USC quarterback Jack Sears will enter transfer portal

USC quarterback Jack Sears at football practice at USC Howard Jones Field.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

A week after falling short in USC’s quarterback competition for the second consecutive season, redshirt sophomore Jack Sears announced Tuesday he plans to enter the transfer portal.

“If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never the goal,” Sears wrote on Twitter.

After starting one game at quarterback a season ago, Sears fell to fourth on USC’s depth chart this fall, behind freshman Kedon Slovis and redshirt junior Matt Fink. Sears noted in his statement on Twitter that the week since coach Clay Helton decided to go with sophomore JT Daniels under center had been “a difficult time.”


“It makes me realize that life is not linear,” Sears said. “I love my teammates, football, USC, and the USC degree. Nobody can ever take that degree away from me. I am proud of the work that I put in on and off the field, the way I competed, and how I have comported myself. Life is about making good and informed decisions.”

That decision didn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the winding path Sears faced for playing time in USC’s offense. Sears had the option of remaining with the team while seeking a transfer, but chose not to. Helton, who already welcomed back one quarterback (Fink) from the transfer portal in the offseason, was understanding.

“He’s done everything for us,” Helton said, “and I don’t hold it against him at all. He’s competed here. He’s given his absolute best effort at all times.”

A four-star recruit from San Clemente High, also the alma mater of former Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold, Sears was also ultimately beat out last year by Daniels, who went on to start 11 of 12 games.

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“He’s really been like an older brother for me,” Daniels said of Sears. “A great supporter, a great friend. I’m really going to miss Jack.”

As a graduate transfer, Sears will be immediately eligible, with two years available to play, wherever he winds up.



Linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu, who missed his first collegiate campaign following foot surgery, will be out another year after undergoing a second surgery to deal with the same Lisfranc injury, Helton said.

This time, the Santa Ana Mater Dei product had a steel plate inserted into his foot, in hopes of finally stabilizing it. The surgery ended any chance of Tuliaupupu contributing this season.

“Our doctors really looked at it,” Helton said, “and for his longevity, we’re looking at this as an investment.”

Tuliaupupu will be eligible for a sixth year, assuming his foot returns to full health by the start of next season.

“It’s like going on a mission,” Helton said. “He’s taken two years, he’ll get healthy, and he’ll have four years left to play and be an older player, which can be an advantage too.

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Weeks ago, at the start of fall camp, Helton said he expected an update on the status of wideout Bru McCoy’s immediate eligibility waiver with the NCAA ahead of the season opener.

But with the game Saturday against Fresno State fast approaching, Helton has lost hope of a decision coming down before then.

“We’re still in [the] process with that,” he said of McCoy’s waiver.

McCoy has yet to practice with the team, in light of a mysterious illness that’s given him periodic fevers for the past two months. When healthy, he will be permitted to practice, no matter what the NCAA decides.