Blind long-snapper Jake Olson says he will play for USC

Tuesday September 15th, 2015

Jake Olson, a blind long-snapper who had hoped to walk on to the USC football team, will join the team as a player, he tweeted Monday.

A USC spokesman told ESPN that Olson would likely practice Tuesday, and coach Steve Sarkisian has previously said his goal was to have Olson long snap in a game.

Olson was waiting for clearance by the NCAA after receiving a scholarship for physically challenged athletes that the NCAA considered an athletic scholarship. That distinction created a problem for the USC football coaches, who did not have room on their roster for another scholarship player. Athletes who receive athletic scholarships cannot be classified as walk-ons.

Olson was the starting long-snapper for his high school football team at Orange Lutheran in California, despite having lost both of his eyes to a rare cancer of the retina by the time he was 12. He was born with the disease, called retinoblastoma, and had his left eye removed when he was just 10 months old.

He has been a fan of USC football his entire life.

The Trojans won their first two games of the season over Arkansas State and Idaho. Next they will take on Stanford at home on Saturday.

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