USC adds offensive lineman who punched out official in JC game

Offensive lineman Bernard Schirmer, who struck an official in the head, knocking him unconscious during a junior college game in 2016, has been added to USC’s football roster, Trojans coach Clay Helton announced Tuesday. 

Schirmer, a 6-6, 290-pound lineman from Mount San Antonio College, made national headlines in 2016 for knocking out the game official, who was separating Schirmer and an opposing player during a heated verbal exchange. Attempting to move Schirmer back, the official was struck in the head and immediately fell.

Schirmer was arrested on suspicion of battery and taken to Ventura County (Calif.) Jail, but no charges were ultimately filed in that case.

“I didn’t mean any of that to happen,” Schirmer told the County Star (via after the arrest. “I’m truly sorry about what happened to the ref.”

Schirmer initially was given a five-year ban by the Southern California Football Association but that punishment was overturned a year later when the incident was deemed an accident.

Still, Helton acknowledged at length Tuesday that USC was well aware of Schirmer’s back story.

“We knew his history with an in-game incident that he had to pay penance for. We vetted for three months this individual, talking with administrators at Mt. SAC, coaches, counselors and also had a chance to sit down with his family over the summer,” Helton said. “What we learned from the administrators, coaches and counselors is that we were dealing with a tremendous young man, a young man that is a tremendous student, great person and a guy that we had no question would be a great member of our Trojan family. .… We listed the expectations that we expect for Bernard, and we understand that he knows those expectations and he will do a great job here as a Trojan.”

Schirmer previously had committed to Utah. He will join USC immediately as a redshirt sophomore and will have three years to play three seasons.

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