USC has been ravaged by the flood of underclassmen declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft but got some good news Monday, when linebacker Hayes Pullard announced on Twitter he would return to school for his senior season.
Pullard (6-foot-1, 230 pounds) led the Trojans with 94 tackles this season. A steady presence in the middle of a defense that led the Pac-12 in total defense and ranked 16th nationally in points allowed, Pullard added 5.5 tackles for loss and one interception.
The return of Pullard is huge for first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian because NCAA-imposed scholarship reductions limit USC's ability to replace the five players that have already declared for the draft -- wide receiver Marqise Lee, safety Dion Bailey, center Marcus Martin, tight end Xavier Grimble and defensive lineman George Uko -- while others such as cornerback Josh Shaw have yet to announce their decision ahead of the Wednesday deadline to do so.
USC is limited to just 15 initial scholarships in the 2014 recruiting class and 75 total scholarship players next season.