If USC has a football season this fall, the Trojans will likely be without sixth-year senior tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe, who has entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal.
247 Sports first reported the news that Imatorbhebhe had entered the portal.
Imatorbhebhe was expected to be the veteran leader of a deep tight end group for the Trojans in 2020. He’d been granted a sixth year of eligibility after being away from football for two seasons due to injuries.
Imatorbhebhe originally came to USC as a transfer from Florida in 2015. He sat out that season due to NCAA transfer rules, but had a major impact on USC’s 2016 season. He caught 17 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns, and was especially instrumental in USC’s road upset at Washington, where he set career highs with five catches for 87 yards and scored a touchdown.
Injuries plagued Imatorbhebhe for the rest of his USC career. His 2017 season was cut short, as he missed five games due to a hip injury. He finished the season with just eight receptions for 144 yards.
He missed the 2018 season due to what USC called an “upper leg muscle injury,” and then sat out the 2019 season while continuing to recover from that injury.
Imatorbhebhe was back on the field for the first and only practice of USC’s 2020 spring ball and looked sharp and healthy. But he’ll finish his USC career with 25 receptions for 394 yards, four touchdowns and plenty of disappointment related to those injuries from USC fans who only got to see glimpses of his potential.
Imatorbhebhe was named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2016 and won USC’s Community Service Award in 2018.
USC’s tight end spot remains a position of great interest moving forward under offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. While Harrell’s tight end at North Texas was a major focal point of the offense, USC tight ends combined for just 15 receptions in 2019, as the offense relied on four-receivers sets to move the ball. As a result, true freshman Drake London had a huge true freshman season and was featured prominently in a USC-produced video reviewing the Trojan tight ends’ production last year.
USC’s offensive staff appeared delighted to get him back in the fold this season, as tight ends coach John David Baker spoke glowingly of Imatorbhebhe earlier this year.
The Trojans return seniors Josh Falo and Erik Krommenhoek, as well as redshirt freshmen Jude Wolfe and Ethan Rae–and welcome true freshman Jack Yary–to the position room this season, so there are still plenty of options and plenty of talent to utilize.
Imatorbhebhe would have the option to return to USC if he cannot find a suitable transfer destination and head coach Clay Helton allows him to do so. Quarterback Matt Fink and wide receiver Velus Jones entered the portal previously and continued their USC careers. Jones has since transferred to Tennessee.
Imatorbhebhe is the older brother of former USC wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, who caught two passes in three years for the Trojans and subsequently transferred to Illinois. Imatorbhebhe had 33 receptions for 634 yards and nine touchdowns for the Illini. The touchdown mark fell just one short of trying the all-time Illinois record.