The news was not unexpected -- Butler had been rumored for weeks to be looking around with the Aztecs and Kansas Jayhawks under consideration. Butler graduated from USC last month, which means he will be immediately eligible to play next year as a fifth-year senior.
The Trojans have been down this road with Butler. At this time last year Butler announced that he would be transferring, but he took the unusual step of staying enrolled as a student at USC for the spring semester. During that time, Butler became convinced that he wanted to stay, and he worked things out with coach Lane Kiffin to the point where he stayed and became a solid contributor in 2011 for the Trojans.
His season stats as a redshirt junior of 12 catches for 150 yards and no touchdowns were probably not the stats he was expecting but that was part of the issue with Butler. The production never quite matched the expectations. He was a solid player who had a role and he would have likely played even more as a senior, but he would not have been a starter. By going to San Diego State, he increases his chances of having a big season and showcasing himself for the NFL.
Butler certainly had his opportunities at USC. He arrived from Norcross High in Norcross, Ga., in 2008 with big expectations, but redshirted during his first year at Troy. In 2009, he had 20 catches as a redshirt freshman and was named to the ESPN.com Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
There were high hopes in 2010 for a starting spot opposite Ronald Johnson. Butler had the first shot at the job, but he didn’t do enough through spring ball to lock things down. Once fall camp arrived it didn’t take long for Robert Woods to grab the open spot. Butler ended up getting nine catches, and his frustration was growing due to a tough transition to Kiffin.
It appeared as if things had eventually worked out for Butler in his return to USC and things went well in his junior year. Butler was part of a campus ministry group that he started with several teammates and he was able to finish his degree in public policy and management.
Now he has made the decision to move on for his senior year. This is not a negative as he gets a chance to play a bigger role to help advance his career, and he gets to do so with the knowledge that he will always have a USC diploma hanging on his wall.