USC QB Slovis not medically cleared to practice

ByAdam Rittenberg ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 25, 2019

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis is not medically cleared to practice after leaving Friday's game against Utah in the first quarter.

Slovis, who started No. 21 USC's last three games after a season-ending knee injury to JT Daniels, absorbed a big hit by Utah's Leki Fotu on the second play from scrimmage Friday. He initially tried to get up before falling back to the ground.

Slovis briefly went to the sideline before leaving the field for further evaluation. He appeared later in the game wearing earplugs. An update on Slovis' status for Saturday's game at No. 17 Washington is expected later in the week.

If Slovis isn't cleared, junior Matt Fink will make his first career start. Fink, who entered the transfer portal this spring before returning to USC, relieved Slovis against Utah and had 351 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the Trojans' 30-23 home victory.

If Fink starts and plays well, coach Clay Helton said he'll handle the starting quarterback position on a week-by-week basis.

Also, Helton said walk-on safety Brandon Perdue and wide receiver Tyler Vaughns worked out at quarterback on Tuesday. In high school, Perdue played two games at QB. If Fink does start, Helton said Perdue would be the backup if Fink went down.

"You hope for the best, but you better prepare for the absolute worst," Helton said about multiple players working out at quarterback.

Starting safety Talanoa Hufanga, who leads USC with 42 tackles, is in the concussion protocol and recovering from a sprained shoulder, Helton said. Hufanga has led USC in tackles the past three games, recording a career-high 14 stops against Utah. Starting cornerback Olaijah Griffin, who left the Utah game with a back injury, is improving, Helton said.

ESPN's Edward Aschoff contributed to this report.