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USC defensive lineman Brandon Pili suffers Achilles injury, out for season

The defensive tackle had surgery and won’t be on the field in 2021.

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The USC Trojans were back on the field for their spring showcase game on Saturday, but they got some bad news earlier in the week.

Head coach Clay Helton confirmed that defensive tackle Brandon Pili suffered a torn Achilles tendon and will miss all of next season.

Pili played recorded five tackles during the shortened 2020 campaign, and his loss will affect the Trojans’ defensive line depth. Drake Jackson looked fantastic during the spring showcase, while Tuli Tuipulotu also made a favorable impression.

The injury hurts, but it is not devastating for a USC program that is looking to contend for at least a Pac-12 title in 2021. Quarterback Kedon Slovis remains healthy, and the offensive line is intact, which will give the Trojans a strong nucleus for next season.

But the Trojans will need some younger players to step up. USC lost redshirt freshman Kobe Pepe to a shoulder injury earlier in the week, and it remains unknown when he will be able to return to action.

Pili’s injury will allow youngster Jay Toia to get some more playing time. The former four-star recruit took over Pili’s role with the first team during practice.