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BREAKING NEWS: USC Football Star Defender Bounces for Transfer Portal – REPORT – 2024 Offseason

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In a somewhat delayed move compared to others, the USC football program experienced the departure of one of its standout defenders to the transfer portal on Tuesday. Despite boasting one of the nation’s most potent offensive units last season, USC struggled defensively, conceding an average of 34.4 points per game. However, former four-star recruit and Georgia Bulldogs transfer Bear Alexander made a notable impact for the Trojans, ranking among the top six in categories such as sacks, tackles for loss (TFLs), and tackles. Regrettably for USC, Alexander has decided to enter the transfer portal, signaling the conclusion of his brief stint with the Pac-12 team, as reported by Hayes Fawcett of On3 Sports.

The effects of the transfer portal have been felt beyond just USC. Tuesday witnessed a flurry of activity, with teams such as the Miami Hurricanes and the Oregon State Beavers also losing key players. The Hurricanes will need to adapt to the absence of edge rusher Nyjalik Kelly, who announced his departure from Miami, while the Beavers face the potential loss of former 1,000-yard rusher Damien Martinez. The prevalence of the transfer portal and the empowerment of players through NIL agreements continue to actively reshape the landscape of college football.

 

Defensive lineman Bear Alexander has announced his departure from USC Football.

Oct 14, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley talks on his headset in the third quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Bear Alexander, a former four-star recruit, will be entering the transfer portal after just one season with the USC Trojans. Alexander began his college career with the Georgia Bulldogs in 2022, where he showed promise despite limited playing time, recording nine tackles, three tackles for loss (TFLs), and two sacks across 12 games. Notably, he made an impact with two TFLs during a College Football Playoff Championship game against the TCU Horned Frogs before deciding to transfer.

Upon joining USC in 2023, Alexander had a notable season, totaling 48 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, and 1.5 sacks across 13 games. He led the Trojans in forced fumbles with two and quarterback hurries with four. Standing at six-foot-three and weighing 313 pounds, Alexander earned recognition on the Phil Steele All-Pac-12 First-Team. One of his standout performances occurred in late September against Arizona State, where he contributed five tackles, 1.5 TFLs, and a sack in a victory for the Trojans.

With Alexander’s departure, there’s potential for Texas A&M transfer Isaiah Raikes to step up on the defensive line. Raikes, who recorded three TFLs last season for the Aggies, could be in line to fill the void left by Alexander’s departure.

 

The USC Trojans are preparing for the post-Caleb Williams era.

 

Oct 14, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley talks on his headset in the third quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Under the leadership of Lincoln Riley, the USC Trojans will navigate the gridiron without quarterback and projected future first-overall draft pick Caleb Williams for the first time. Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy Award winner, amassed impressive stats during his tenure with 8,170 passing yards, 72 touchdowns, and ten interceptions in two seasons with the team. In his absence, the Trojans are likely to turn to redshirt junior quarterback Miller Moss, who showcased his abilities with a standout performance in last season’s finale, throwing for 372 yards and six touchdowns on 23-of-33 passing against Louisville in the Holiday Bowl.

Furthermore, USC has bolstered its quarterback depth with the addition of signal-caller Jayden Maiava through the transfer portal. Maiava, who accumulated 3,085 passing yards and 17 touchdowns with UNLV last season, adds further depth and competition to the Trojans’ quarterback room.

Despite the transition, USC aims to return to the upper echelon of college football by targeting a place within the top ten of the AP rankings by the end of the season—a feat the team has not accomplished since 2016.


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