Ex-USC Fullback Practices with Scout Team

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Orange County Register (California)


USC brought former fullback Soma Vainuku to practice Tuesday to work out as the scout team running back.

"He was very welcome," Coach Clay Helton said.

Vainuku played for the Trojans from 2011-15, before he was signed as undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans last spring.

He was waived in September and has yet to be picked up by an NFL team.

This practice is increasingly commonplace and permitted by NCAA rules. Alabama and Cal have invited former players to practice this season.

The NCAA rulebook says a player may practice on an "occasional basis, provided the institution does not publicize the participation of the former student at any time before the practice session."

Graduate assistant Mike Goff, a former NFL center and offensive guard, worked out with the offensive and defensive line.

Helton said they needed some extra depth because of injuries.


USC moved up to No. 13 from No. 20 in the College Football Playoff rankings that were released Tuesday.

It is its highest position since the rankings debuted with the four-team playoff in 2014.

The Trojans are the highest ranked three-loss team and came ahead of several one- and two-loss teams.

"When you talk to the coaches that are in the selection committee room, I don't think any of them if they were coaching today would want to play that Southern California team right now," said Kirby Hocutt, the CFP committee chairman.


USC posted a graduate-success rate score of 67 percent, as part of the figures released by the NCAA on Tuesday. It was the school's highest score for football, although second to last in the Pac-12. It includes a 2006-09 cohort. ... Defensive tackle Josh Fatu is 50-50 "at best," Helton said, to play Saturday at UCLA due to an ankle sprain. Fatu is in a walking boot. ... Sophomore linebacker Porter Gustin was limited because of an ankle injury. ... Running back Ronald Jones was limited with a knee bruise. ... Cornerback John Plattenburg (illness) was out.

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November 17, 2016


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