USC coach Clay Helton dispels rumor that lineman E.J. Price punched him

ByKyle Bonagura ESPN logo
Thursday, September 22, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- USC coach Clay Helton dismissed the wild Internet rumor that freshman offensive tackle E.J. Price punched him in the face, but he confirmed Price will transfer to a school closer to his home in Georgia due to homesickness.

"I'm not a big social media guy, but I got told today about E.J. Price hitting me, which is funny. I wouldn't be here; I'd be dead, one," Helton said. "May make my face look better, but when it comes to E.J. -- I know a lot of times when a guy doesn't show up on the field there's questions.

"I talked to E.J. a couple days ago. E.J. has some personal family issues that are going on -- a lot of homesickness and missing family really bad. With us sitting down and visiting, really felt, mutually, that it was important for him to go find a school that is closer to home, where he can deal with his family."

Price was the No. 8-ranked offensive tackle in the Class of 2016 and the No. 90 overall player in the ESPN300. He had not appeared in a game this season and was expected to red shirt.

An unverified report on Monday indicated Price had been kicked off the team, which led to rumors circulating on social media on Tuesday.

"I want everybody to understand that anytime something like that goes out, I hate that it presents a perception of a kid, because this is a really good kid," Helton said. "He's going to be a very good college football player, and I wish him nothing but the best and looking forward to him being successful."

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