The early signing period doesn’t begin until Wednesday, but USC got a head start on adding future talent to the roster, as defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher announced his intention to join the Trojans out of the transfer portal.
Sopsher, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle, signed with Alabama in the 2019 class as the nation’s No. 47 overall recruit out of Amite (La.) High School. He played in just one game as a true freshman and did not play in four games this season before entering his name into the transfer portal in October.
Sopsher did well to change is body over this past offseason, as he dropped from 334 pounds down to 310 and teammates said his quickness and athleticism was more evident at the lower weight.
Out of high school, Sopsher whittled his final schools down to a final seven that included Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Ole Miss, Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M.
While he has virtually no production at the college level through two years, this is a big addition for a USC program that needed to add bodies to the middle of the defensive line. USC already lost Jay Tufele early to the 2021 NFL Draft and fellow tackle Marlon Tuipulotu is playing well enough this season that following Tufele to the NFL after this season could be a real possibility. Brandon Pili could return for another season if he chooses to thanks to the NCAA rule this year that freezes the eligibility of all athletes for one year. But beyond that, USC would be reliant on several young players hopefully making a significant jump from this season to next.
Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Trevor Trout is a candidate to take a medical redshirt and end his playing career at USC.
The Trojans then have redshirt freshmen Stanley Ta’ufo’ou, De’jon Benton and Maninoa Tufono, as well as true freshmen Kobe Pepe and Jamar Sekona. All have very limited playing time this season.
USC has commitments from two defensive linemen in the 2021 recruiting class, in four-star tackle Jay Toia and three-star defensive end Colin Mobley. The Trojans are very much in the mix for No. 1 overall prospect Korey Foreman and adding Sopsher to that mix gives defensive line coach Vic So’oto and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando a nice influx of talent up front.