Junior tight end Blake Ayles has told teammates he will transfer, according to a report appearing on ESPNLosAngeles.com Wednesday.
Ayles has yet to comment on the matter publicly, but USC coach Lane Kiffin told reporters that he heard that Ayles was “contemplating some things” but had not been made aware of any final decision.
“That’s all I know,” Kiffin said. “I don’t know that anything’s happened.”
NCAA sanctions handed down last June permit Ayles to transfer without penalty to any non-Pac-10 school. Under normal circumstances, he would be forced to sit out the 2011 season.
Last June, six players took advantage of the exception, including defensive end Malik Jackson, who transferred to Tennessee, and linebacker Jordan Campbell, who left for Louisville.
Sources say that a possible destination for Ayles is Miami (Fla.), which recently hired former USC tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll to the same position. Carroll was one of Ayles’ primary recruiters when coming out of Orange Lutheran High School in 2007, along with quarterback Aaron Corp.
Ayles, who was originally a four-star prospect in 2008 and rated as the fifth best player overall in the state of California by Rivals.com, amassed 14 catches for 182 yards and a touchdowns in three seasons with the Trojans.
If reports are correct, Ayles will become the second player to transfer this offseason after redshirt junior defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo transferred to Brigham Young.