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  • 2006 USC News
  • Dominique Byrd was born on Feb. 7, 1984 in Minneapolis, MN. He is an excellent receiving tight end with marginal blocking skills. Good hands and route-running skills, and is good with the ball after a catch. Durability questions linger, however.

    He interned for Minnesota senator Mark Dayton during a summer in high school.

    He earned 2001 Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Tom Lemming All-American, Max Emfinger All-American, USA Today All-USA second team, Student Sports All-American second team, Super Prep Elite 50, Super Prep All-Midwest Offensive MVP, Prep Star All-Western Region and Student Sports All-Midwest first team honors as a senior at The Breck School in Minneapolis (Minn.). He caught 62 passes for 1,236 yards (19.9 avg.) and 25 touchdowns as a tight end in 2001 and had a team-high 108 tackles, including 21 for losses (with 4 sacks), and made 4 interceptions (returning 3 for TDs) as a linebacker.

    As a junior in 2000, he had 56 receptions for 1,280 yards (22.9 avg.) and 17 scores on offense and 109 tackles on defense. In his career (he also played some at wide receiver), he had 147 catches for 3,008 yards (20.5 avg.) and 49 TDs while starting for 4 years.

    He also was on the basketball team, earning 2002 Student Sports Grid-Hoops All-American third team notice while averaging 17.3 points as a junior, and track team, going 11.2 in the 100 meters and 6-4 in the high jump. He started on the varsity basketball team since the eighth grade after obtaining a waiver to play at that level. Current Trojan Nick Vanderboom also prepped at The Breck School.

    In 2002, Byrd was a backup tight end and special teams player as a freshman in 2002, his first year at USC. Overall in 2002 while appearing in 12 games (all but Kansas State), he had 1 reception for 10 yards (at Stanford) and made 2 tackles (both at Oregon). He also worked some at defensive end early in the season, but never saw action there.

    By 2003, Byrd was expected to be a key backup tight end as a sophomore in 2003, but when an injury sidelined Alex Holmes all season, Byrd emerged as the starter for the first 6 games and he excelled. But he tore ligaments in his left knee against Stanford, had surgery and was sidelined the remainder of the 2003 season. Overall in 2003 in those 6 games, he caught 14 passes for 268 yards (19.1 avg.). He caught 3 passes for 63 yards at Auburn, including a 42-yarder, 2 for 19 yards against BYU, 3 for 28 yards against Hawaii, 2 for 60 yards (with a 27-yard TD) at California, 2 for 68 yards at Arizona State and 2 for 30 yards against Stanford before going out with the knee injury.

    A year later, Byrd had quite an impact at tight end as a junior in 2004 in USC's final 9 games. He missed the first 4 contests (Virginia Tech, Colorado State, BYU and Stanford) after breaking his left kneecap in a pickup basketball game just before 2004 fall practice began. But when he returned, he was impressive. Overall in 2004, he had 37 receptions (fourth on USC) for 384 yards (10.4 avg.) with 3 TDs, plus he had 1 carry for 1 yards (1.0 avg.) and made a tackle. All of his catches game in the last 8 games. He made 2004 All-Pac-10 honorable mention. He missed 2004 spring practice while recuperating from a knee injury.

    He had 3 catches for 39 yards against Arizona State (his first receptions in 13 games since getting injured), then 5 catches for 57 yards against Washington, 5 for 32 yards at Washington State and 7 for 85 yards with 2 TDs (a one-handed 18-yarder and a 25-yarder)-all career highs-at Oregon State. He had 8 catches (a career-best for the second consecutive week) for 72 yards against Arizona, then 4 for 23 yards against Notre Dame and 2 for 8 yards at UCLA. Against Oklahoma, he had 3 catches for 58 yards, including a spectacular one-handed 33-yard TD.

    In 2005, Mackey Award and All-American candidate Byrd, equally effective blocking and catching (especially on deep patterns), likely will assume the starting tight end job as a senior in 2005. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove torn cartilage in a toe prior to 2005 spring practice. He missed spring drills while concentrating on his academics and because of a broken jaw.

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