Tag:Dillon Baxter
Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:51 pm
 

Report: SDSU dismisses Dillon Baxter

Posted by Tom Fornelli

A hundred years from now, scholars will still gather and debate the greatest moments of the Dillon Baxter Era at San Diego State, and it'll be a sad sight to behold. It just shouldn't take a century to dissect an era that failed to last even 60 days.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Wednesday night that Baxter had been dismissed by the team not even two months after transferring to the school from USC. Baxter had been suspended last week for what head coach Rocky Long referred to as a "variety of things."

While the school has yet to confirm Baxter's dismissal, the report says a source close to the situation told the Union-Tribune those "things" haven't stopped happening.

Baxter said he "couldn't talk about it" when contacted by the paper.

School seems to be the main culprit, as Baxter reportedly had issues with attendance and sleeping through study halls. The report also says that Baxter recently became a father, which may be playing a role in his ability to attend class and desire to find sleep whenever and where ever he can.

Baxter carried the ball only 9 times for 29 yards at USC last season, failing to receive any playing time in any of USC's final eight games.

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Posted on: January 25, 2012 7:48 pm
 

Katz, Butler, Baxter transfers to SDSU complete

Posted by Adam Jacobi

San Diego State may be a new member of the Big East, but its football team just got a huge dose of Pac-12 talent. Former Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz, former USC wide receiver Brice Butler, and former USC tailback Dillon Baxter all finalized their transfers to SDSU on Wednesday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, and may begin participating in off-season activities with the football team immediately.

Katz and Butler took advantage of the NCAA's transfer exemption for graduate students, as both got their degrees at their schools with eligibility remaining, and are taking their talents to SDSU for one final year without needing to sit out. Baxter's route to the Aztecs is more traditional, as he's still an undergraduate with two years of eligibility left but has to wait until 2013 to start playing ball.

Katz has a strong arm and showed flashes of promise at Oregon State in 2010, but he was beaten out for the starting role in 2011 by freshman Sean Mannion and didn't see action in the Beavers' last 10 games. He will not face a great deal of competition for the SDSU job, as rising junior Adam Dingwall is the only returning SDSU quarterback with any passes attempted in 2011; he went 0-1.

Butler was a four-star, Army All-American recruit for Pete Carroll at USC, but his playing time decreased significantly once Lane Kiffin took over and Robert Woods, Ronald Johnson, and Marqise Lee emerged as the showcase receivers for the Trojans. Butler adds much-needed depth to a wide receiver corps that only returns two players who gained more than 50 yards or three catches last season, and he will likely be a serious contender for a starting spot.

Baxter, meanwhile, was a five-star running back prospect and played as a true freshman for USC in 2010, but Kiffin buried Baxter on the depth chart this season before dismissing him from the team for the season in October so Baxter could "focus on his academics," as Kiffin said in a statement. Baxter was a YouTube sensation in high school, but aside from one absurd spring practice touchdown, he has yet to translate it into big-time success on the collegiate level. Unfortunately for SDSU, Baxter's year of ineligibility means there's still a void at running back, as Third-Team All-American sophomore RB Ronnie Hillman has declared for the NFL draft after rushing for 1711 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2011 and being named a Doak Walker Award finalist.

San Diego State begins its spring football session on February 21, and it opens its season in 2012 at Washington on September 1.

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Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:07 pm
 

USC RB Dillon Baxter released from scholarship

Posted by Chip Patterson

After a rocky start to his collegiate career, USC running back Dillon Baxter has reportedly been released from his scholarship and will seek a transfer after this semester.

"After speaking with Coach [Lane] Kiffin, we decided it was better to part ways," Baxter's stepfather, Anthony Mooney, told The Orange County Register on Thursday. "It was an amicable situation that was better for Dillon and for USC. We want to thank everyone at the university for the opportunity and support they gave to Dillon while he was there. Unfortunately it just didn't work out. It just wasn't a match at this point."

Baxter, a touted five-star recruit out of San Diego, saw limited action in the first four games of the season. His most productive performance being a seven carry, 29 yard outing in the 38-17 victory over Syracuse on Sept. 17. When Baxter did not make the trip to Notre Dame in October, Kiffin cited academics as the reason the sophomore running back would not be a part of the program.

Baxter's stepfather told The Register that the talented tailback is "looking for a new start." The schools currently under consideration for transfer reportedly include San Diego State, Florida, and Portland State.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:45 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 11:46 am
 

USC's booted Baxter to 'focus on academics'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Trojan career of USC sophomore running back Dillon Baxter is hanging by a thread--if it's not finished already.

Lane Kiffin finally addressed Baxter's absence from the traveling roster for the team's win over Notre Dame Tuesday morning, confirming in a statement on the Trojan website that Baxter "will not be part of our football program" for at least the remainder of the season.

"The decision has been made for Dillon Baxter to focus on his academics," Kiffin said. "[W]e will continue to support him with our academic services department. There will be no further comment regarding this from me or any member of our program."

Though the statement would seem to leave the door open for Baxter's potential return, few seem to expect it after the former blue-chip recruit struggled mightily to find playing time in the Trojans' first seven games. For the season, Baxter has only nine carries for 29 yards and is well behind Marc Tyler and Curtis McNeal on the depth chart.

Baxter has also been something of an off-field distraction during the 2011 season, with his parents requesting (and receiving) a meeting with Kiffin to discuss his lack of playing time in the season opener and his absence from the Notre Dame game reportedly due to his decision to remain with his girlfriend as she gave birth.

Whatever the issues between Kiffin and Baxter -- or Baxter and his grades -- it seems highly likely that if the San Diego product is to ever fulfill his ample recruiting hype, he'll have to do it somewhere other than USC. The consensus five-star seemed poised for stardom after Kiffin offered him rave reviews in spring camp 2010, a camp in which he did this just days after graduating high school:



But barring an impressive career rehabilitation, that play will be as close as Baxter ever gets to stardom for the Trojans.
Posted on: April 23, 2011 10:31 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2011 10:38 pm
 

Despite injuries, USC ends Spring on a high note

Posted by Bryan Fischer

LOS ANGELES -- It's hard to take away too much from Spring Games. Sometimes they're designed to make the offense look good or feature a certain player. Often enough they're too vanilla and are limited to a handful of big plays. Given the injuries that USC has sustained this spring, it's hard to take away much of anything.

Despite limited action for several starters, there were a few bright spots here and there for the Trojans as they wrapped up their Spring Game at the Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

“Well, I thought the storyline of the day would be, if this were a real game, the play of the first-team defense, especially early on before we took some guys out," Lane Kiffin said. "The two defensive ends played extremely well today, (along with) T.J. McDonald and Nickell Robey. That was good to see."

The receiving corps was particularly banged up for the Trojans, who mostly had walk-ons running routes for a bevy of quarterbacks. Freshman All-American wide receiver Robert Woods did not play after spraining his ankle playing basketball, which Kiffin subsequently declared off limits before a game in the future. Brandon Carswell left the game with a concussion and tight end Rhett Ellison also went down with a back injury.

Quarterback Matt Barkley had his moments but finished a pedestrian 22 of 42 for 212 yards and two interceptions as a result of a lack of options in the passing game.

“I think it’s hard to evaluate,” Kiffin quipped of Barkley. “You guys (the media) probably had to go to your rosters a lot to know who the guys were out there who were running routes for him.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do on offense. It is hard to assess with so many people out for all of spring and so many people coming in that are going to have to play for us. It’s really hard to address where we’re at and figure it out.”

Quarterback Jesse Scroggins was 6-of-15 for 68 yards and had one interception while Cody Kessler went 4-of-6 for 24 yards. Both quarterbacks, along with Max Wittek, are looking to backup Barkley in the fall. Luckily the ground game seemed to be moving the chains on offense a bit more effectively. Running back D.J. Morgan rushed for 89 yards on 14 carries before coming out with injury but displayed the ability to turn the corner and then hit the jets on a nifty 36 yard run. Curtis McNeal also looked good and had 107 yards and two touchdowns on the day.

“The O-line pretty much stepped their game up today,” McNeal said. “They took so much criticism throughout the whole spring and today just came out and played. I just did my part and ran the ball.”

After being criticized much of last year, the defense showed flashes of old and played well throughout the day. They ended up "winning" the game 42-29 using a modified scoring system.

“The D is playing faster,” defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “Second year in the system, knowing it better. You see this, you see that."

Defensive end Nick Perry was a constant presence in the backfield and finished up with six tackles and two sacks. Cornerback Anthony Brown (who had an interception) and safety McDonald looked sharp in the secondary. In fact, the defense as a whole might have done even better had they been allowed to blitz.

“It may not have been my decision," the elder Kiffin said. "It might have been somebody, a guy with the last name Kiffin.”

With blitzes and several starters out for the Trojans, it's still hard to get a good read on what kind of team the Kiffins will have once the calendar turns to August. Ask them and they'll tell you the same thing. 

Thanks to the creativity of Lane Kiffin though, perhaps it's fitting that USC ended their spring game - and spring practices - on a high note thanks to a reverse pass from tailback Dillon Baxter to Barkley for a touchdown.

"To finish off the Spring Game with a touchdown catch was a good feeling," Barkley said. "He haven't gone over it at all. Kiff just said let's do this. It was man coverage so it was a pretty easy play."

USC might need a lot of improvising in the fall if the injury issue continues to arise. They can only hope they all will end up as high notes.
Posted on: March 23, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2011 2:44 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: USC

Posted by Bryan Fischer

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at USC, who started spring practice last Friday.


Spring Practice Question: Is there depth on both sides of the ball in year two of the Lane Kiffin era?

At a time when most college students were just waking up for their first class of the day, quarterback Matt Barkley lofted a beautiful deep ball to wide receiver Robert Woods to wrap up USC's first spring practice. The perfectly thrown post route was one of the few things the Trojans looked sharp at during their first early morning workout, which began at 7:30 a.m.

"Kiffin always wants to end on a bang," Barkley said. "We're just getting used to it. There should be better tempo in the days to come."

Many USC players arrive at the football facilities at 5 a.m. to stretch and get taped before heading to meetings at 6 a.m. The practices are similar to how Pac-10 rival Oregon operates but Kiffin's idea switch to the early practices was not a result of what the Ducks have been doing.

"It's actually something, over the last couple of years, that I wanted to do," Kiffin said. "Because of class schedules you have to do it a year in advance because of registration and to block these hours. At Tennessee we wanted to do it but we weren't there for a full year before spring. It's something I want to look at in the spring and could be a possibility for the fall."

Although Kiffin hasn't made up his mind on the practice schedule this fall, he is hoping several of his players are able to get some playing time in before the spring ends. After battling a general lack of numbers and several injuries throughout last season, the Trojans will limit full contact drills and do more 7-on-7 in place of full team periods.

“The scary thing is, we’re 19 short and we just started," Kiffin said. "Usually you’re short at the end of spring. Hopefully we don’t add to that list, and possibly get some guys back.”

A 20th player, tailback Marc Tyler is likely to be added to the list after aggravating his hamstring muscle while stretching out for a pass on the first day. One young player who could use the opening to get into the mix at running back is redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan. Fully recovered from knee surgery his senior year in high school, Morgan is reportedly the fastest player on the team and could be a nice change of pace back to pair with a bruiser like Tyler. Also in the mix is Dillon Baxter, who hopes to rebound from a disappointing freshman campaign and translate some of the talent that made him a YouTube sensation in his first season.

Paving the way for the backfield is a talented but limited group of offensive lineman. Starting left tackle Matt Kalil is healthy and is looking to build on a very solid debut season protecting Barkley's blind side. Returning starter Khaled Holmes will receive snaps at both guard and center but will be limited the first few weeks with a neck stinger. Center Abe Markowitz and guard/tackle Kevin Graf will sit out some or all of spring practice due to injuries. Some reinforcements have arrived in junior college transfers David Garness and Jeremy Galten. The two should provide added depth but they must quickly get up to speed with the offensive terminology.

Things aren't much better, depth-wise, across the trenches on the defensive line. Tackle Christian Tupou will be limited while recovering from a knee surgery last season and defensive end Wes Horton will also miss part of spring practice with a foot injury. Defensive end Armond Armstead is being held out after being hospitalized for a heart condition and hopes to be cleared by doctors by the end of the month. Position coach Ed Orgeron is looking to get the most out of the group that is practicing, including talented defensive end Nick Perry and defensive tackle DaJohn "Juicy" Harris.

Linebackers Chris Galippo, Devon Kennard and Shane Horton will also watch most of spring practice from the sideline. Though all three are expected to start in the fall, their vacant positions will allow many of the younger players to receive extra repetitions and build a bit of depth at a position that has had it lacking for several years. Marquis Simmons, Hayes Pullard and safety-turned-linebacker Dion Bailey are three of the players the coaching staff has high hopes for and expects to get better with the added practice time.

"Even though it's a bummer that those guys missed, it's kind of a blessing in disguise that we can get the young guys a bunch of work," linebackers coach Joe Barry said. "At linebacker, it's all about reps and seeing things 1,000 times. The only way you can see things 1,000 times is if you get snaps. The young guys are getting a bunch of work so it's actually good for us."

The secondary is probably the healthiest of any of the position groups and has several players who should compete for playing time. Safeties Marshall Jones, T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Demetrius Wright are a talented, physical group that gives defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin a lot of flexibility on the back end. Though senior starter Shareece Wright is off to the NFL, Nickell Robey, Tony Burnett and Brian Baucham all have experience at cornerback and redshirt freshman Anthony Brown has looked good in practice as well.

The defensive backs usually has their hands full going against a fast group of wide receivers every day. A freshman All-American, Woods has easily become the number one option on offense and is - quite simply - a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Brandon Carswell, De'Von Flournoy and Markeith Ambles should all contribute for new receivers coach Ted Gilmore but red zone target Kyle Prater will be sidelined with a foot injury. Senior tight end Rhett Ellison will be an integral part of the offense and don't be surprised to see youngsters Christian Thomas, Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer involved in two tight end sets.

With a deep group of weapons on offense, USC is looking to experiment with more of a spread-based attack this spring. The coaching staff is hoping that Barkley's third year of spring practice and an offense that relies the quarterback making plays translates into an even better season this fall.

"He needs to take the next step from being a really good quarterback to a great quarterback," Kiffin said. "Last year he improved a lot on his decision making and you saw his touchdown to interception ratio increase dramatically. Now he needs to do that again and take a leadership role and put everything on his back. He did that at times last year but now he just needs to be more consistent with that."

Spring Practice Primers
While Kiffin is looking for Barkley to take his game to the next level, he also has to worry about who is backing him following the departure of senior Mitch Mustain. Two early enrollees, Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, and redshirt freshman Jesse Scroggins will battle things out for the number two quarterback spot. Barkley has taken on the role of mentor to the young players, helping them with their playbook and giving lessons from when he was a freshman going through spring drills for the first time.

Left somewhat unsaid by the coaches and the players however, is the status of USC's NCAA infractions appeal. The Trojans are hoping to play in a bowl game this upcoming season and have asked for several scholarships back from their original penalties stemming from the Reggie Bush case. It has been nine weeks since USC argued their case in front of the Infractions Appeals Committee and it's very likely that the team will have to deal with a decision coming in the middle of spring practice.

"I haven't thought about it in awhile," Barkley said. "It's not affecting how I'm playing right now. We're obviously hoping for the best in whatever comes out of that situation but it's not affecting how we're getting ready for the season."

In the mean time, the work in and around Heritage Hall continues. There's no new system to learn on either side of the ball and the coaching staff returns mostly intact so the Trojans' focus this spring is mostly on themselves. Kiffin hopes to find some depth in his second year as head coach and there's certainly some talent on the roster. 

Despite being down in numbers, there's some depth this season for USC. Only time will tell how much there really is though.

Posted on: November 25, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2010 12:44 pm
 

USC gets Baxter back, Barkley doubtful

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this week the USC Trojans were wondering whether or not running back Dillon Baxter would be ruled ineligible to play against Notre Dame this weekend.  Baxter went on a bit of a joy ride in a golf cart with someone who turned out to be an agent.  Given everything that's gone in in the college football world with agents this season, and the fact that USC was just hit with NCAA sanctions earlier this year, you can see why the Trojans would be worried.

They can stop worrying about Baxter, however, because the NCAA ruled that he was eligible to play on Wednesday night after he made a donation of $5 to a local charity. Yes, I know, I wish I could get out of trouble for $5 too.

Though just because the Trojans feel relieved about the status of Baxter, they still have other things to worry about.  The status of quarterback Matt Barkley is still in denial doubt, as he deals from a high ankle sprain suffered last weekend.  It's the type of injury that normally takes weeks to recover from, but don't tell that to Barkley, he's trying to think happy thoughts.

“I’m just trying to do everything I can to get this right,” said Barkley.

“That’s what my mind is thinking…. I do (think it’s realistic.) That’s the positive thinking that I think you have to have. If it doesn’t happen, so be it.”

If I had to put money on it, I'd put money on so be it.  I just don't see how Barkley's ankle is going to heal in time for him to play on Saturday, unless he has some kind of magical healing potion that only he knows of.  Like the healing powers of Ace of Base.  Still, I'm not even sure that's enough, so I'd expect Mitch Mustain to make his long anticipated first start for the Trojans.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:59 pm
 

Markeith Ambles leaves USC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

A few months ago, Markeith Ambles was one the best players in USC's 2010 recruiting class.  He was ranked as the third best wide receiver in the 2010 class by Rivals, and came to campus with other five-star recruits like Kyle Prater, Robert Woods and Dillon Baxter.  Now?

Now Ambles is no longer a part of the team, as Lane Kiffin confirmed that Ambles was no longer a Trojan on Monday.  Ambles had been suspended suspended a few weeks ago for showing up late to a couple of team functions.  He had rejoined the team since his suspension, but was absent from practices last week, which led to speculation about his standing with the team.

While confirming that Ambles was off the team, Kiffin wouldn't comment on why he had left the team, just saying that he wished "him and his family the best of luck."

So far the class of 2010 seems to be causing Kiffin more headaches than anything else.  While Robert Woods has contributed to the team, along with the suspension of Ambles and now his leaving the team, there's also Dillon Baxter and his golf cart rides that the Trojans have had to deal with.
 
 
 
 
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