Fall Camp 2013: Xavier Grimble Breaking Through Trojan Threshold


Entering his junior year in Southern California and following a breakout campaign in 2012, 6’5″, 250-pound Xavier Grimble is finally starting to stand out amongst the bevy of weapons on offense.

“It’s time to focus on some of the small details and just keep developing and perfecting my game,” said Grimble, who has made a tremendous contribution through the early portion of Fall Camp.

The proof is in the pudding early in camp as Grimble has dispelled injury concerns, playing his best brand of physical football while remaining an active part of the offensive progression.

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Devoting himself to pass protection and mastering of the playbook, Grimble continues to work on improving his game from inside-out.

“I am always hard on myself.  I feel like I haven’t real done a whole lot yet,” Grimble noted about his performance, adding, “I think you guys are going to see a lot more from me.”

The budding collegiate star entered USC as four-star prospect from Las Vegas.

Grimble continues to shine by utilizing his athletic combination of power, speed and strength across the middle. His skill set stands alone on the Trojans offense, becoming a major security blanket for Cody Kessler, Max Wittek and Max Browne throughout a majority of passing drills.

“Ever since I came here, they wanted me to be a physical guy,” Grimble said. “That’s pretty much my role, to catch the ball and get those hard-fought yards.” This upcoming season, that could all change for the junior prospect who is beginning to showcase tremendous hands and instinctual awareness in coverage.

As the leader of the tight end trio of talent, Grimble further develops under new position coach John Baxter, who also works alongside special teams. “[Baxter] is a very, very sound coach,” he said following practice Saturday night. “I knew that he was going to be a super detail guy and I love his coaching style.”

Baxter immediately proved reliability and respect to the position as the assistant head coach under Lane Kiffin. With 20-plus years of coaching experience, Baxter has quite the talented group of players to mold with sophomore Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and Randall Telfer–who when combined with Grimble, makes the best tight end tandem in the Pac-12 among the ranks.

The leader of this budding group is still getting comfortable playing the position, battling with post defenders over middle linebackers all the way until his sophomore year in high school.

“The whole time, I was going to school trying to be a basketball kid,” Grimble recollected to Neon Tommy last season, adding “I had a couple D1 scholarships to play basketball, but I just thought my size and the way I was built would be more useful in the football game.”

Now passionately behind his talents down the middle of the football field, Grimble has become a major option, something that was seriously lacking in the Trojans’ offense last season.

For a position that only garnered 14-percent of targets in 2012, getting the ball rolling now has been key for early Fall Camp success. “Once you can make a few plays like that [and] show some flashes to Kiffin, he wants the ball to be in the guys’ hands who make plays,” said the reception-hungry Grimble.

The most recent practice highlighted the direction of the program, with the man of the hour Grimble leading the charge during an exciting time for the USC offense.

Cody Kessler stepped up under pressure to fire a deep strike in the face of multiple defenders, delivering a perfectly-timed strike to the swift Grimble, who then snagged in an incredible over-the-shoulder reception.

Look for Grimble to be a pivotal part of the offense in 2013, a big target that will have opposing defenses struggling to contain him.