Starr, a true freshman from nearby Norco, Calif., will apply for a medical redshirt after experiencing neck problems. Kiffin expects the redshirt to be granted because Starr played in only three games.
The NCAA-mandated maximum for a medical redshirt is 30 percent of a team’s games. With three being 25 percent, any more games Starr participates in would cost him a year of eligibility.
Starr was listed as sophomore Lamar Dawson’s primary backup at middle linebacker but had been playing primarily special teams this season.
Garness, a junior-college transfer who hails from Anchorage, Alaska, has been with the Trojans since January 2011 but has not appeared in a game. He redshirted last season and will undergo back surgery.
Five of USC’s 75 scholarship players are expected to miss the entire 2012 season: Starr and Garness, along with sophomore tailback Tre Madden, freshman defensive end DeVante Wilson and senior end Devon Kennard.
It’s possible Kennard could make a late-season return from a pectoral muscle tear that he suffered in late July.