USC’s defense was dealt a blow this week with the news that rush edge Romello Height’s season has been potentially cut short.
Height re-injured his shoulder against Stanford in Week 2 after dealing with the issue throughout training camp. After Height missed Week 3’s win over Fresno State, head coach Lincoln Riley said Thursday that Height had a procedure on the shoulder and would likely miss the rest of the 2022 season.
Height transferred from Auburn prior to spring practices and immediately solidified himself as the first-string rush edge for the Trojans. He started the first two games of the season, but left in the first quarter of the Stanford game without having recorded any statistics for the year.
The loss of Height is offset slightly by the emergence of Wyoming transfer Solomon Byrd, who recorded two sacks against Stanford and had a strip-sack against Fresno State.
While Byrd is expected to start at rush edge, Height’s injury will also provide an opportunity for sophomore Korey Foreman to get more snaps. The one-time blue-chip recruit has yet to have a true breakout moment as a Trojan, but will have more chances now.
“Korey’s improving and does a lot of really good things and I think he’ll get more consistent,” Riley said.
Riley also spoke about how the coaching staff developed more depth at the position as Height and Foreman dealt with injuries in fall camp. Redshirt senior Solomon Tuliaupupu, who battled through injuries for much of his first four seasons at USC, is an option after recording two tackles against Stanford and a half-sack in the season opener against Rice.
And Riley didn’t rule out the possibility of using some imagination with the position if the need arises.
“That’s where having a creative defensive staff is important. Because sometimes when you lose guys, you’ve got to think outside the box,” Riley said. “So we’ll continue to evaluate the roster, get guys in the best position. If we gotta adjust, we’ll adjust.”
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Trojans pick up a commit
Ontario Colony defensive lineman Deijon Laffitte announced his commitment to USC on Twitter on Thursday.
A three-star prospect according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, Laffitte is a 6-foot-3, 285-pound lineman. He also held offers from Boise State and Arizona.
Laffitte is the 18th member of USC’s 2023 recruiting class, which currently ranks 14th nationally, according to 247Sports.com. He is the fourth defensive lineman in the group and the second to commit in the last week, joining St. Frances Academy (Mary.) lineman Sam Greene.