University of Southern California tight end Blake Ayles has informed teammates of his intention to transfer, sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com Wednesday.
Ayles hasn't said anything publicly, however, and Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said he heard that Ayles was "contemplating some things" but was not aware of any finalized decision.
"That's all I know," Kiffin said. "I don't know that anything's happened."
Ayles, a junior, is able to freely transfer to any school of his choosing outside of the Pac-10 conference because of NCAA sanctions issued to USC last June. Six players took advantage of that aspect of the sanctions last summer, including defensive end Malik Jackson, who transferred to Tennessee, and fullback D.J. Shoemate, who picked UConn.
A possible destination for Ayles, sources say, is Miami. Former USC tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll was recently named to the same post with the Hurricanes, and Carroll was one of Ayles' primary recruiters out of Orange (Ca.) Lutheran High.
I will hold off on any opinions on this until he actually tranfers.
Sources have been wrong before.
If he does go we wish him luck...
UPDATE: 7am 1/13/11...
WeAreSC has the story, I haven't seen it in the local outlets yet this morning...
Ayles met today with USC coach Lane Kiffin to inform him of his decision. One of the penalties of the NCAA sanctions is that members of the 2011 senior class can transfer from USC without having to sit out a year so Ayles will be eligible to play immediately for the Canes. His position coach will be Brennan Carroll, who recruited him to USC and was also his position coach for the Trojans during his first two years on the team.
In the long run this is not a bad move for 'SC.
Ayles was one of those holdovers from the old culture that Lane Kiffin is trying to clean up. Whatever Ayles' issues are (on and off the field) he was not living up to the teams standards. Couple that with the depth chart at TE for 2011 and it doesn't take much to figure it all out.
Losing Ayles may be a plus in changing the culture but it hurts in the numbers department. Under the sanctions you can't simply exchange one for one. Pat Haden's comments yesterday at the McKay Center groundbreaking ceremony on scholarship situation make it all the more confusing.
I think he is hedging on purpose with the appeal only two weeks away...he isn't taking anything for granted.