Injuries and illness have hit especially hard at the tight end position, leading to a surprising personnel experiment.
With Rhett Ellison (leg) and Jimmy Miller (illness) out, and Blake Ayles (groin, back) limited, the coaching staff moved defensive tackle DaJohn Harris to tight end.
Harris, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound redshirt freshman, played tight end at Serra High of Gardena. He impressed in limited reps Tuesday.
” ‘The Juice’ is loose,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said of Harris, whose nickname is “Juicy.”
“He did well. Soft hands. And he’s moving a lot better than maybe people thought. I had faith in him the whole time, I want to put that on record.”
Harris knows only a handful of plays at this point. USC coach Pete Carroll isn’t sure if the move will be permanent but said Harris could help at tight end over the next few weeks, particularly as a blocker.
Ayles, who had trouble getting out of his stance at times Tuesday, remains hopeful of playing Saturday.