Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor
Name: Claude Pelon
Position: Defensive Lineman
Class: Redshirt Junior
Size: 6-foot-5, 293 pounds
High School: Agape Christian Academy
Scouting Report: Claude Pelon possesses outstanding raw talent that can be put to good use in various schemes. He uses his size to his advantage enabling him to establish position at the line of scrimmage with the potential to disrupt opposing offenses. Pelon provides the Trojans with the depth on the defensive line that they have lacked in recent seasons.
Prep Career: Pelon opted to take the junior college route straight out of high school attending Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College where he was redshirted before transferring to Eastern Arizona Junior College in 2012. Though he had 17 tackles with two sacks in his freshman season, he broke out during his sophomore year when he attended Mesa (AZ) Community College and racked up 52 tackles including 9.5 for losses plus two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery earning him All-Western States Football League second team honors.
Spring Ball: Pelon started out a little slow at the beginning of spring practice as he was not only transitioning from junior college, but also getting whipped into shape by head coach Steve Sarkisian's new fast-tempo system. He originally only saw time as a backup defensive end but worked his way all the way to the top of the depth chart by the end of spring ball. When some of the injured Trojans like Leonard Williams return in the fall, Pelon may lose his starting spot but his versatility and performance this spring will allow him to certainly see playing time.
Sarkisian on Pelon: "I think Claude Pelon has been one of the more improved players on our roster...I think his grasp and understanding of the scheme has drastically improved. I think his conditioning has drastically improved. I think his understanding of what it takes to play at this level every single down has really improved."
Here is Pelon speaking with the media...