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USC signs lineman who hit junior college referee in 2016

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — An offensive lineman who punched a referee during a junior college game in 2016 has joined Southern California's football team.

USC coach Clay Helton announced the signing of a financial aid agreement with Bernard Schirmer on Tuesday night.

Schirmer will join the USC team "shortly," Helton said. He will be a redshirt sophomore.

Helton said the Trojans extensively evaluated Schirmer for three months, speaking to his family and to many officials at Mount SAC, where his football career abruptly ended when he knocked an official out cold with one punch.

"We learned from the administrators, counselors and coaches that we were dealing with a tremendous young man," Helton said. "A man that is a great student and a great person, and a guy that we had no question would be a great member of our Trojan family."

Schirmer was a 19-year-old player at Mount San Antonio College when the incident occurred.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Schirmer repeatedly apologized, saying the punch was entirely accidental. It occurred while the official attempted to separate Schirmer from a scuffle after a whistle.

Schirmer was arrested after the incident, but did not face criminal charges. The Long Beach native was suspended for five years by the Southern California Football Association, a governing body for California community college football.

"We listed the expectations that we expect from Bernard, and we understand that he knows those expectations and will do a great job here as a Trojan," Helton said.

Schirmer's sister, Brooklyn, plays volleyball at USC. Their uncle, Titus Tuiasosopo, played football for USC in the 1990s, and their cousin, Vavae Malepeai, is a tailback on the current USC roster.

NOTES: USC linebacker Porter Gustin left the practice field on a cart after sustaining a possible knee injury. Helton said Gustin will have an MRI because his knee "felt funny." Gustin appeared in only four games last season as a junior due to a persistent toe injury. He was USC's second-leading tackler in 2016. ... Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo has joined USC's coaching staff as a defensive consultant, Helton announced. He will advise defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, who spent seven seasons coaching under Campo in Dallas.


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