Xavier Grimble, the No. 1 tight end and No. 28 overall player in the ESPNU 150, committed to USC last April. ESPN.com talked to the the 6-foot-5, 241-pound Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) player about his decision and what it's like playing for a new coach and with a freshman quarterback.
ESPN: What is it like working with a new coach?
Xavier Grimble: This is actually, it's been my third coach in my high school career. So I mean, I've been used to it. You know, but I like this guy the most. He's up-tempo, he's fast. He gets us going and I think this has been my favorite coach out of all three.
ESPN: This year Bishop Gorman's starting quarterback is a freshman. What is what like for you?
Grimble: It's a little different. To tell you the truth, he's actually the best QB I've had. He's throwing to me a lot more and to be honest he's really, really good. When the season first started I was like, "Man, I've got a high ranking, this is supposed to be my year," and then come to find out the guy who's going to throw me the ball is a freshman playing on the varsity level. So I started thinking back when I was a freshman and I was like playing with varsity players, it was nerve wracking for me back then so he's the quarterback and you've got to have so much poise and be so calm to play that position so I was a little shaky about it, but he definitely proved me wrong and that if a guy can get it done, a guy can get it done. He's definitely getting it done.
ESPN: USC has a freshman quarterback. What do you think about Matt Barkley?
Grimble: He's doing a real good job too as a freshman, so I can't wait to see what he does his sophomore, junior year.
ESPN: How did you choose USC?
It came down to Florida, Oklahoma, USC and probably a couple of others, but really I have family out in L.A. I've been going back and forth to L.A. since I was a little kids so it was almost like if I had to live anywhere else I would probably live there. And just the practice intensity and the coaching styles, I think I really found a bond between me and the USC coaches. I talked to a lot of coaches over the phone and I've seen a couple of coaches in person, but I can really say that I felt a bond between me and coach [Pete] Carroll and Jethro Franklin and those guys, and I just want to be a part of that team. They're always in the top every year, they work hard in practice and they put a lot of guys in the NFL, and that's one of my dreams so why not.
ESPN: What did you think when you got your first call from USC?
Grimble: It's actually weird because they weren't the first team I heard from. We've got three guys that went to Oklahoma so everybody was kind of expecting me to go to Oklahoma. You know, I didn't really know. I've always like USC but they were never my favorite because I didn't really know that much about them. But since they called me I did a lot of research and I started going down there a little bit more so I learned a lot and I liked a lot of things about them. It all worked out.
ESPN: What was it about USC that made you want to go to school there?
Grimble: I looked at all the schools and thought I could get everything out of USC that I can get out of every other school, you know, big crowds, a top team, they're in the top 10, top five every year, they put a lot of guys in the NFL, great coaching staff, and then let alone it's right in my backyard in California, and I have family there. It's not a hassle for my parents to get down to see games, and I can come back on weekends and see my family every now and then. I just really feel like I'm going to be really happy there.
ESPN: What was it like making your commitment?
Grimble: It was almost like a relief because I did like three weeks where I'd just come home, sit down by myself and with my parents and just think, just going over all of the pros and the cons and just thinking about every situation I could possibly think of. It was a very hard decision, it was not easy at all. I actually kind of stressed over it a little bit, but you know, in the end I think I made the right decision.
ESPN: Are you trying to get any other players to come to USC?
Grimble: We tease a little bit. The tackle next to me, Geoffrey Gibson, he's going to Cal so I tease him a bit and Alex Turner is going to Stanford, I tease him a little bit. It's all fun, but I don't really try to persuade anybody to come to my school because everybody has a different situation so I can't really make somebody go to my school. I mean, I would like to, and I could tell them all the great things about it, but in the end it's their decision.
ESPN: You play basketball for Bishop Gorman too. What's your favorite sport?
Grimble: My favorite sport, that's a very hard question. When football season comes around I can't wait to play football and when basketball season comes around I play basketball. So I really can't say if I have a favorite. I just see my future in football further than I can see it in basketball.
ESPN: What are you working on for USC?
Grimble: Speed. That's what everyone talks about. You can never have too much speed so I'm going to constantly work, keep working on getting faster, catching balls, running better routes, blocking techniques and playing with low leverage and just finally getting myself ready for that next level because I know it's going to be tough.
Julie Turner is a recruiting editor for ESPN.com.