USC wide receiver Vidal Hazelton has decided to transfer after a turbulent junior season in which he had just six catches.
“He did come to us and wanted to transfer,” USC Head Coach Pete Carroll said on Tuesday. “I signed some release papers for him today. We are going to do everything we can to help him.”
Hazelton was the Trojans leading receiver as a sophomore in 2007, pulling in 50 receptions for 540 yards and 4 touchdowns, but had slipped to fourth on the depth chart due to injuries and competition this season.
“It’s been a rough year for him, he’s been banged up, in and out all season long,” Carroll said. “In the competition of everything here he thought it might be better for him to go somewhere else, and he also has some serious family issues that he’s dealing with.”
The junior wide receiver suffered a series of injuries (sprained ankle, concussion, stubbed toe) and was never able to get on track.
“He didn’t have a good constant run at getting back out there and fighting for his spot because he kept having to take a step backward to heal and get well,” Carroll said. “You get banged up and lose your turn and other guys fill in.”
Earlier this season, a letter from Hazelton’s father, Dexter Hazelton, addressed to Pete Carroll surfaced on SCPlaybook.com detailing his frustration with the handling of an ankle injury his son suffered against Virginia.
Along with the injuries and lack of playing time, Hazelton’s desire to be closer to his grandfather, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this season, played a role in his decision.
“We are going to help him in anyway that we can and hopefully it will turnout well,” Carroll said. “He’s a very good football player, he’s a tough kid and a great competitive kid.
“This will give him a chance hopefully to get closer to home where he can stay in connection with the family issues that they are dealing with.
“We support our guys when something like this comes up. He has done well in school and all that so he is going to leave in good standing.”
Hazelton had just six catches in 2008.