Above all else, what USC fans wanted this holiday season was for the Trojans to find some offensive line help in the transfer portal.
The Christmas trees may be on the curb by now, but it’s never too late to land an SEC starting lineman to answer those needs.
On Friday, former Florida starting right tackle Michael Tarquin announced his commitment to transfer to USC.
Tarquin, who has two years of eligibility remaining, started seven games this past season while missing a stretch early in the year with injury. When he returned to action, he was rotating with a younger lineman, which could have been the impetus for his desire to enter the transfer portal.
Overall, Tarquin played 352 offensive snaps this fall. Per PFF, he allowed 9 pressures including 3 sacks over 181 pass-blocking snaps.
Tarquin was a four-star prospect out of Citra, Fla., in the 2019 recruiting class. He redshirted after playing in three games his first year, then appeared in 10 games in 2020 (though the pandemic season didn’t count against his eligibility clock), he played in 12 games with 2 starts in 2021 and then emerged this fall.
USC is losing veteran left tackle Bobby Haskins, All-American left guard Andrew Vorhees and four-year starting center Brett Neilon along the offensive line, which will necessitate some reshuffling.
It’s expected that veteran Justin Dedich, if he decides to return for his final year of eligibility, will move from right guard to center. It’s also likely that right tackle Jonah Monheim moves inside to one of the guard spots. That would leave Courtland Ford (who got moved down the depth chart as a redshirt sophomore this year), Mason Murphy (who made four starts as a redshirt freshman this fall) and Tarquin to compete for the two tackle spots. The Trojans have Gino Quinones, who will make his second start in the Cotton Bowl and be a redshirt senior next year, as an option for the other guard spot next season.
It’s also possible the Trojans add more offensive line help through the portal. They do also have five incoming freshmen linemen who will jump into the competition.
Tarquin is the eighth transfer addition for the Trojans so far (with many more expected to come).
He joins the list with punter Eddie Czaplicki (Arizona State), outside linebacker Jamil Muhammad (Georgia State), defensive tackle Kyon Barrs (Arizona), wide receiver Dorian Singer (Arizona), cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace (Arizona) and inside linebacker Mason Cobb (Oklahoma State).