After providing a steady presence on USC’s offensive line for the past two seasons, Alijah Vera-Tucker is entering the NFL Draft.

Vera-Tucker revealed his decision in an interview with Yahoo! Sports on Monday, saying it was time to go to the next level.

“One of the main reasons I came back was to compete with my brothers one more time and further my education toward a degree,” Vera-Tucker told Yahoo!’s Pete Thamel. “Now it’s my time. I’m ready. I think it’s time to take that next step.”

Vera-Tucker initially declared for the draft early in the fall when it appeared like the Pac-12 would play its football season during the spring. But when the conference decided to hold a six-game fall season, Vera-Tucker opted back in to play with the Trojans for one last season.

As a junior, Vera-Tucker moved to left tackle, earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors after starting all six games for the Trojans.

Vera-Tucker previously played left guard for USC as a sophomore and was named to the conference’s second team after starting in all 13 games. Per Pro Football Focus, Vera-Tucker allowed a quarterback pressure on less than two percent of his pass-blocking snaps during his college career.

Vera-Tucker, who projects as a guard in the NFL, is the second USC offensive lineman to declare early for the draft in the past two seasons, joining Austin Jackson, who was a first-round selection by the Miami Dolphins in the 2020 draft.

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By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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