Last week it was announced that freshman defensive tackle Jay Toia entered the NCAA transfer portal.
The Southern California native graduated high school a semester early and started his college training with the Trojans in spring of 2021. Toia had received several college offers but decided to commit to USC back in 2018.
However, Toia's feelings have changed when it comes to his long-term future at USC. The Inglewood native was set to compete for playing time at the defensive tackle position, but without playing his first down as a Trojan, he decided to enter the portal and "take a closer look at [his] options."
In a social media post, Toia wrote a heartfelt message to the USC community citing, "a week ago today I made one of the toughest decisions in my young life as a 17 year old... I entered the transfer portal from my childhood dream school the USC Trojans."
Toia went on to say, "the 2020 pandemic was tragic to so many that lost so much. For me and especially my parents we felt forced to make a major decision signing with USC based on limited information because of COVID-19 restrictions. We were not able to take any official of unofficial visits to any of the other schools on our short list such as Michigan, Utah, UCLA, Miami among others.“
Toia thanked Clay Helton and USC's staff for their support as he searches for a new home ahead of the 2021 season.
The loss of Toia is another hole USC's defense will need to fill this year. With the loss of veteran senior Brandon Pili, to a torn Achilles in spring camp, the defensive line depth continues to waver. Toia had an excellent spring camp debut, and played so well that he was potentially a contender to start this season.
The 6'2", 315-pound defender was rated as the No. 173 overall prospect in the 2021 class and the No. 13 defensive tackle, according to the 247Sports.
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