The young man likely felt pride as he grabbed the USC equipment on Thursday and headed for the field to practice with one of the country’s most hallowed college football programs.
The problem? He is not a USC football player. Or a USC student of any kind.
According to Inside USC’s Scott Wolf and confirmed by Fox Sports analyst Petros Papadakis, he is a homeless man who made the most of his access, working with special teams by catching punts and performing other activities.
Clearly, he felt right at home with the Trojans since he ate at the McKay Center dining hall, shared a hot tub with players and even slept in a suite.
The McKay Center usually had required fingerprint identification to get in but, because of COVID-19 adjustments, that procedure had been relaxed and players were leaving the doors unlocked.
“He’s pretty young looking and could pass as a college student,” a member of USC campus security told Wolf. “He is about 5-10 but I heard he wore No. 87 at practice. The guy who really wears 87 is 6-4, so that was a giveaway.”
Wolf reported the man was identified by a football staffer and subsequently detained – and that, showing that old college effort, he was trying this for at least the second time after being caught by USC security at the Trojans’ soccer field previously.
Wolf noted the man, who reportedly is known to USC security, was able to “blend in with the football players because he looks their age and could say he is a walk-on.”
A source with USC’s security team told Wolf that had the man not called attention to himself by fielding punts, he “might still be out there.”
Chances are, he’ll continue to be “out there.”