with a big hire in Lincoln Riley. That may get them as close to the Carroll days as possible. And if they achieve similar levels of success, Stroud and other top local players will see how electric it can be. UCLA still has a long way to go to disprove Stroud, especially after treating their diehard fans who traveled to San Diego like crap by canceling their bowl game hours before kickoff.

Photo: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-USC player arrested on federal charges for alleged COVID scheme

USC Trojans logo

A former USC football player was arrested this week and is facing several charges stemming from an alleged COVID-19-related fraud scheme.

Abdul-Malik McClain, who transferred from USC to Jackson State last November, was arrested on Monday in Los Angeles and charged with 10 counts of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. McClain and other football players are accused of orchestrating a scheme to claim COVID-related unemployment benefits.

McClain was indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 16 after prosecutors determined he and his associates filed more than 30 fraudulent applications seeking a total of more than $900,000. Roughly $227,000 of the money was paid out, according to Brian Rokos of the Los Angeles Daily News.

“While a member of his university’s football team, McClain organized and assisted a group of other football players in filing fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits, including under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program established by Congress in response to the pandemic’s economic fallout,” the indictment says. “The indictment … contained false information about the football players’ supposed prior employment, pandemic-related job loss, and job-seeking efforts in California.”

The players were allegedly mailed debit cards from Bank of America that were loaded with hundreds of thousands in unemployment benefits. They used the cards to withdraw cash from ATMs.

McClain was released after posting $20,000 bond. He is due back in court on Feb. 15. No other arrests were announced on Monday.

Abdul-Malik’s brother, Munir McClain, was suspended by USC last year amid a federal probe into unemployment benefit fraud. Munir has since transferred to Utah. The McClains said at the time that they applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and helped other USC players.

McClain, a linebacker, had three total tackles at Jackson State this season.