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A USC rushing attack in desperate need of a rebuild has added one of the top available transfers on the market.
Former Texas running back Keaontay Ingram committed to the Trojans in a social media post Tuesday, offering a potential huge boost to a run game that could use one after a dismal 2020 campaign.
The bruising, 6-foot, 222-pound former Longhorn should step in and compete for carries right away in a backfield that finished 120th nationally in yards rushing per game last season. The Trojans return their top two rushers in Vavae Malepeai and Stephen Carr, but neither averaged more than 4.4 yards per carry in 2020. USC’s other top back, Markese Stepp, announced two weeks ago that he was transferring to Nebraska.
Ingram leaves a crowded Texas backfield for the promise of better opportunity at USC. He spent three seasons as a major part of the Longhorns’ rushing attack, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. A former four-star prospect, Ingram rushed for 1,561 yards during his first two seasons before injuries limited him to 250 yards over six games last season.
He also lost ground to freshman All-American Bijan Robinson, who averaged nearly nine yards per carry after taking over the position at midseason.
A high ankle sprain on Halloween forced Ingram to miss the final four games of Texas’ season. He announced his intent to enter the NCAA transfer portal this month, less than two weeks after Texas announced Steve Sarkisian as its new coach.
Where exactly Ingram will fit into USC’s backfield plans is unclear. Running backs coach Mike Jinks suggested this month that he planned to rotate less at the position next season.
“I want an RB1 and an RB2,” Jinks said. “Those guys are going to get the majority of our touches. They’re going to be allowed to get into a rhythm. The other guys, they’re going to have to contribute on special teams and wait for their opportunity.”
In addition to Malepeai and Carr, speedster Kenan Christon will look to carve out a larger role after being largely forgotten last season. The Trojans also will add freshman Brandon Campbell, a four-star prospect, this spring.
Ingram scored 17 touchdowns at Texas and also contributed as a receiver out of the backfield, catching 67 passes for 515 yards.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.