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LOS ANGELES -- Running back Dillon Baxter will not be a part of the USC Trojans football program going forward, coach Lane Kiffin said Sunday.
Baxter, a sophomore who left USC's team in October, is still enrolled at the school but is expected to transfer to another FBS program at the conclusion of the semester. He'll have to sit out a year at his new school and then have two years of eligibility left in 2013 and 2014.
"Dillon Baxter has not been with our program for a while now, in any shape or form," Kiffin said. "Nor will he ever be with our program."
The latest news completes a full-fledged saga with Baxter at USC. A highly-touted prospect out of San Diego Mission Bay High, Baxter graduated a semester early from high school to practice with the Trojans in the spring of 2010.
And he was an immediate sensation that spring, prompting Kiffin to compare him -- more than once -- to former USC star running back Reggie Bush. But he eventually found himself in Kiffin's doghouse.
In June 2010, after USC was hit with NCAA sanctions including a two-year bowl ban and a loss of 30 scholarships over three years, Baxter told a school compliance official that he had been illegally contacted by coaches from various programs across the country, leading USC to report the violation to the NCAA.
When it turned out to be false, then-athletic director Mike Garrett was forced to send a letter of apology to the five schools named by USC in its filing to the NCAA.
Later that summer, he was suspended for the season opener against Hawaii for an unspecified off-field issue, and he also missed a November road game against Oregon State after he was found to have accepted a golf-cart ride from a student-agent in a violation of NCAA rules.
Still, Baxter was expected to have a major role in the USC offense as a true freshman, but he gained only 252 total rushing yards on 59 carries, and scored one touchdown. Then, in 2011, Baxter lost out on a starting spot in the season opener to fellow second-year player D.J. Morgan and then was a minor factor as a backup, totaling just 29 rushing yards on nine carries in the first six games.
He was then left off the travel roster for USC's October game at Notre Dame and subsequently left the team, with Kiffin saying that he'd continue to be supported by the school's academic services department but have no other involvement with the program.
As a prep, Baxter was recruited by Florida, Michigan, Oregon and Tennessee, among others. He is expected to consider some of those schools as well as hometown San Diego State and UNLV for his next destination.Pedro Moura covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com.