USC senior corner back Isiah Wiley has been ruled ineligible for the 2012 season, head coach Lane Kiffin announced on Friday.
Wiley started the last six games of the 2011 season for the Trojans after transferring in from Arizona Western Junior College. He had 39 tackles, four deflections and one fumble recovery as he helped shore up the spot opposite All-Pac-12 corner Nickell Robey following season-ending injuries to Torin Harris and Anthony Brown.
The senior missed all of training camp and the buzz among program insiders throughout the month was that he was unlikely to make it back for the season.
As it turns out, cornerback is one of the deeper areas on the USC defense, which should make the loss of Wiley easier to absorb. The Trojans have two other corners available with starting experience, plus two more with some playing time under their belt.
Harris, lauded by Kiffin as a player with 'an NFL body and skills', started four games last season before a shoulder injury knocked him out, while Brown started two games before breaking his left ankle. Both are back for this season, but with Harris still bothered by some minor, but nagging injuries, Brown is likely to start in the opener against Hawaii. Another possibility for that spot is Florida transfer Josh Shaw, who provides an experienced body, if necessary.
Added to that mix is senior corner Brian Baucham who, along with junior linebacker Marquis Simmons, was cleared to return to the team on Friday after being held out of camp for undisclosed reasons. Baucham was singled out during spring practice by Kiffin as one of the most improved players on the team.
So don't look for the loss of Wiley to hit USC too hard, especially in a Pac-12 conference that could feature as many as six new starting quarterbacks this season.