The Unit Breakdown: Tight Ends

Take a behind the scenes look at the position group that head coach Lane Kiffin calls "NFL ready."

Four hundred and sixty two USC football players have gone on to play in the NFL.

If you stop to think about who they are right now, you can probably come up with over a dozen names without stopping for a breath. Included on that list are most likely quarterbacks, tailbacks, receivers and maybe a few linebackers.

But what about tight ends?

Right now five former Trojans are on Sunday rosters.

And there are actually three more, if all continues as planned, who will soon be right there with them.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin has tabbed Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer as potential premier players. Both over 6-foot-4 and 250-pounds, they have the size, skill and mindset to make it to the next level.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it, I'm a young guy," said Grimble. "It's going to be a good time and I'm going to be ready when it comes."

They've also had the luxury of watching former teammates Rhett Ellison and Jordan Cameron go through the grind to make it in the league.

In fact, Cameron is the tight end of the moment in the NFL. He's alreayd racked up 270 yards on 20 catches including four touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns this season.

"When I got here he kind of took me under as a young guy, I spent a good amount of time with him and it's great to see him out there balling and having a good time," said Grimble.

Grimble himself isn't fairing too poorly. The redshirt junior caught his first touchdown pass of the season in the Trojans 17-14 win over Utah State, as the tight ends continue to see an increased level of productivity in USC's offense.

"I know Kiff is a coach that wants the ball in the play makers hands, and the more plays you make the more ball you can expect," said Grimble. "So I just got to make it happen when it comes my way, and keep rolling and keep making those plays."

Grimble's fourth-year counterpart Ranfall Telfer if on the same NFL track, though he has spent significant time over spring and fall rehabbing a torn meniscus.

But as the patten continues, the next great USC tight end is already starting to pan out.

"It's always kind of been that way since we got here with Rhett and Jordan," said Grimble. "They kind of took us under, showed us the ropes, and now we're in they're spots and we got Jalen so we kind of making it run along."

Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is just a sophomore, but is showing enough promise that he'll fill the hole left behind when it's time for Grimble and Telfer to move on.

"I feel with this staff developing tight ends, especially Coach Baxter has done a great job on showing us how to be professionals, and I really feel that's going to help not only myself, but Xavier and Randall as they move to the next level," said Cope-Fitzpatrick.

"The more guys we get in and fuel out, the name becomes bigger and I think the way we're trying to run our tight end room I think is really good. We're setting it up for guys to come in and develop," said Grimble.

Grimble went on to say that he feels from day one at USC, there has always been a plan in place to get him and his teammates to the NFL, which obviously fits the patten in the numbers.

Once again, 462 have gone on.

There are no guarantees, but you can start to pencil in three more.

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