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USC football: Tight end Blake Ayles says he is transferring to Miami

January 12, 2011 | 11:03 pm

Blake_240 Blake Ayles, a senior tight end for USC, said Wednesday night that he is transferring to Miami, where he will be eligible immediately.

“It’s a fresh start,” Ayles said. “I’m just trying to get that starting spot and fulfill my dream of winning a national title.”

Ayles, who has been a reserve and has struggled with injuries, told Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin of his decision Wednesday.

“Blake informed me that he has decided to leave and use the free-agency rule,” Kiffin said, referring to a condition of NCAA sanctions handed down against USC last summer that allowed juniors and seniors at the time to transfer in 2010 and 2011 without having to sit out a season.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Ayles joins a Miami program that last month hired former Trojans assistant Brennan Carroll as tight ends coach and national recruiting coordinator. Carroll was USC’s tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator when Ayles signed with the Trojans in 2008 out of Orange Lutheran High.

Ayles said he contacted Carroll after learning he had been hired at Miami.

“After he got the job I thought about it, looked into it and I asked if there was a spot,” Ayles said. “He said, 'Come on out.' "

Carroll had time remaining on his contract when Kiffin let him go last year and is still being paid by USC, said a school employee who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly about contract details. Carroll could not be reached for comment.

Ayles played in nine games and caught six passes as a freshman. In 2009, he played in eight games and had seven receptions. Last season, he played in 10 games but caught only one pass, a 54-yard reception against California.

“I didn’t have that much fun last year and that’s why I play football,” he said.

Ayles said was thinking about transferring to Miami before last season. The hiring of new coach Al Golden and the subsequent hiring of Carroll, he said, made it an opportunity he could not pass up. He said he knows several Miami players and plans to be on campus by Monday.

“I’m going to really miss my teammates and the university,” he said of USC.

--Gary Klein 

Photo: Blake Ayles. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.