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USC's Xavier Grimble decides to enter the draft after all

Xavier Grimble-140108-TOS.jpg

About a month after saying he was better off staying in school, USC junior tight end Xavier Grimble announced Tuesday night that he is turning pro.

"I've been at SC for four years and have had a pretty productive career," Grimble told The Los Angeles Times. "I'm healthy and just want to move on and give it a shot."

Grimble (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) told the Times he did not request feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board.

Grimble was considered the nation's top tight end and one of the top 20 players overall as a senior at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman in the 2010 recruiting class. But Grimble, who redshirted as a true freshman, never came close to living up to that billing. He had 69 receptions and five touchdowns in his three seasons with the Trojans, including 25 receptions and two scores this season, when he had several injuries.

Grimble is a good athlete who will test well in his pre-draft workouts. He has good speed and power, able to both run past and run over opposing defenders. He also is a solid blocker, but consistency and focus have been issues.

He is the fifth USC player to turn pro early; the others are wide receiver Marqise Lee, safety Dion Bailey, center Marcus Martin and defensive tackle George Uko.

Grimble seems to be a tier below three other junior tight ends who have declared for the draft: North Carolina's Eric Ebron, Texas Tech's Jace Amaro and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Still, Grimble should be one of the top 10 tight ends selected in May.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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