USC: Arik Armstead

Spring position breakdowns: DE

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
Our look at position groups in the Pac-12 continues.

Arizona: Coach Rich Rodriguez is confident in both Reggie Gilbert and Dan Pettinato and anxious to get junior-college transfers Jeff Worthy, who also spent a year at Boise State, and Jerod Cody acclimated to the system. Calvin Allen, Jack Banda and Luca Bruno are coming off redshirt seasons and represent a group Rodriguez said the team needs production from.

Arizona State: With the departure of Gannon Conway and Davon Coleman, there is a question about the team's depth at end. Without Will Sutton clogging things up next year, the Sun Devils' lack of experience is even more of a concern. Sean O'Grady backed up Conway and Coleman last year, but ASU has several well-regarded junior-college transfers in Edmond Boateng, Marcus Hardison and Demetrius Cherry.

California: The Bears list seven defensive ends, but former junior-college transfer Kyle Kragen and Puka Lopa gained the most experience last season listed at the rush position. Antione Davis was outgoing starter Dan Camporeale's primary backup, but Brennan Scarlett's return is more important. He started nine games in 2012 and has been cleared to play following a hand issue that cost him the 2013 season. Todd Barr, Sione Sina and recent-transfer Jonathan Johnson are also in the mix.

Colorado: Colorado must replace Chidera Uzo-Diribe, but Juda Parker is back for his senior season, and several others have game experience. Samson Kafovalu is the likely candidate to start opposite him after making 18 tackles in seven games last year. Jimmie Gilbert was Uzo-Diribe's backup, Kirk Poston and De'Jon Wilson also played.

Oregon: The Ducks took a hit with the departure of Taylor Hart, who was named second-team All-Pac-12, but have a talented player in Arik Armstead lined up to take his spot. Armstead started five times in 2013 and left the basketball team midseason to shift his focus back to football. T.J. Daniel, Jason Sloan are projected to be in the mix for playing time.

Oregon State: Scott Crichton is gone, but Dylan Wynn remains and will likely be the Beavers' best defensive player a year after finishing fourth on the team in tackles. Lavonte Barnett, Crichton's primary backup in 2013, and Jaswha James figure to compete for the starting job, but there are two others to keep an eye on. Obum Gwacham recently switched from receiver and Mike Riley has been complimentary of Titus Failauga, who is coming off his redshirt.

Stanford: Henry Anderson has a chance to be one of the best defensive players in the conference and Blake Lueders, who switched from OLB, began the spring atop the depth chart. The intriguing prospect is Luke Kaumatule, who was recruited to play defense but began 2013 as the team's starting tight end. Spring will be important for his development, but his raw ability is impressive.

UCLA: Both Ellis McCarthy and Eddie Vanderdoes were all-Pac-12 honorable mention last season and highlight a talented UCLA defensive line. Their return will help account for the loss of Cassius Marsh, who started 12 games last year. Both McCarthy and Vanderdoes can play inside or outside, but the Bruins listed them both at end. Highly recruited DE Kylie Fitts saw playing time as a true freshman last season.

USC: Leonard Williams, the only sophomore named first-team all-Pac-12 on defense last season, is the best in the conference. Delvon Simmons, who sat out last season after transferring from Texas Tech, has a lot of game experience. He started 12 games for the Red Raiders in 2012 and had regular playing time as a freshman there in 2011. Both Simmons and J.R. Tavai, who was an all-Pac-12 honorable mention selection, can play inside or outside.

Utah: There's no replacing Trevor Reilly, who made 100 tackles despite lingering effects from a torn ACL, but Nate Orchard and Hunter Dimick both saw extensive playing time last season. The Utes have five other defensive ends on the roster, but of that group only LT Filiaga made a tackle last season.

Washington: The Huskies are in great shape with the return of Hau'oli Kikaha, a second-team All-Pac-12 selection, Cory Littleton and Evan Hudson. Josh Shirley has 10 career starts, while Joe Mathis and Psalm Wooching provide depth.

Washington State: With Toni Pole expected to move back inside, the depth chart will look similar to how it did going into last season, minus Matt Bock. After making 50 tackles last year, Xavier Cooper will start on one side, with Destiny Vaeao and Lyman Faoliu strong candidates for more playing time. Emmitt Su'a-Kalio is coming off a redshirt, and the Cougars also signed a pair of defensive ends from Hawaii in Kingston Fernandez and Hercules Mata'afa.

Previous positions

Tight end
Running back
Offensive line
Defensive tackle

Pac-12's lunch links

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.

Former DL Armstead latches on in Canada

June, 1, 2012
Ex-USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead has finally found a suitor, signing on to play for the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, according to a report in his hometown Sacramento Bee.

Armstead was not cleared to suit up for the Trojans in 2011 after being hospitalized earlier in the year because of an unspecified medical condition. After pursuing other options for his final year of collegiate eligibility in 2012 and a semi-public bout with USC administration over the medical clearance, he then declared early for the NFL draft.

He went undrafted due to health concerns. Whether he received offers to sign as an undrafted free agent is unknown.

At one point, Armstead was considered a potential first-round selection, as a 6-foot-5, 290-pounder with speed and an ability to get to the quarterback. He's still only 21 and could have a future NFL career.

His brother, Arik, is a 6-7, 280-pound offensive tackle/defensive lineman who signed with Oregon in February to play football and basketball.

Armstead declares for draft but can't participate in Pro Day

March, 7, 2012
Former USC defensive tackle Armond Armstead has declared for the NFL draft but was not allowed to work out at the school’s Pro Day on Wednesday, he said in an interview during the event on USC’s campus.

He plans to hold a private workout at a to-be-determined location on April 9.

Armstead, who did not play for the Trojans last season because of an unspecified medical condition, said he was informed by the school Tuesday night that he would not be able to participate based on the word of university attorneys.

Previously, USC athletic director Pat Haden had told him he’d be permitted to work out in front of NFL officials in advance of next month’s NFL draft.

Armstead had a year of college eligibility left before he signed with an agent this offseason. He initially planned to play out the year wherever his brother, high-school senior Arik, chose as his college destination.

But Arik Armstead signed with Oregon, and Armstead wasn’t allowed to transfer within the Pac-12 because of normal intra-conference regulations. So he decided to declare for the NFL draft after exploring other options.

After the 2010 season, Armstead received a second-round draft grade back from the NFL, he said. But he chose to return to school for his senior season with the hope of developing into a first-rounder. The following March, he was hospitalized with chest pain for five days and was never again cleared by the university for athletic competition.

“Of course I was upset that I couldn’t play,” he said on Wednesday. “It’s no ill will toward anyone, but I was obviously upset with the situation, not upset with anyone.”

Armstead weighed in at 6-5 and 285 pounds during Pro Day, appearing considerably lighter than he had during various appearances at USC’s practices last season.

Armstead and family to meet with USC officials

September, 14, 2011
An update in the never-ending saga of Armond Armstead as he attempts to get medically cleared to play for the Trojans: his father, Guss, attended practice Wednesday and plans to meet with USC staffers this week to find a solution to what has become a full-fledged problem.

Armstead, of course, was hospitalized in March for unknown reasons but has not participated at full strength in any USC practices in the six months since. He and USC have both been very vague about the situation and nothing is known other than that Armstead and his family believe he's past due to be cleared and the USC medical staff disagrees.

Armstead already played three years for the Trojans and stood to get drafted fairly high in next year's NFL draft -- before this whole medical ordeal, of course. Now, his football future is in obvious jeopardy. He's missed the first two games of the 2011 season. There's no clear light at the end of the tunnel.

Enter his father, a basketball trainer in Sacramento. The elder Armstead's in L.A. this week, presumably to either convince USC to clear his son or find out why he won't be cleared. He talked to a number of USC administrators during Wednesday's practice, including athletic director Pat Haden and trainer Russ Romano. The younger Armstead wasn't in attendance.

There can't be much more wiggle room on this. Either Armstead is going to be cleared in the near future, or he's not. The season's over in fewer than 75 days.

Trojans coach Lane Kiffin hasn't said much on his Armstead's case ever, and he's said even less in recent weeks. He said on Sunday's conference call that he has not been involved in many of the discussions of late. On Wednesday, he said he'd be involved in a meeting with Armstead and his father in the near future.

"We have a meeting later this week, so right now that's where we are at," Kiffin said.

An under-examined part of this whole situation: Armstead's younger brother, Arik, is a high school senior currently committed to the Trojans to play both basketball and football. Arik Armstead is ranked by most recruiting services as one of the top prospects in the state of California and one of the top 25 seniors in the country.



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