USC football’s updated roster for the 2022 season did not include the sophomore offensive lineman Maximus Gibbs and incoming freshman and Australian punter Atticus Bertram’s. Gibbs was listed in the “Squadmen Lost” section in the USC media guide.
The massive 6-foot-6, 370-pound Gibbs was quickly becoming a fan favorite for his overall potential and hard work. Gibbs made a late season move to defensive tackle in 2021 to help with depth issues before moving back to offensive line in the offseason. Gibbs looked poised for a lot more opportunities this season, operating as the team’s second-team right guard for the majority of spring.
The loss of a Gibbs is a blow to USC’s interior offensive line depth, which was already thin to begin with. The Trojans did add three-star JUCO offensive lineman Cooper Loverlace, who is expected to play interior offensive line.
Gibbs had also undergone a noticeable physical change during the offseason, much lighter than he was in 2021. He revealed in spring camp that he’d dropped roughly 30 pounds, down from an eye-popping 400 pounds to 370 pounds.
“I feel way lighter this year than last year. It’s really a blessing and I’ll just keep going, keep working,” he said. “Just running. I feel way more conditioned, and the game is more easy.”
Gibbs was ranked the No. 912 overall prospect and the No. 60 interior offensive lineman in the 2021 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. Despite being a three-star prospect, his potential yielded him offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Michigan.
The Australian native Bertrams committed to the prior coaching staff but was one of the few committed to stay on with Riley’s new 2022 class. He was listed on an early updated 2022 roster, but with no number to his name.
“Atticus Bertram’s. Interesting story obviously was a guy that was committed when we got here. We had a chance to evaluate, you know, the challenges of evaluating an international player, especially when a lot of his career in the COVID era, is unique. There are a lot of people in that world that we trust very much, and when you watch film on this guy you can see an elite talent and there’s no question about it,” said Riley in the winter. “An elite talent and as we get to know the kid, we were very impressed with his work ethic, his excitement to come to USC. He fits the bill of what you’re looking for in that position. And obviously, the punter position is not something that you’re going to take every single year so you got to feel sure, and we certainly have that with Atticus.”
The true freshman had a clear shot to a starting job in 2022 after USC lost multi-year starter Ben Griffiths to the NFL draft process; Griffiths ended up undrafted but taken in the first round of the Canadian Football League Global Draft.
The Trojans relied on walk-on punter Will Rose all of spring camp, so depth at the position is light. Bertrams was supposed to be one of two scholarship specialists on the roster along with the former walk-on placekicker Alex Stadthaus. USC might be looking to rely on preferred walk-on JUCO dual kicker/punter prospect Garth White, who was rated a five-star prospect.
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Bertrams was a three-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite, the No. 11 punters in the nation.