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Trojans lose Isiah Wiley but gain two players on defense

Isiah Wiley, a senior cornerback, is academically ineligible for the season, but linebacker Marquis Simmons and cornerback Brian Baucham are cleared to play.

August 24, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • Lane Kiffin announced that cornerback Isiah Wiley was academically ineligible for the season Friday.
Lane Kiffin announced that cornerback Isiah Wiley was academically ineligible… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

USC's roster, in flux because of NCAA sanctions, came into clearer focus Friday when Coach Lane Kiffin announced that cornerback Isiah Wiley was academically ineligible for the season and that linebacker Marquis Simmons and cornerback Brian Baucham had been cleared to play.

USC has until Monday, the first day of fall semester classes, to have its roster at 75 scholarship players, 10 fewer than the allowable maximum.

Kiffin again declined to specify how many players were on scholarship, but the Trojans are apparently hovering at a few below their NCAA-mandated limit.

"We're definitely not over," he said. "I'll leave it at that."

Kiffin also had no update on receiver Darreus Rogers, an incoming freshman who did not attend summer classes at USC and has been absent from training camp while awaiting clearance from the NCAA's Eligibility Center.

Wiley, a senior who transferred from Arizona Western Community College last year, started the final six games last season after Torin Harris and Anthony Brown suffered season-ending injuries. He has not been practicing or attending workouts.

"We didn't want to invest a lot of time in guys that we weren't sure whether they were going to be here," Kiffin said. "Now, all of a sudden, we'd be sitting here . . . going 'Now what do we do?'

"The blow is not as big, I think, because of the way that we went about it."

Wiley is not expected to remain at USC.

Simmons also was not practicing while awaiting word about his academic status. The fourth-year junior, who is coming off neck surgery, is expected to bolster the linebacker corps and special teams.

"Any time that your numbers are where ours are at," Kiffin said, "every small win we can get is big."

Baucham was academically ineligible last season. He was elated to learn that he could play as a fifth-year senior.

"It was nerve-racking," he said. "I've been doing everything I can possibly do to do the right things, and I came out on the good side this time."

Mock game

USC will play a mock game Saturday at Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field in preparation for next week's opener at the Coliseum against Hawaii.

After practice, the Trojans bused to a hotel where they were scheduled to spend Friday night and Saturday morning in pregame routines.

Kiffin said the mock game would not include heavy physical contact.

"Just getting used to the format for the game and how it flows," he said.

Quick hits

Kevin Graf, the starting right tackle, said the offensive line was eager to show what it can do in a game. "The way we ended last year and the way we've picked up from this camp has been strong," he said. . . . Middle linebacker Lamar Dawson and defensive end Wes Horton remained sidelined because of injuries. . . . USC's annual "Salute to Troy" event will be held Saturday night at Cromwell Field. . . . New graduate assistant Ross Cumming played linebacker, fullback and on special teams for the Trojans from 2008 to 2011. "He's probably the only person in our building who could explain our offense, defense and special teams," Kiffin said.

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