Posted by Jerry Hinnen
For the second time in as many days, a key USC Trojan has reportedly elected to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.
Thursday it was tackle Matt Kalil announcing he would forgo his senior season in L.A., and on Friday ESPNLosAngeles.com's Pedro Moura reported that two-year starting defensive end Nick Perry had made the same decision. Sources cited in the report said that Perry had already signed with sports agency Lock Metz Malinovic, which currently represents multiple other former Trojans.
Perry is projected to be selected as early as the late first-round and could play as either a down lineman or a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level.
Though not a surprise, Perry's decision will leave a sizable hole in the Trojans' 2012 defensive line rotation. His 9.5 sacks led the Pac-12, put him among the top 20 pass-rushers nationally, and equaled the output of the entire rest of the Trojan defensive line combined. His 13 tackles-for-loss were on shy of doubling the high for any other player on the team, and he ranked fifth on the Trojans in tackles overall.
Lane Kiffin has never shied away from encouraging his players to leave for the pros if their draft projection was optimistic enough, and even after Kalil and Perry he may not be done with 2011's early defections yet; quarterback Matt Barkley has been the subject of much speculation and safety T.J. McDonald could also decide to make the leap.