USC football: Brice Butler happy to return to Trojans
After playing sparingly and catching only nine passes for USC last season, the junior receiver from Georgia did not participate in spring practice because he planned to transfer.
But Coach Lane Kiffin announced last month that Butler had decided to stay.
"Just thinking about everything and lining up everything, it just all added up that SC was the better place to be," Butler said.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Butler, who had considered transferring to Delaware, enthusiastically participated in USC's first players-only workout on Thursday and looked as though he had not lost a step.
He said he spoke with new receivers coach Ted Gilmore, but made his decision to remain at USC after initiating several conversations with Kiffin. Butler, who caught 20 passes as a redshirt freshman in 2009, said Kiffin told him what he needed to work on -- whether he stayed or moved on.
Butler, the son of former NFL player Bobby Butler, said his parents did not want him to stay at USC but they respected his decision. In January, Bobby Butler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Kiffin had not given his son a fair chance.
"As a father, he's behind everything that I do," Brice Butler said. "He’s just telling me that ... 'You can't do the same thing you did last year. ... Go out there and do what you have to do, and I don’t want to hear you saying that you're not doing it.'"
Butler said he assured Kiffin and the staff that his heart was with the Trojans.
Now he faces the challenge of earning playing time in a receivers corps that includes star sophomore Robert Woods, senior Brandon Carswell, sophomores Markeith Ambles and De'Von Flournoy, redshirt freshman Kyle Prater and incoming freshmen George Farmer, Victor Blackwell and Marqise Lee.
Asked if he thought he would be in Kiffin’s doghouse, Butler said, "I don't think so. I just know I'm going to have to outwork everybody."
-- Gary Klein
Photo: Brice Butler. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times