Nov 3, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tight end Xavier Grimble (86) is defended by Oregon Ducks cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

USC 2012 Evaluations: TE Xavier Grimble

Stats: 13 games played, 29 receptions for 316 yards, 5 touchdowns.

What Stood Out: Grimble’s 22-yard touchdown catch against Syracuse, when he shed what seemed like half the defense on his way to the end zone, was one of the highlights of the season and showed what a weapon he could be in the passing game. That physicality served him well as he powered past defenders throughout the season. He nearly doubled his on-field production in terms of catches and yards from last year and was the team’s third leading receiver.  Coaches and teammates have praised his improvement in blocking as well.

What Needed Work: For all his physical talent, Grimble was not involved enough in the passing game. Despite greater expectations, his five touchdown season was just one more than last year’s haul. Part of that was a result of greater emphasis on the wide receivers in the passing game, but with fellow TE Randall Telfer hobbled by an ankle injury for much of the season USC needed Grimble pick up the slack more than he did.

Final Word: Unfortunately, this year Grimble got lost  in the shadow of Marqise Lee, Robert Woods and up-and-coming wide out Nelson Agholor. However, the sophomore TE has a ton of potential and the flashes he showed this season when he did see the ball should make USC fans optimistic about his future. Ultimately, he needs to show the coaching staff enough to force them to get him more involved in the passing game.

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