Romello Height, the running back who transferred from Auburn to USC to stabilize pressure on the Trojans’ quarterback, will likely miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery on his injured shoulder this week.
Height played only briefly in the Trojans’ first two games as he dealt with the lingering injury. He sat out last Saturday’s meeting with Fresno State, hoping his shoulder might improve with rest, coach Lincoln Riley said at the time.
A few days later, Height underwent surgery, which Riley said Thursday will require “a long-term recovery.” He then clarified that the redshirted sophomore is likely to miss the rest of the season.
“We’ll see how it progresses,” Riley said.
With Height gone, the sudden emergence of another transfer pass-rusher, Solomon Byrd, couldn’t come at a more fortunate time for USC. The Trojans have been exhausted at the end since the spring, when Height broke away as one of the early standouts in the position.
Byrd didn’t arrive until fall camp, receiving just five snaps in USC’s opener. But since then, he has been a force on the Trojans’ defense, with three sacks and a fumble in two games.
His promotion has left Riley feeling “good” about the status of the position without Height.
“Obviously, we’ve talked a lot about Solomon and him stepping up,” Riley said. “corey [Foreman] he’s getting better and doing a lot of really good things, and I think he’ll be more consistent. And then we’ve worked hard to develop some depth. Having some of those guys out at times has allowed us to change the lineup and we have different skill sets on that defense that we can make work for. And then also, that’s where it’s important to have a creative defensive staff. Because sometimes when you lose guys you have to think outside the box.”