USC has landed a transfer commitment from former Vanderbilt defensive end Nate Clifton.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound defender was on an official visit to see the Trojans. He’ll join the program with one year of eligibility remaining after spending five seasons in Nashville with the Commodores.


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Clifton was a team captain in 2023 who started all 12 of Vandy’s games. He finished the year with 30 tackles and led the defense in tackles for loss (7.5) and sacks (5.5). He also had one interception.

A starter in 34 of Vanderbilt’s 36 games over the last three seasons, Clifton comes to USC with 93 career tackles, 12.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, three pass breakups, and a pick. He was Vanderbilt’s fourth-highest-graded defender this past season, per Pro Football Focus.

Clifton becomes the second transfer commitment thus far for USC in the winter window, and the first defensive player to commit since new defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn was introduced.

Both Lynn and coach Lincoln Riley have stated their intent this offseason is to get bigger along the defensive line ahead of the program’s move to the Big Ten. The 6-foot-5 Clifton certainly ticks that box, and he’ll figure to provide some immediate help to a defensive line unit that needs to reload.

Four players have exhausted their eligibility, while a fifth has entered the transfer portal. USC returns Bear Bryant, Anthony Lucas, and Elijah Hughes, among others. The 2024 class also features 4-star edge commit Kameryn Fountain.