Dec 2, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Former Southern California Trojans tailback Reggie Bush on the Fox Sports television set at the Pac-12 Championship game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Trophy Trust to return 2005 Heisman to Reggie Bush

Due to an evolving landscape in college football, the Heisman Trust is set to return the 2005 Heisman Trophy to Reggie Bush, ESPN reported on Wednesday.

Bush won the 2005 Heisman Trophy in his final season at Southern California, where he amassed 3,169 rushing yards, gained 1,301 receiving yards and returned kickoffs and punts for a combined 2,081 yards. He totaled 42 touchdowns and also threw a 52-yard touchdown pass.

According to ESPN, the physical trophy is being returned to Bush by the trust and a replica will be returned to USC.

“Personally, I’m thrilled to reunite with my fellow Heisman winners and be a part of the storied legacy of the Heisman Trophy, and I’m honored to return to the Heisman family,” Bush said in a statement to ESPN. “I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust to advance the values and mission of the organization.”

In 2005, Bush was named first-team All-American and the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year.

But he was stripped of his Heisman and his stats in 2010 after a four-year investigation by the NCAA showed that Bush and his family took improper financial benefits, including cash and paid-for housing.

When name, image and likeness legislation was enacted in 2021, Bush asked the NCAA to reinstate his status. The Heisman Trust said at the time it would consider giving back his trophy if the NCAA agreed to reinstate him, but the organization declined.

In part due to a 2021 Supreme Court decision that questions the legality of the amateurism model, the Heisman Trust said it was forced to reconsider “reinstating” the 2005 award and welcoming Bush back to the annual award ceremony. Fellow Heisman winners, most recently former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame wide receiver Tim Brown, said they would skip future ceremonies unless Bush got his trophy back.

“We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments,” said Michael Comerford, president of The Heisman Trophy Trust, in a statement to ESPN. “We considered the enormous changes in college athletics over the last several years in deciding that now is the right time to reinstate the trophy for Reggie. We are so happy to welcome him back.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Berkeley, California, USA; USC Trojans defensive lineman Bear Alexander (90) gestures during the third quarter against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: USC DT Bear Alexander to re-enter transfer portal

Defensive tackle Bear Alexander plans to enter the transfer portal after one season with Southern California, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.

A coveted interior defender, Alexander is ranked the No. 1 defensive tackle in the transfer portal this offseason by 247 Sports. He had 47 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in 2023.

Alexander was at USC’s spring practice on Tuesday before news of his imminent departure leaked.

Wisconsin hired USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, leading to speculation Alexander could join the Badgers when the transfer portal officially is open on April 15.

But the Texas native is thought to be considering joining the overhauled Texas A&M defense.

The former five-star Georgia recruit’s next stop will be his eighth program in seven years dating to his high school days. He played for the Bulldogs as a freshman before leaving for USC.

–Field Level Media

Jul 29, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A detailed view of Southern California Trojans helmet during Pac-12 Media Day at Novo Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC flips 5-star Georgia commit Justus Terry, adds to 2025 class

Southern California landed commitments from two prized 2025 defensive line prospects on Sunday.

Five-star Justus Terry, who committed to his home-state Georgia on Jan. 16, 2023, flipped his allegiance to USC. Also selecting the Trojans on Sunday was four-star recruit Isaiah Gibson.

Terry is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 defensive lineman by the 247Sports composite. Gibson is slotted as the No. 8 edge rusher.

Coach Lincoln Riley’s 2025 class now has three commits, with Julian Lewis — the No. 4-ranked quarterback — the other. All three are from Georgia.

Terry, from Manchester, Ga., visited Los Angeles this weekend. He told 247Sports that his decision to decommit from Georgia was a “no-brainer,” citing both coaching and USC’s business school among his reasons.

“Coming from a small town, I wanted to expand my life as much as possible, and I felt like USC is the right place to do that,” he said.

–Field Level Media

Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams (QB14) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Williams greeted by Bears WR Keenan Allen at pro day

Quarterback Caleb Williams had a lot of eyes on him during Southern California’s pro day on Wednesday in Los Angeles, including those of new Chicago Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen.

Allen’s attendance is noteworthy considering Williams is the presumptive favorite to be selected by the Bears with the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft next month.

The two shared a quick embrace on the sideline Wednesday. If the Bears select Williams with the top overall pick on April 25 in Detroit, well, they’ll be spending even more time together.

“Hell of an athlete,” Allen said of Williams earlier this week. “Obviously, he can make tremendous plays with his feet, with his arm. Looks like he knows the game really well. Really good.”

Williams was quick to return the compliment on Wednesday.

“I’ve known Keenan for a little bit now, hung out,” Williams said, per NBC Sports Chicago. “He was at the Chargers. Now he’s at the Bears, he’s here for a fourth-round pick, which is crazy. He’s a beast, a good guy, and he can give you a lot of knowledge.”

Speaking of conversations, Bears general manager Ryan Poles was spotted talking with Caleb’s father, Carl, at the pro day, per the Chicago Tribune. Assistant general manager Ian Cunningham, head coach Matt Eberflus, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph also were in attendance on behalf of the Bears.

The Bears are in need of a starting quarterback after trading 2021 first-round selection Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick. That pick could become a fourth-rounder if Fields plays at least 50 percent of the snaps for Pittsburgh.

Williams, 22, passed for 3,633 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions in 12 games last season. Those statistics are one year removed from his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 2022, when he threw for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns and five picks. He also rushed for 21 scores in his two seasons with the Trojans after transferring from Oklahoma.

Allen, who turns 32 on April 27, was selected to his sixth Pro Bowl in 2023 when he had a career-high 108 receptions for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games.

–Field Level Media

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams talks with USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley during the first half of the game against No. 6 Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

USC QB Caleb Williams opts out of medical testing

INDIANAPOLIS — Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams continues to make waves with contrarian decisions at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he made the call to opt out of standard medical testing.

“I’m doing the medical stuff,” Williams said in a packed media session at the combine on Friday morning. “Just not here in Indy. Not 32 teams can draft me. There’s only one of me. So the team that I go to for my visits, those teams will have the medical and that’ll be it.”

Williams is the top player on the draft board for many teams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner who starred at Oklahoma as a freshman before following Lincoln Riley to USC. But rejecting the protocol of the pre-draft process will raise red flags for some of the other teams.

National Football Scouting oversees most elements of the annual combine in Indianapolis, and the goal of being a one-stop shop for scouts and general managers includes a routine physical and medical testing to give every team access to a universal medical evaluation of each player. All 321 prospects invited to the combine are informed of the schedule of events directly and through their certified player representatives.

But Williams doesn’t have an agent and instead will be communicating with prospective employers through his father and a hand-selected support staff.

Williams said declining the medical testing was a personal decision. For reference, Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was still tied up with doctors on Friday morning when his required interview with media was scheduled. Players who undergo extensive MRI exams and X-rays because of past injuries have spent more than eight hours at the hospital in Indianapolis where prospects are poked and prodded.

There are no known significant or long-term injury concerns with Williams. He played with a hamstring strain in 2022 and injured the pinky finger on his right (throwing) hand last season.

After meeting with the Chicago Bears for a formal interview, Williams said not to read into the decision as an indication he knows where he’ll be drafted, but “I don’t think that I’m not going to be No. 1,” he said.

“They were awesome,” Williams said of his first in-person talks with the Bears. “I spoke more about ball and things like that because the interviews are so short. It was more about them getting to know me.”

Williams is one of four quarterback prospects with firm first-round grades from Field Level Media. From that group, only Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy will participate in Saturday’s on-field throwing session.

It’s common for top quarterbacks to delay at least the throwing portion of their workouts to the more-comfortable, well-scripted pro day setting on their college campuses. Williams, who passed for 10,082 yards and 93 touchdowns in three college seasons, is scheduled to be the featured attraction at the USC pro day on March 20.

LSU’s Jayden Daniels, the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner, and North Carolina’s Drake Maye are considered likely top-10 picks and could compete with Williams to go No. 1 overall. Neither quarterback plans to participate in on-field testing or throwing at the combine.

Speculation the Washington Commanders are considering moving up in a trade to get Williams, who grew up in the D.C. region, continues percolating after owner Josh Harris sat in on interviews with multiple prospects in Indianapolis this week.

Daniels said he met with Washington in a meeting that included head coach Dan Quinn, offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and Harris.

–Field Level Media

Oct 20, 2023; Carrollton, GA, USA; Carrollton Trojans quarterback Julian Lewis (10) scrambles out of the pocket against the Westlake Lions during the first half at Grisham Stadium. The 15-year-old Carrollton High student has already committed to playing for the University of Southern California Trojans and has been considered one of the top high school quarterback prospects. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Top football recruit to start USC early, reclassifying to Class of ’25

The top high school football player in the class of 2026 intends to start college a year early, according to ESPN on Tuesday.

Quarterback Julian Lewis out of Carrollton High School in Georgia told ESPN he plans to reclassify to enter college as part of the class of 2025.

“Since I was 7 years old, one of my goals has been to play Division I football,” Lewis told ESPN. “Through hard work and sacrifice that goal has become a reality. I have been blessed to have two good seasons under Coach Joey King and I have confidence that after this coming season I will be ready to compete at the next level.

“So, after much prayer and talking with my family, coaches and trainers I will be reclassifying to the class of 2025.”

Lewis committed to USC in August after many other top programs recruited him, including the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Oregon.

As part of the Class of 2025, Lewis ranks as the No. 14 overall prospect in the country with a 10.12 Y/A and 25 career wins, according to 247Sports.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) scrambles during the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

USC QB Caleb Williams, potential No. 1 pick, enters NFL draft

USC quarterback Caleb Williams entered the 2024 NFL Draft and is projected to be in the running for the No. 1 overall pick.

“Since I was 10, all I ever wanted to do was to play football,” Williams wrote on X. “The journey would be empty without the people who have supported and loved me. I will Fight On forever and rep Hornsdown4Life. I’m ready to do whatever it takes. I am officially declaring for the NFL Draft.”

Considered the likely No. 1 overall selection in the draft, Williams passed for 3,633 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions in 12 games this season. Though Williams’ numbers were strong, the Trojans finished with a disappointing 8-5 record (5-4 Pac-12). They won the Dec. 17 Holiday Bowl over Louisville, 48-28, but Williams decided to sit out the game.

The first pick in the draft is currently held by the Chicago Bears, who are weighing whether to keep the selection after trading the No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers last year. Under consideration for the Bears is whether Williams could be a better fit, a matter that involves the financial commitment pending from the franchise to 2021 first-rounder Justin Fields.

Williams isn’t the only candidate for the top pick in a class with strong talent at the position. North Carolina’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix are part of the deep pool of quarterbacks.

In 2022, his first season with the Trojans, Williams had 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns and five interceptions in 14 games on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. USC started 11-1 that season before losing to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game and to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.

As a freshman in 2021 at Oklahoma, Williams passed for 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns and four interceptions before making the jump to USC.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; UNLV Rebels quarterback Jayden Maiava (1) roles out to pass against Kansas Jayhawks defensive lineman Jereme Robinson (90) during the first quarter in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-UNLV QB Jayden Maiava flips transfer commitment from Georgia to USC

Former UNLV quarterback Jayden Maiava is joining Southern California after announcing he was transferring to Georgia on Monday.

The reversal comes as the offseason QB carousel spun a 2023 top prospect, Malachi Nelson, to Boise State from USC, which expects 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams to enter the 2024 NFL Draft.

Maiava’s commitment gives the Trojans a competition at the position involving Miller Moss, who threw six touchdown passes in the Holiday Bowl with Williams opting out.

Georgia starter Carson Beck returns for the Bulldogs in 2024 but five-star recruit Dylan Raiola flipped to Nebraska and Brock Vandagriff, a four-star quarterback prospect in the 2021 class, transferred to Kentucky.

Maiava had 3,085 passing yards and 17 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 14 games as a redshirt freshman in 2023.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Berkeley, California, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Malachi Nelson (8) before the game against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

QB Malachi Nelson, ’23 No. 1 recruit, transfers from USC to Boise St.

Boise State landed the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2023, as quarterback Malachi Nelson announced on Saturday night that he is leaving Southern California after one season.

Per 247Sports, Nelson was the No. 24 overall available player in the portal.

“Boise, this is it,” Nelson said on X. “Committed #BleedBlue”

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Nelson — a former five-star prospect — threw just three passes for USC this season, sitting behind 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and Miller Moss.

Nelson, who entered the transfer portal on Dec. 18, committed to Oklahoma when Lincoln Riley was the coach before opting to go to USC when Riley took the job with the Trojans.

Nelson was California’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2022, throwing for 2,898 yards, 35 touchdowns and four interceptions.

He will play for new Broncos head coach Spencer Danielson, who was promoted from interim coach on Dec. 3. Danielson went 3-0 and guided Boise State to the Mountain West Conference championship.

Quarterback Taylen Green transferred from Boise State to Arkansas this offseason after completing 57.1 percent of his passes for 1,752 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 games in 2023.

Broncos quarterback Maddux Madsen is returning to the program, but he was limited to nine games last season due to injury. He completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,191 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Berkeley, California, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Malachi Nelson (8) before the game against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Report: QB Malachi Nelson to visit to Boise State

Quarterback Malachi Nelson, a top prospect in the 2023 class, has scheduled a visit to Boise State, his first since entering the transfer portal, ESPN reported Thursday.

Nelson was listed as the No. 1 overall recruit in his class by ESPN — the 247Sports composite ranked him No. 12 — when he chose Southern California coming out of nearby Los Alamitos High School.

With 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams entrenched at the quarterback position, Nelson played in just one game with the Trojans, completing 1 of 3 pass attempts for no gain.

ESPN reported that Boise State could be the favorite for Nelson, who wants to transfer to a “blue-collar program” where he would have the chance to win a starting spot immediately.

Boise State has an opening for a starter with the transfer of Taylen Green to Arkansas.

Coming out of high school, Nelson was considered by a variety of recruiters to be the top quarterback in the class, even better than Arch Manning, who landed at Texas. Nelson twice was named the California Gatorade Player of the Year and was recruited by college football’s blue bloods, including Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama.

Boise State was 8-6 in the 2023 season and won the Mountain West title but lost to UCLA 35-22 in the LA Bowl with CJ Tiller ineffective at quarterback in place of Green.

–Field Level Media