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USC's Dion Bailey expected to announce decision to leave for NFL

The Trojans safety tweets that he will make an announcement at noon Monday. Receiver Marqise Lee also is expected to announce his decision soon.

December 22, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • USC safety Dion Bailey (18) breaks up a pass intended for Utah's Geoff Norwood during the second half of the Trojans' 19-3 win this season.
USC safety Dion Bailey (18) breaks up a pass intended for Utah's Geoff… (Rod Veal / MCT )

USC safety Dion Bailey is expected to announce Monday that he will forgo his final year of eligibility and make himself available for the NFL draft.

On Sunday, Bailey posted on his Twitter feed that he would announce his decision Monday at noon.

After the Trojans' 45-20 Las Vegas Bowl victory over Fresno State on Saturday, Bailey said that if he leaves he would be proud to have been part of two 10-win seasons, to have started at two positions and to have graduated. He said returning would offer an opportunity to improve, play for a conference title and perhaps earn postseason honors.

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"I feel I'm in the best position an athlete can be in," he said.

Receiver Marqise Lee, who is regarded as a possible first-round NFL draft pick, also is expected to announce soon that he will make himself available for the draft.

Lee caught two touchdown passes in the Las Vegas Bowl and, with injuries behind him, once again demonstrated the skills that earned him the 2012 Biletnikoff Award as college football's top receiver. Lee took a victory lap of sorts at Sam Boyd Stadium, and said that it would be "perfect, an amazing way to go" out if it turned out to be his last game with the Trojans.

But he also indicated that, on some level, it would be a difficult decision.

"Now you see what we're capable of," he said.

Bailey and Lee are among several draft-eligible players who will make decisions in the coming days and weeks. Others include cornerback Josh Shaw, linebacker Hayes Pullard, center Marcus Martin, guard Aundrey Walker, defensive lineman George Uko and tight end Randall Telfer. Tight end Xavier Grimble has said that he would probably return for a final season.

New Coach Steve Sarkisian is expected to meet with players and their parents to discuss their plans.

Sarkisian also is expected to complete his staff in the next few weeks.

Offensive coordinator Clay Helton, who guided the Trojans to their Las Vegas Bowl victory, will remain and Sarkisian previously announced that receivers coach Tee Martin would be back next season.

Sarkisian already has hired former Washington assistants Johnny Nansen, Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmon, who were recruiting in the weeks leading up to the Las Vegas Bowl.

Nansen has coached the defensive line, special teams and running backs. Heyward coaches the secondary, Sirmon linebackers.

Sarkisian said after his introductory news conference Dec. 3 that he planned to reach out to Ed Orgeron, the Trojans' former defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator who had served as interim coach after Lane Kiffin was fired. Orgeron abruptly left the program after Athletic Director Pat Haden hired Sarkisian.

During an interview on ESPN-AM (710) on Sunday, Sarkisian reiterated that he would reach out to Orgeron.

Tosh Lupoi, Washington's defensive line coach, was regarded as Sarkisian's first choice to fill that spot on his USC staff.

But the NCAA is investigating allegations, first reported by The Times, that Lupoi paid for private tutoring and online courses for Andrew Basham, a recruit who signed with Washington in February but did not qualify academically to enroll.

Lupoi has denied violating NCAA rules in the recruitment of Basham.

A person with knowledge of USC's hiring process told The Times last week that the chance of Lupoi being hired by USC was "less than zero."

If the allegations are found to be true, Sarkisian could face penalties, including suspension, unless he can prove that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored his staff.

Sarkisian told reporters and also players' parents that if he is questioned by the NCAA he could prove he promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored staff.

Sarkisian attended the Las Vegas Bowl and said he was eager to coach the players he has thus far only observed.

"Now I get to get my hands on them and get going," he said. "And there's a lot to work with, that's for sure."

Quick hits

Gardena Serra High quarterback Jalen Greene made a commitment to USC with plans to enroll in January. Greene had previously committed to Boise State before switching to Washington.

Twitter: @latimesklein

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