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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Why did Eldridge Massington decommit?

By Garry Paskwietz

The up-and-down world of recruiting took another turn on Tuesday with the news that ESPN 300 wide receiver Eldridge Massington (Mesquite, Tex./West Mesquite) has decommitted from the Trojans.

Eldridge Massington
ESPN 300 WR Eldridge Massington has decommitted from USC, a school he pledged to back in the spring.
This one seems strange on the surface as Massington, ranked at No. 167 in the ESPN 300, had been extremely loyal in his dedication to USC. Massington had given his verbal commit to the Trojans last spring despite having never seen the campus. After he took a visit for the USC summer camp, his commitment seemed to grow even stronger, and he was unwavering in support of his future school.

In a cruel twist, Massington later attended a camp at the University of Tennessee where he suffered a knee injury that would require surgery and cause him to miss the 2012 season. The USC coaches made it clear at the time his scholarship would still be honored, and Massington dedicated himself to enrolling early at USC for the spring semester in order to continue his rehab with the Trojans' medical staff.

As a tall (6-foot-3) receiver with excellent speed, Massington was looking forward to eventually joining the list of talented USC receivers in recent years. This weekend was supposed to be the big step in that process, as Massington was scheduled to take his official visit to USC, along with many of the other early enrollees for the class of 2013. It was a group that had created a bond at summer camps and through social media, and this was going to be a chance for them to come together in their new home.

That was until Massington talked to the USC coaches in recent days. There were issues raised about his ability to enroll early, a delay that caused Massington to rethink his choice.

“I won’t be able to get to USC in January, and I need to get somewhere in time for my knee to make sure it really gets to 100 percent,” Massington said.

Massington doesn’t have any other visits set up at this time, but there should be plenty of suitors in the coming days.

Almost immediately, there has been speculation about the reasons for the decommit. With the limited number of USC scholarships for this class, there has long been talk that not all of the current commits will actually end up as Trojans in the end. It’s a harsh part of recruiting, but a reality that situations can change for both teams and recruits.

The Trojans had three receiver commits in the class -- Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./ Alemany) and Sebastian Larue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) are the other two -- and most of the internet chatter about a possible departure centered around Larue, since he had been open about taking other trips. Massington hadn’t taken any other trips or even shown interest in any other schools, which is part of the reason why there are so many questions about his sudden decommitment.

The Trojans will move on with 16 commits and room for two more. There have been rumors about the possibility of USC gaining additional spots in this class due to the Todd McNair/NCAA case, but nothing is official so far and right now, the Trojans are still limited to 18 spots in the upcoming class.

This weekend will be critical for the remaining spots as the Trojans, in addition to the early enrollees, will also be hosting a pair of elite safeties -- former USC commit Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) and Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) -- as well as Texas DT commit A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Tex./Arlington Heights).