Tight end Xavier Grimble will not be returning to USC for his senior season as previously reported last month. According to Gary Klein of the LA Times, the redshirt junior will enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
For Grimble, three seasons as the Trojans’ starting tight end was enough to compile a body of work for the NFL, the tight end told Klein.
I’ve been at ‘SC for four years and have had a pretty productive career. I’m healthy and just want to move on and give it a shot…. I feel like it was kind of my time.
As it stands currently, CBS Sports has Grimble rated as the fourth best tight end in the draft and a potential third round pick.
Grimble has always been touted as an NFL-level talent but he has never truly broken out into a star for the Trojans. Injuries and a rotation with Randall Telfer played a major part in that, as did Lane Kiffin’s offense which didn’t utilize tight ends in the passing game as much as USC offenses have in the past.
In 2013, Grimble was third on the team in receptions with 23 catches for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He was named an All Pac-12 honorable mention.
The Las Vegas native finished his USC career with two catches in his hometown, during a Vegas Bowl win over Fresno State. For his career, Grimble finishes with 69 catches and 11 touchdowns.
With early reports being that Grimble would return, many pointed to the prevalence of the tight end in new head coach Steve Sarkisian’s offense as a reason. Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins made the All Pac-12 second team offense, racking up 33 receptions for 413 yards and seven touchdowns in Sarkisians offense in 2013.
Without Grimble, the Trojans will rely on Randall Telfer and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, in addition to four-star prospect Bryce Dixon, who committed to the Trojans over the weekend.