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USC starting CB Jack Jones will miss 2018 season

Jack Jones led USC with four interceptions in 2017. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

USC will be without one of its top cornerbacks for the 2018 season — and potentially beyond.

On Friday, USC confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that junior cornerback Jack Jones will not suit up for the team next season. And according to Rivals.com, Jones has been removed from the Trojans’ roster and is not expected to return to the program.

The reason? Jones is academically ineligible.

What does Jones’ absence mean for USC?

The news is a pretty tough blow for USC. Jones, a third-team Associated Press All-America selection, led the Trojans with four interceptions in 2017 while starting 13 games. In addition to the four interceptions, Jones totaled 40 tackles, deflected eight passes, registered one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. He also blocked a field goal.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Jones also played in all 13 games in 2016 for the Trojans as a true freshman. In a reserve and special teams role, he finished the year with 13 tackles.

He would have been one of the leaders of the USC secondary in 2018 as a second-year starter.

Previous academic issues

USC coach Clay Helton told reporters back in March that Jones would be suspended for the team’s season-opening game against UNLV. Jones also was held out of spring practice in order to get his academic situation in order. That, with the news that emerged Friday, evidently did not come to fruition.

Jones’ spring absence did give the coaching staff a clearer look at the position’s depth chart without Jones. Now, that will carry over to preseason camp and the season itself.

USC’s secondary moving forward

Even without Jones, USC has some experienced options in the secondary, especially with cornerback Iman Marshall and safety Marvell Tell both returning for their senior seasons. Opposite Marshall, Isaiah Langley and Jonathan Lockett could both slide into the starting role, though Lockett, who missed the 2017 campaign after having hip surgery, has been more of a factor at nickel corner throughout his career.

True freshman Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart, both five-star recruits, could also be in the mix for playing time.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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