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Norcross' Butler picks Southern Cal over Florida State

NORCROSS - It played out exactly how Brice Butler wanted it to.

As the talented wide receiver sat down at the table, which was engulfed with microphones and tape recorders, he laid out three hats in front of him.

The 100 or so people that were crammed into the Duke Building for his press conference on Saturday at Norcross High School studied the hats carefully.

It had long been rumored that Butler was down to Florida State and Southern California for his college commitment. But there on the table, there were just three hats - FSU, LSU and Notre Dame. USC wasn't anywhere to be found. It didn't even make the final cut.

So it seemed obvious. Butler was going to be following his dad Bobby's All-American footsteps at Florida State.

After discarding both the LSU and Notre Dame hats, Butler told the riveted crowd: "I'm going to continue the Butler legacy in football and choose ... USC."

Just as he was announcing his choice, Butler took out a USC hat from inside the Florida State one and put it on his head.

Butler, like he does with opposing cornerbacks unlucky enough to have to cover him, had turned the typical hat routine completely around.

The family smiled. The crowd roared its approval. And the USC football machine got itself another uber-talented offensive player.

"That was my idea," Butler said with a smile about the hat inside the hat. "I came up with that one."

His father, who played for the Atlanta Falcons for more than a decade, would have loved to have seen his son follow in his footsteps at Florida State. But throughout the process, and with too many scholarship offers to count you can believe it was definitely a long process, Bobby made it a point not to try and persuade Brice into a decision.

"That was very important for me," Brice said. "He didn't give me a lot of added pressure. Because I was already getting enough from people on the outside."

"It has nothing to do with us," Bobby said of he and his wife, who also attended Florida State. "It had everything to do with him and what's right for him."

And that was Southern California, with its warm weather, its beautiful scenery and its football program, which has been the best one in the country this decade.

"I want to win," said Butler.

He has a very good chance to do just that out in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, even though he will now be an adopted USC fan as well, his father will continue to pull for his Seminoles.

"I bleed garnet and gold," Bobby said. "You can look at my car out there and see that. And I've been brainwashing my kids since birth about the garnet and gold.

"But (USC head coach) Pete Carroll has done a great job ... and USC was just the right fit for him."