Cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart Might Be Available Vs. Arizona as USC Features Four New Starters on Defense
True freshman defensive back Dorian Hewett is set to make the first start of his career Saturday. It will mark his first appearance on defense altogether for USC.
His backup, though, might be the cornerback he's filling in for.
The coaching staff is hopeful that redshirt freshman Isaac Taylor-Stuart, who's nursing an ankle sprain and was a partial participant in Thursday's practice, will be available for limited snaps against Arizona, sources told SI. Coach Clay Helton called Taylor-Stuart a "game-time decision.”
"He's pushing as hard as he can," Helton said.
First-year cornerback Jayden Williams also figures to rotate with Hewett, who moved from safety in fall practice. Hewett and Williams have been playing special teams thus far.
Cornerback Olaijah Griffin (back) did not practice all week and is considered doubtful, opening the door for rookie Chris Steele to make his third start of the season. True freshman Max Williams will start at nickelback in place of the injured Greg Johnson (shoulder). Kaulana Makaula, who made his USC debut last week against Notre Dame, will be the backup at nickel.
Weakside linebacker Palaie Gaoteote (ankle) remains in a walking boot and has been ruled out. Sophomore reserve Kana'i Mauga will debut in the starting lineup as a result, while Helton mentioned true freshman Ralen Goforth could be called upon to spell Mauga.
Wide receiver Tyler Vaughns returned to practice Thursday after sitting out a day with back stiffness.
-- Adam Maya is a USC graduate and has been covering the Trojans since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJMaya.