Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Pac-12 [Print without images]

Monday, March 5, 2012
Butler says he wasn't appreciated at USC

By Kevin Gemmell

For the second week in a row, a former USC football player is making headlines at San Diego State. While Brice Butler wasn't dismissed from the Aztecs or his new home on Montezuma Mesa — which was the case last week with former Trojan running back Dillon Baxter — Butler had some choice words for his former program.

Butler, who transferred from USC to San Diego State in January, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he didn't feel appreciated by Lane Kiffin, and that everything had changed when Pete Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks.
"I wasn't doing what I thought I should have been doing over there [at USC]. With Carroll, he had goals set for me and stuff like that. When the staff changed, things kind of changed for me. I want to go to the NFL, so I have to make the best decision for me and I did ... when Kiffin got there, it changed my outlook."

That all makes sense. But it's his next statement that's a bit of a head-scratcher.
"When Carroll was there I was one of the guys that, you know, Carroll looked out for. When you get a whole new staff, it changes. So that was one of the biggest reasons. It wasn't because of nobody that was playing ahead of me or anything like that. It had nothing to do with the players. It was all upstairs."

All upstairs? Nothing to do with the players? Really? I'm guessing that Robert Woods and Marqise Lee had at least a little something to do with it.

Guys transfer every year for a myriad of reasons. Coaching changes, personnel changes, broken promises. Whatever. It happens. And if you want to take a shot at your old coach on your way out the door, you better have a good reason to do it. But to say that it had nothing to do with the players — that would be the Biletnikoff finalist and the freshman All-American, by the way — well that's just plain silliness.

Was he treated poorly or underappreciated? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. I wasn't in the locker room. But I think we can all agree the two guys ahead of him are really, really good.

Butler is loaded with potential. At 6-4, 195-pounds, he was one of the top wide receiver recruits in the country and ranked 15th on the 2008 ESPNU 150 list. So things didn't work out at USC. There's no shame in saying you were the No. 3 guy behind two of the top receivers in the country and didn't think your targets or catches would increase. There's nothing wrong with trying to better yourself, and your chances of playing in the NFL, by transferring to a school that had two wide receivers drafted last year. But also be realistic that there was probably more at play than just a coaching change.