Newcomers make an impact: 7 takeaways from USC training camp

Former Arizona State linebacker Eric Gentry stands on the field.

Former Arizona State linebacker Eric Gentry has seen plenty of snaps this season due to his strong training camp with the Trojans.

(Rick Scuteri/Associated Press)

It’s impossible to overlook Eric Gentry. At 6-foot-6 standing center of USC defense, the Arizona State transfer linebacker towers over the front with an unusual length for the position.

“When he first walked in, I was like, ‘Who the hell is this big guy?’ Tuipulotu joked this week.

Gentry’s length isn’t the only part of his game that has caught the attention of coaches. Inside Linebackers coach Brian Odom recently commented on how quickly Gentry picked up defense. During USC’s scrimmage, he was in the right place at the right time to nab an interception.

“Very impressed with Eric,” Grinch added. “You can tell he played football at our level. The difference between freshman year and sophomore year is no bigger.”

Considering Gentry’s sophomore year ended with Freshman All-American status, that’s an encouraging sign. However, it does not secure him the starting spot as an inside linebacker. While Gentry undoubtedly has the higher potential, senior Ralen Goforth has the experience advantage.

USC could decide to start Goforth alongside surefire starter Shane Lee to start the season. But it seems only a matter of time before Gentry takes on that role.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/usc/story/2022-08-20/usc-football-training-camp-takeaways-lincoln-riley Newcomers make an impact: 7 takeaways from USC training camp

Emma Bowman

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