Rancho Verde (Calif.) tight end Junior Pomee's official arrival at USC this fall was delayed by NCAA eligibility requirements, but the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder was on campus Tuesday and practicing with the Trojans for the first time.
He had taken classes at USC during the first summer session in June before school administrators discovered he had one class left to take in high school, so he went back home to Moreno Valley and completed the class last week. He missed nearly two weeks' worth of practice but made an immediate impact in Tuesday's session, putting on display his superb combination of size and athleticism -- although his performance wasn't all good.
On his first catch in 7-on-7 drills, Pomee attempted to gain extra yardage after corralling the ball and was stripped by corner Anthony Brown, putting the ball on the ground. He had to run a lap around Howard Jones Field, as do all turnover-offenders.
“He learned a valuable lesson to keep the ball high and tight on his first catch,” said graduate assistant tight ends coach Justin Mesa. “The first time he got the ball thrown to him, he caught it on a nine-yard snap route and got it punched away from him.”
“It’s growing pains. But he’s gotta learn how to play the Trojan way."
Mesa said that, from what he knows thus far, Pomee is a capable contributor to the young tight ends corps that features three second-year players and one senior, Rhett Ellison, who could end up playing fullback.
“He’s willing, and he’s eager to learn, and he’s gonna fit right in with the group," Mesa said. "It’s a good group for him to come into and it’s also a good kid to come into the group.”
USC now has just one 2011 signee who has yet to arrive on campus: Tallahassee, Fla. running back Javorious 'Buck' Allen. Kiffin said Tuesday he didn't have an update on Allen's status.