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Thoughts on Kyle Prater transfer

1/10/2012

USC wide receiver Kyle Prater announced today via his twitter account (@DaReal_21) that he would be transferring.

“I will be transferring. I love my teammates, SC, my fans, athletic staff. Will always respect the coaches. God Bless.”

And so the offseason exodus continues. The fact that players are leaving isn't surprising -- there was going to be some roster attrition this offseason if the coaches hoped to meet the 75-man scholarship limit next fall. What was unclear, however, was how the spots were going to open up.



Certainly it would have been hard to predict that Amir Carlisle and Kyle Prater would be players who would be leaving within days of each other.

Carlisle announced last weekend that he would be transferring to Notre Dame. Prater didn’t give any indication of where he would be going, but it won’t take too long for him to find a home.

There is still a lot of game left in the 6-foot-5 Prater even though things didn’t quite work out for him at USC.

Prater arrived as a mid-year enrollee immediately after Lane Kiffin was hired in Jan. 2010. It was Prater and Dillon Baxter who came in at the spring semester -- a pair of offensive talents who were supposed to be ticketed for stardom at USC.

Prater immediately started suffering through a series of injuries to his thumb and hamstring which required him to redshirt in 2010.

Even when he tried to come back to the field, it was never for an extended period of time because he kept on getting banged up. There were also hip and foot issues which kept him out of action.

Occasionally there would be a flash of the kind of player USC fans had expected him to be. With his tall frame and long arms, it was easy to imagine him as a red zone weapon, and he did have some nice catches in the practice field at times. His biggest skill though was the one-handed catch. Prater’s hands are huge, and every now and then he would simply reach out with one hand and bring the ball in. It was impressive to see.

Unfortunately, those good moments were just too few and far between. Lane Kiffin wants consistency, and he never got that from Prater. Kiffin also didn’t get much in the way of yards after the catch from Prater -- an increasingly glaring issue in Prater’s game for a coach who thrives on his skill players making explosive plays.

Prater leaves USC with one career catch for six yards. The USC receiver depth chart should have no trouble moving forward without him. The Trojans are obviously set at the starting spots with Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, and there is still a chance George Farmer will get extended reps as a receiver. Victor Blackwell is someone who could really benefit from the departure of Prater, as Blackwell came on strong at the end of the year on the service team. Brice Butler is still on the roster amid recent rumors that he might also look to transfer, but perhaps the transfer of Prater will cause him to rethink that decision. De’Von Flournoy is also on the team, but is not expected to challenge for a role.

The Trojans have a verbal commit from one receiver for the class of 2012 in Darreus Rogers (Carson, Calif./Carson) and could look to bring in more. Highly rated receivers Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep) and Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) will also take official visits to USC in coming weeks, and both are ranked among the top 10 athletes in the nation by ESPNU.