June 21, 2024

After just one season as a 300-pound wrecking ball in the middle of USC’s defense, former five-star defensive tackle Bear Alexander plans to reenter the NCAA transfer portal, in search of his third school in three seasons.

Alexander appeared on track to becoming a cornerstone of USC’s new defense this season as it rebuilds under new coordinator D’Anton Lynn. His sophomore season was loaded with glimpses of his sky-high potential, as he recorded 48 tackles, 6½ of them for a loss.

Where those plans went awry was still murky as of Tuesday. Alexander attended USC’s early-morning practice, hours before word of his transfer spread.

His departure, confirmed by a source with knowledge of the decision not authorized to discuss it publicly, leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the Trojans’ defensive front, one that may not be easily filled when the transfer portal opens on Monday. Meanwhile, there should be no shortage of suitors lining up for Alexander, whose five-star talent is exceedingly rare to find in the portal, post-spring.

Alexander, who grew up in Texas, is no stranger to starting anew at another school. He attended five different high schools and played for four different football teams, before landing at Georgia ahead of its national title run in 2022.

Alexander’s guardian, Tony Jones, told The Times in the fall that Alexander left Georgia because they could no longer trust staff members who assured Jones that he’d play a major role as a sophomore. When Alexander wasn’t the clear-cut starter, Jones said he felt betrayed.

“If I can’t trust you with what you say, I’m out,” Jones said. “That’s what it got to [at Georgia.]”

Alexander immediately stepped into an impact role at USC upon his arrival last April. But a year later, he’s stepping back into the transfer portal, in search of something else.

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