In the head coach’s eyes, Eric Gentry was one of the standout performers in USC’s scrimmage over the weekend.

Lincoln Riley met with reporters earlier this week to recap the team’s first scrimmage of fall camp, and he had only good things to say about the Arizona State transfer linebacker. It was the first time Riley and his staff have been able to see how the team looks in more of a game-like atmosphere, and Gentry flashed with what Riley said was a “great” interception.

“He’s done good,” Riley said of Gentry. “His length, playmaking ability, kind of nose for the ball really stick out. They do. It’s rare to have a guy on the defense with that kind of length, also that type of athleticism. You love it defensively. You love his instincts.

“He’s getting more comfortable in our system. From an offensive perspective, guys like that are a pain and he’s doing a really nice job.”

The 6-foot-6 Gentry started three times last season for the Sun Devils and earned a spot on the Freshman All-American team. He finished sixth on the ASU defense with 45 total tackles, registering five for a loss. He was also the third highest-graded Pac-12 linebacker in coverage by PFF, among qualified players. Gentry looked to be a foundational piece for ASU’s defense moving forward.

Now he’s in Los Angeles, giving USC a versatile linebacker with tremendous upside.

The expectation is for Gentry to play more in the middle of the defense, but with USC’s rush end position looking thin in fall camp, maybe he gets early snaps as an outside ‘backer. Gentry’s size and athleticism give USC a linebacker who can do a bit of everything, inside or out.

USC kicks off the new year on Sept. 3 against Rice at home, with kickoff slated for 3 p.m. PT.