The eligibility status of three Trojans was settled Friday. USC head coach Lane Kiffin announced redshirt junior Marquis Simmons and redshirt senior Brian Baucham will remain with the team in 2012, receiving grades from summer school that will keep them academically eligible for the season.
Senior Isiah Wiley, however, is not as lucky. Wiley has been ruled ineligible to play at USC in 2012 and will lose his athletic scholarship.
"There were really three of our guys that we were waiting for final academic word on," Kiffin explained. "Marquis Simmons and Brian Baucham are completely eligible for next season, and Isiah Wiley is not unfortunately."
Asked if Wiley would remain at USC for the school year, Kiffin said "I don't know that. I know that he wants to play, so he's going to have to figure that out. If we can help him, we'll help him."
Wiley transferred to USC in 2011 from Arizona Western Junior College. He started the last six games of the season at cornerback.
While any loss of a teammate hurts, Kiffin says the team has been practicing throughout fall camp as though Wiley would not be returning, therefore his departure causes no real setback.
"We had kind of moved forward as you can tell, from not having him here at camp and so from that point it worked," he said. "We didn't want to invest a lot of time in guys that we weren't sure they were going to be here. I think the blow isn't as big because of the way we went about it."
Kiffin says while unfortunate, Wiley serves as an example and lesson for everyone on the team.
As for the return of Simmons, Kiffin says it will certainly help the Trojans to have another able body at practice, especially at linebacker.
"It's good especially on special teams as well," he said. "Anytime your numbers are where ours are at, any small window you can get is big. So a lot of long talks today with him. He's fortunate to have made it, and hopefully that was a wakeup call."
Mock Game Saturday
No, it is not a scrimmage, but the Trojans will hold a mock game during Saturday's practice.
"It'll be a lot more situational stuff," Kiffin said, noting the practice will not be physically demanding "at all".
"It will be for all the substitutions from offense to defense, different types on the field," he said, "to special teams and back."
Kiffin says the mock game will get the team ready for the format and flows of a live game. It should also provide coaches from the sideline and in the box with a feel for a live game situation.
The Trojans began preparing Thursday for their season opener September 1st against Hawaii in the Coliseum, which was sold out as of Thursday.
Friday marked the shortest yet of fall camp. The Trojans took the field just before 2:45 and wrapped up practice at about 4:15. They dressed in shorts and jerseys – no pads – for their 19th practice of camp, held on Dedeaux Field, "Very light practice today just cleaning some things up," Kiffin said, "a lot of special teams stuff."
Cornerback Devian Shelton wore a boot on his right leg. Shelton was carted off the field during Thursday's practice with an undisclosed injury.
With the ineligibility of Isiah Wiley, Kiffin says there will be no issue with the Trojans being at the 75 scholarship limit - placed on them per the NCAA sanctions - come Monday's start-of-school deadline.