USC TE Xavier Grimble Declares for 2014 NFL Draft

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 16:  Tight end Xavier Grimble #86 of the USC Trojans carries the ball against the Stanford Cardinal at Los Angeles Coliseum on November 16, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

USC lost another underclassman on Tuesday night when tight end Xavier Grimble announced that he would forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2014 NFL draft.

"I’ve been at 'SC for four years and have had a pretty productive career," Grimble said, according to Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. "I’m healthy and just want to move on and give it a shot.... I feel like it was kind of my time."

Grimble has an NFL body (6'5'', 250 lbs) and has shown flashes of NFL talent during his tenure at USC. He wasn't always consistent in 2013, finishing with 25 catches for 270 yards and two touchdowns, but some of that can be ascribed to the up-and-down passing game as a whole.

Despite the average receiving numbers, though, Grimble still has the upside that NFL teams covet, according to former scout and writer Daniel Jeremiah:

Grimble becomes the fifth Trojans underclassman to declare for the draft, joining receiver Marqise Lee, center Marcus Martin, safety Dion Bailey and defensive tackle George Uko. That is a lot of talent to lose from a team that struggled at times in 2013, but USC has recruited well enough to realistically weather the storm.

At tight end, senior Randall Telfer and junior Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick will be back in 2014, and both saw a healthy amount of playing time behind Grimble this past season. Four-star prospect Bryce Dixon, the No. 2 tight end in the class, also committed to USC over UCLA at the Army All-American Game, and he might be an option to see early playing time.

The 6'4'' rising freshman has a lot of similarities to Grimble.