USC Injury Report: Markese Stepp is looking "phenomenal"
Claudette Montana Pattison
Clay Helton provided an injury update on Thursday morning. The following players have returned from injury and are showing positive signs of improvement.
WR Joshua Jackson (ankle)
Jackson a freshman from Narbonne High School, enrolled at USC in spring of 2020 after graduating early from high school. The 2019 PrepStar All American will compete for playing time at the wide receiver position this year. Jackson suffered an ankle injury in camp but has "practiced well this week" (Helton).
LB Kana'i Magua (hamstring)
Junior inside linebacker Kana'i Magua, "has practiced the last two days and has done a nice job" (Helton). Magua was moved to inside linebacker from outside linebacker prior to spring practice in 2019 and looks to be a starter in 2020.
LB Drake Jackson (hamstring)
Jackson made an impressive debut as a freshman defensive player and is projected to be a key difference maker for the Trojans this season. Todd Orlando mentioned that Jackson will be a 'hybrid player" this year.
"He's going to be more towards the line of scrimmage you know have the ability. It's really a 3/4 outside backer that has the ability to play at the line of scrimmage. There [were] times when they dropped him last year and there was times when he pass rushed and so your gonna see him do some different stuff out there. So when you think about the term linebacker you're not necessarily thinking about being off the football and playing that way. He's a guy that has flexibility athletic ability that we can do some different things with, obviously he's an elite pass rusher so we got to be mindful of that."(Orlando)
According to Clay Helton, Jackson suffered a hamstring injury in camp but "has practiced the last two days and is feeling good" (Helton).
RB Markese Stepp (foot)
Stepp, a redshirt sophomore, suffered a season ending ankle injury against Arizona in 2019. Helton reported on Thursday that, "he got a new injury, a mid foot sprain and it was just a small one but one that needed to settle down for a second. And [he needed to] get some confidence back. Obviously when you are a 230 pound man that has to stick his foot in the ground and gets hit every time you touch the ball. We are ultra protective with him especially coming off an injury, it was a new injury and a minor one but he has looked phenomenal the last two days" (Helton).
RB Vavae Malepeai (hamstring)
Malepeai a redshirt senior tailback has been battling a hamstring injury during camp but is "start[ing] to do individual drill work." (Helton) He is a 1,000 yard career rusher and will look to return as a starter for the trojans as long as he can stay healthy.
WR Gary Bryant Jr. (ankle)
Freshman Gary Bryant Jr. out of Riverside CA, enrolled early at USC in the spring and looks to compete for playing time at the wide receiver position this year. Battling an ankle injury in camp, Helton reported Thursday morning that he was "running program and changing direction on the grass yesterday and looked really good. So hopefully anticipating him back for game week" (Helton).
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