Top Louisville and USC Players Not Playing in the Holiday Bowl

    The USC vs. Louisville matchup for the Holiday Bowl is set to look a bit different, mainly on the USC side where they'll be without a slew of top-tier players.

    The Holiday Bowl may lack a little bit of luster with some potential players opting out of the action. Just who can you expect to see on the field when the Louisville Cardinals and USC Trojans battle it out?

    Top Louisville, USC Players Not Playing the Holiday Bowl

    Using the College Football Network Bowl Game Opt-Out Tracker, we know the players who won’t be playing in the Military Bowl and will miss the Virginia Tech vs. Tulane game.

    For the full game preview and prediction: Holiday Bowl Prediction: Louisville vs. USC Odds, Spread, DFS Picks, and More

    Louisville Players To Miss the Holiday Bowl

    On offense, the Cardinals should be relatively intact. Elijah Downing caught a single pass and Izaiah Reed was a non-contributor.

    The defensive side, however, is a different story. Popeye Williams and Ryheem Craig were depth players on the defensive front, but Kameron Wilson and Jackson Hamilton each played roles in sub packages for the Louisville defense.

    MORE: College Football Bowl Game Opt-Out Tracker

    On the backend for Louisville, Marquis Groves-Killebrew, Josh Minkins, and Derrick Edwards didn’t combine for an interception, but their abilities were certainly noticed. They’re not quite starters, but Minkins was a valuable player at a variety of positions in the secondary over eight games.

    Louisville Players Expected To Miss the Holiday Bowl:

    • Elijah Downing, WR (transfer portal)
    • Izaiah Reed, OT (transfer portal)
    • Victoine Brown, DL (transfer portal)
    • Yirayah Lanier, DL (transfer portal)
    • Popeye Williams, EDGE (transfer portal)
    • Ryheem Craig, EDGE (transfer portal)
    • Jackson Hamilton, LB (transfer portal)
    • Kameron Wilson, LB (transfer portal)
    • Derrick Edwards, CB (transfer portal)
    • Marquis Groves-Killebrew, CB (transfer portal)
    • Josh Minkins, S (transfer portal)

    USC Players To Miss the Holiday Bowl

    The Trojans are going to look like a completely different team in the Holiday Bowl. First things first, USC is without both Caleb Williams and Brendan Rice, as the former Heisman Trophy winner and the emergent receiving talent have opted out of the action for the NFL Draft.

    Williams was super-man for the Trojans this season and did all he could to will them to just about every victory they had in 2023. Rice was second on the team in receptions and yards, but had more than double the touchdowns than any other two USC receivers combined this past season.

    Mario Williams (300+ yards) and Michael Jackson (140+ yards) also present issues for the USC receiving corps to overcome. Co-starting right tackle Michael Tarquin is also gone, presenting perhaps another issue in terms of depth on offense.

    The defense for USC is also without starters Tackett Curtis and Domani Jackson. Former high-profile recruits Korey Foreman and Xamarion Gordon also offer up issues when it comes to depth as they’ve all exited the program through the portal.

    USC Players Expected To Miss the Holiday Bowl:

    • Caleb Williams, QB (NFL Draft)
    • Malachi Nelson, QB (transfer portal)
    • Darwin Barlow, RB (transfer portal)
    • Matthew Colombo, RB (transfer portal)
    • Brendan Rice, WR (NFL Draft)
    • Mario Williams, WR (transfer portal)
    • Michael Jackson III, WR (transfer portal)
    • Raleek Brown, WR (transfer portal)
    • Jude Wolfe, TE (transfer portal)
    • Michael Tarquin, OT (transfer portal)
    • Andrew Milek, iOL (transfer portal)
    • De’jon Benton, DL (transfer portal)
    • Jamar Sekona, DL (transfer portal)
    • Korey Foreman, EDGE (transfer portal)
    • Tackett Curtis, LB (transfer portal)
    • Chris Thompson Jr., LB (transfer portal)
    • Domani Jackson, CB (transfer portal)
    • Fabian Ross, CB (transfer portal)
    • Xamarion Gordon, DB (transfer portal)

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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