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Trojans have some NFL decisions to make

SportsFootballCollege FootballUSC TrojansNCAASteve SarkisianMarqise Lee

Receiver Marqise Lee is not the only USC draft-eligible junior or third-year sophomore who might make himself available for the NFL draft.

But he is the only one projected as a possible first-round pick.

That, however, is not expected to discourage at least a few others from forgoing their remaining seasons of eligibility.

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Junior safety Dion Bailey has sounded of late as if he is leaning toward turning pro.

Bailey, 6 feet and 200 pounds, played as an undersized linebacker the previous two seasons before returning to safety, the position he played while redshirting his first season.

He has a team-best five interceptions, he has graduated and could take cues from receiver Robert Woods and cornerback Nickell Robey, both of whom left after their junior seasons in 2012. Woods was selected in the second round of the draft and Robey went undrafted. Both are playing significant roles for the Buffalo Bills.

Linebacker Hayes Pullard, a three-year starter, once again is the Trojans' top tackler. The 6-1, 230-pound junior said he would make a decision about his future after Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl.

Junior defensive lineman George Uko (6-3, 275 pounds), said he was awaiting his draft evaluation and would make his decision after the bowl game.

Junior defensive back Josh Shaw said his decision would weigh, in part, on whether Clancy Pendergast returns as defensive coordinator.

"A lot of us that can leave on the defensive side of the ball really enjoy playing for him," Shaw said, "and we want to play for him again."

Center Marcus Martin was regarded as a player who would seriously consider a jump to the NFL after starting at two positions. But he suffered a leg injury in the regular-season finale against UCLA and might opt to return.

Tight end Xavier Grimble has indicated that he probably will return. With Steve Sarkisian taking over as coach, the 6-5, 250-pound Grimble would play in a system that helped Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins win the Mackey Award, presented to college football's top tight end.

Junior offensive lineman Aundrey Walker suffered a broken ankle in the UCLA game. Tailback Javorius Allen, the team MVP after rushing for 699 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns, also is draft eligible.

The loss of any of the draft-eligible players would hurt the Trojans.

USC has one more year of NCAA sanctions that limit the roster to 75 scholarship players and prohibit the Trojans from signing more than 15 new players each year. USC has 19 slots available for the 2014 class, including four scholarships available for mid-year signees in December and January who would count against the 2013 class because USC signed fewer than 15 players last February.

USC announced Wednesday that defensive lineman Claude Pelon, who played at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College this season, has signed and will enroll in January.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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SportsFootballCollege FootballUSC TrojansNCAASteve SarkisianMarqise Lee
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