Butler explains decision to return to USC

In January, USC receiver Brice Butler made plans to transfer away from the Trojans to an FCS school, citing a lack of playing time as the primary reason for his decision.

In March, while continuing to attend classes at USC but sitting out of spring practice, Butler told reporters it was possible he would end up returning to the Trojans. And, in May, USC announced Butler would indeed return to the team and compete with the Trojans as a redshirt junior in the fall.

Thursday, he explained why.

"My heart's here," Butler said after USC's first players-only throwing session of the summer Thursday. "I told [Coach Lane] Kiffin and all those guys that whatever I do I'm gonna be 100 percent behind it -- it's not gonna be I'm just coming here because I couldn't go anywhere, that wasn't the case at all.

"It was all me, it was all my decision."

Butler fought for the starting job across from Ronald Johnson last fall but lost out on the position to wunderkind freshman Robert Woods. He didn't end up seeing the field much as a backup, either, and only caught nine balls the entire season after recording 20 the previous year as a redshirt freshman.

In 2011, he could conceivably again compete for a starting spot, this time across from Woods, although he will face plenty of competition in freshmen Kyle Prater and George Farmer and senior Brandon Carswell, among others.

It was for that reason Butler's father, former Atlanta Falcons defensive back Bobby Butler, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in January that he didn't want his son returning to the Trojans -- as Bobby felt his son didn't get a "fair chance" to compete in 2010.

Bobby still didn't want his son coming back in May, but Brice managed to sufficiently convince him and earn his support.

"My parents didn't want me to stay and Kiffin and all them knew that," Butler said. "But my dad let them know it was my decision, not his or anything. He was fine with it. He knew it was my decision and, as a father, he's behind everything that I do.

"He was just telling me that if I came out here I couldn't do the same thing I did last year."

Butler said he mostly needs to work on the physical aspects of the game, and it sounded Thursday as if he and Kiffin had multiple discussions concerning that very attribute over the last few months.

And, as far as Kiffin and Butler's relationship goes, the 21-year-old receiver was also asked if he thought he'd be in the head coach's doghouse come August.

"I don't think so," Butler said. "I just know in myself that I'm going to have to outwork everybody. I'm not gonna come back and try to be like I'm the guy, because I'm not.

"I haven't been here in a while, so the only thing I can do is just gain everybody's trust and respect back and work hard in the weight room and out here and not say anything."