Linebacker Cameron Smith and lineman Toa Lobendahn will return to USC for their senior seasons

Cameron Smith
USC linebacker Cameron Smith (35) celebrates with his coaches after picking off Utah quarterback Troy Williams’ pass in the first quarter of a game at the Coliseum on Oct. 14, 2017.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Linebacker Cameron Smith and offensive tackle Toa Lobendahn announced Wednesday that they would return to USC for their senior football seasons.

In the two weeks since the Trojans’ 2017 season ended with a Cotton Bowl loss to Ohio State, quarterback Sam Darnold, tailback Ronald Jones II and receiver Deontay Burnett all said they were leaving school to declare for the NFL draft.

Smith, USC’s leading tackler the last two seasons, was expected to follow, especially after a big Cotton Bowl performance in which he had 10 stops. But the All-Pac-12 selection, a team captain, ended that speculation in an Instagram post.

“I’m honored to wear this cardinal and gold for one more year,” he wrote.


Lobendahn made his announcement on Twitter. He joins tackle Chuma Edoga as the second draft-eligible lineman to take USC over the NFL.

USC’s spring semester began Monday, although players have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft. One underclassman who hasn’t announced his intention is junior defensive lineman Rasheem Green, a likely second-round pick if he chooses the NFL.

Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11