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  Vera-Tucker is the second Trojan starter in the trenches to declare his intention to skip the season. Defensive tackle Jay Tufele announced last month that he would enter the draft and signed with an agent, leaving USC shorthanded on its defensive front. Losing Vera-Tucker is an even more devastating blow to an offensive line that could ill afford to lose any depth. As a sophomore last season, Vera-Tucker emerged as USC's most consistent lineman from his spot at left guard, earning All-Pac-12 honors by season's end. His standout season nearly convinced him to declare for the draft last winter, but he chose to return with the promise of replacing Austin Jackson, who was drafted in the first round, at left tackle.

The question now turns to whether other Trojans might opt out before then. Safety Talanoa Hufanga has also been projected as a possible first-round pick. Wideout Amon-ra St. Brown is viewed as a likely top-100 selection, while fellow wideout Tyler Vaughns nearly declared after last season. Last week, shortly after Tufele made his decision, USC coach Clay Helton said he urged players to take their time in deciding on the draft. "You have all the way until the middle of January to make that decision," Helton said. "Don't rush the decision." Less than a week later, one of the Trojans' most talented prospects announced that he would opt out. - Los Angeles Times

(DS#2 OG) rJr/2021 OG *Alijah Vera-TuckerSouthern California
News Source: Los Angeles Times



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