USC star Drake London, one of the top receivers in the country and a potential first-round NFL draft pick, will miss the rest of the season, Trojans interim coach Donte Williams said Sunday night.
London suffered a fractured right ankle, Williams said, in the second quarter of Saturday’s 41-34 win over Arizona at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
London caught a pass from quarterback Jaxson Dart near the end zone and was hit by Arizona cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace as he crossed the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown that put the Trojans up 28-7. London stayed down and held his right leg. The leg was put in an air cast before he was carted off the field.
London returned to the sidelines in street clothes and crutches during the second half. Williams, in his postgame media availability, said “there’s always a fear” that an injury like that could be season-ending. Turns out, he was right.
London finished with nine catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
“In those eight games he played, all the awards you can think of he deserves, whether it’s the Biletnikoff, whether it’s first-team All-American. The things he did for this team and this university, he was about to put up one of the best statistical seasons any receiver has ever put up in college football, and that’s saying a lot. At the same time, yes, we’re going to miss him as a player, but the things that people forget about is who he is as a person to this team,” Williams said. “He’s a team captain for a reason.”
A junior, London indeed has been USC’s best player this season. He entered Saturday ranked second in the nation in total receiving yards and yards per game and had seven touchdowns to go with several highlight-reel grabs.
Coming into the game, London was expected to be a top-10 pick in the upcoming NFL draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper had London ranked as his No. 4 overall prospect and the top-rated receiver in his latest Big Board for the 2022 draft.
Earlier this week, London expressed his desire to play in a bowl game this season if USC (now 4-4) were to qualify.
“He was still here [Sunday] in the team meeting, he still was high spirits, he still was walking around on his crutches, but he still was smiling and he still was one of the guys. He didn’t look at it as like he was devastated and crying and by himself,” Williams said. “He was still here. That shows you once again what kind of person he is. He’s a team leader and a team captain for a reason and still wanted to be around his guys and do everything he possibly can to lead them.”
London arrived at USC in 2019 as a two-sport athlete playing both basketball and football. Last December, he made the decision to focus on football. He has totaled more than 2,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in his three seasons as a Trojan.
Southern Cal plays at Arizona State on Saturday.