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WVU Transfer Akheem Mesidor Receives Offer from USC



Oct 17, 2020; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor (90) celebrates with defensive lineman Darius Stills (56) after a defensive stop during the third quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Less than a day after junior defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor submitted his name into the transfer portal, he had a taker.

He’s in talks with the Pac-12’s USC Trojans, which on the surface appears a strange stop; a bit of research turns up a litany of connections and puts most speculation to rest.

First and foremost, WVU’s newly-appointed offensive coordinator, Graham Harrell, came to Morgantown after a three-year stint in Los Angeles. His plentiful coaching staff connections remain intact with the changing of the guard, and it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to put a good word in.

Second, across the line in Harrell’s inter-squad scrimmages was nose tackle Brandon Pili. The 6’3, 335-pound defensive lineman was a solid starter for the Trojans, but enters his redshirt senior season rehabbing an Achilles injury. The tear in his left ankle precluded him from playing the entirety of the 2021 season, and the potential exists for it to be a nagging issue heading into 2022. During the time in which Pili was ruled out, back-ups Jamar Sekona and Ishmael Sopsfer saw the field. Sekona played nearly every snap of every game, and Sopsfer transferred out of the program on Jan. 19. USC Football media has been buzzing about Sekona, but comparatively, Mesidor blows his stats out of the water.

Mesidor and Sekona are the same age, and have been with their respective programs a full two seasons. During that times, Mesidor chalked up 70 tackles (44 solo), six sacks, and 7.5 TFLs, while Sekona has a single tackle through eight games. If Pili is playing uninhibited ahead of the fall, he’ll add to 38 games played, 49 tackles (16 solo), 2.5 sacks, and 7.5 TFLS. Now, although comparing Pac-12 stats to Big 12 stats proves apples to oranges at times, Mesidor would still come in logging far more quantifiable success than any of USC’s potential starters.

In addition, Mesidor could arrive in Los Angeles and immediately begin work with former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley. Riley had two seasons to scout Mesidor’s impact, and now that he’s in the same position at USC, he has the reins to craft the perfect team. He’s already brought Mario Williams, Caleb Williams, and Latrell McCutchin in from Norman since the beginning of January. He’s also poached defensive tackles Earl Barquet from TCU and Tyron Taleni from Kansas. Adding Mesidor to the line creates a best of the best of the Big 12 Conference staring down Pac-12 offensive lines.

Finally, the elephant in the room: NIL deals. Upon leaving Oklahoma, Caleb Williams found himself with multiple NIL deals totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. USC’s endowment stands at $8.12 billion, and the Trojan Athletic Fund produces more than $300 million specifically tailored to assisting athletes in its 21 varsity sports. In 2021, USC partnered with Altius Sports to provide increased NIL opportunities to its 550+ student-athletes. Altius delivers “consulting, strategic planning, compliance support and education to its clients.” The firm represents student-athletes at LSU, Texas, University of South Carolina, Georgia, UNC, and USC, and has also partnered with Women Leaders in College Sports. In the era of college sport free agency, this is a huge selling point for transfers.

Mesidor hasn’t concluded that USC is his next stop, and rumors of Miami as an additional opportunity have been swirling as well. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining to do with as he pleases.

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