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USC must add interior defensive line help in transfer portal, per Greg McElroy

Screen Shot 2024-05-28 at 9.09.17 AMby:Kaiden Smith05/07/24


The spring transfer portal window is officially closed, leaving coaches with a pool of uncommitted players to chose from if they want to make any more additions to their roster ahead of the 2024 season.

College football analyst Greg McElroy recently spoke about some of the positional needs that the nation’s top programs need to address through the transfer portal on Always College Football. Where he unveiled where the USC Trojans should look to strengthen their depth chart this offseason ahead of year three under Lincoln Riley.

“This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, it’s USC, they’ve had challenges in the past along the line of scrimmage defensively,” McElroy said. “So I’m gonna go interior defensive line for USC, that’s their highest priority.”

Riley has spoken about the Trojans’ need to get bigger up front, which the team did attempt address through additions like Bear AlexanderKyon BarrsAnthony Lucas, Nate Clifton, and Isaiah Raikes through the transfer portal in the past two offseasons. But the portal giveth, and the portal taketh away.

“Now they grabbed a huge piece when they went and added Isaiah Raikes from Texas A&M , because [he’s] 320 pounds, but now he’s off the roster. So now we’re back to the drawing board if you’re USC. You also lost Bear Alexander in the portal as well,” McElory said.

Alexander remains with USC after reports suggested that he’d be re-entering the transfer portal this offseason. Which is huge both literally and figuratively for the Trojans as they look to establish a new culture on defense after firing former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch last season following their Week 10 loss to Washington.

“So D’Anton Lynn as they’ve moved into this style of defense, the new defensive coordinator, they’re trying to get bigger, they’re trying to get bulkier, they’re trying to find more gap eaters,” McElory explained. “Guys that are 320 [pounds], 330 that can just hunker down and allow those linebacker to play over the top with a lot of speed agility.”

“So I would think that USC is putting all their premiums on trying to add depth and size to the defensive line.”

The Trojans were regarded as one of the worst defenses in the country last season after allowing 34.9 points per game, which ranked ninth worst in the country across the FBS. Bolstering up the defensive line could be able to take them a long way in improving, and it will be interesting to see if they look to do so moving forward this offseason with tackles like CJ West and Gavin Meyer still available in the transfer portal.