You might say Xavier Grimble will have come full circle when he takes the field with the USC Trojans against Fresno State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday afternoon (12:30, ABC) at Sam Boyd Stadium.
In what may have been his final college practice for USC (9-4) on Thursday afternoon, the Bishop Gorman product ironically was back on Fertitta Field with Gaels head coach Tony Sanchez and several of his assistants on hand watching.
“Nothing less than a blessing,” Grimble said. “I get to come back to my high school with the college I love and my college team, running around on the practice field … kind of having a few memories and kind of living the moment a little hit. It’s pretty exciting that I got to do that. It’s pretty special to me.”
Grimble, a consensus prep All-American, helped lead Gorman to the first of five consecutive state titles in 2009, capping off a 15-0 season with a 62-21 victory over Del Sol in the 4A championship game at Sam Boyd Stadium.
“A lot,” Grimble chuckled what has changed at Gorman since he’s left. “It was nice when we got here but now it’s just extravagant. I’m just happy to be here and show my guys around and show them where I’m from and where I played, and just enjoy it man.”
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Grimble said his Trojan teammates, many of who came up afterward and shook Sanchez’s hand and thanked him for allowing them to practice there, were very impressed with Bishop Gorman’s facilities.
“(They said) Oh man, you came to SC and left here?” Grimble said. “Everybody thought I should have just stayed in high school and gone straight to the draft.”
Grimble said he spent over 30 minutes with USC’s ticket manager trying to fill over 30 ticket requests from friends and family for his homecoming contest against the Mountain West champion Bulldogs (11-1). It could be Grimble’s final game in the Cardinal and Gold. Although he hinted earlier he would probably return for his senior year, he said he would wait until after the bowl game to make a final decision (See video above).
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Grimble, a redshirt junior who has 23 receptions for 248 yards and two touchdowns this season, is rated the No. 4 tight end prospect and a potential third round pick by NFLDraftscout.com should he elect to bypass his senior campaign. Of course, that could change depending how things go at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“Still thinking about it,” Grimble said. “It’s going to be a tough decision. I’ll be thinking about it more heavily after the bowl game. Right now I’m just focused on getting the 10th win for my guys.”