- Damon Sayles, RecruitingNation
ESPN 300 wide receiver Eldridge Massington (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) will get the Los Angeles college lifestyle after all. It’ll just be on the other side of town.
Massington verbally committed to UCLA on Tuesday night, becoming the 19th commitment of the Bruins’ 2013 recruiting class. The commitment comes exactly two weeks after the 6-foot-3, 205-pound receiver parted ways with USC.
Massington, who is still rehabbing a torn ACL in his left knee, originally was set to make a decision on Saturday between UCLA and Alabama. Massington, however, said his decision was made after he finally received a gut feeling -- something he said was missing for the last few days as he weighed his options among UCLA, Alabama, Arizona State and Tennessee.
“I just looked at all the pros and cons of everything, and I felt like UCLA was what I needed to do,” Massington said. “It got stressful at times. At first, I really didn’t know where I wanted to go, and my gut feeling wasn’t speaking to me. I did a lot of praying, and something told me to go to UCLA.”
Massington was recruited to UCLA by offensive line coach Adrian Klemm and receivers coach Eric Yarber, but almost every coach was in on conversing with him. He had a chance to get to know coach Jim Mora and his staff on a recent official visit.
The overall sincerity of the staff was something that won Massington over. Being a part of a program looking to turn things around played for a close second in reasoning.
“The coaching staff, I can feel what they were saying,” Massington said. “When [Mora] came to see me and talked to my folks, the way he talked to me, you can tell they wanted and needed me. With them being a growing program, I feel it can be a growing success.”
What Massington wanted everyone to know, however, was his decision was not out of spite. Massington said his decommitment stemmed from recent conversations with the USC coaching staff and his inability to arrive on the campus in January. Massington is a December graduate, and he was looking to be in college for classes and rehabilitation next month.
“I want everybody to know that I have no hard feelings toward USC,” Massington said. “I didn’t choose UCLA to get back at them. I still have love for USC.”
Massington did say that he has plans to run track for UCLA upon arrival. His knee is close to being fully healthy, and he’s hoping to be a major contributor as a sprinter. Massington was a district champion as a junior for West Mesquite.
“I’m at a stage right now where I don’t even feel anything anymore,” he said. “I can explode, but I’m still rehabbing strong to get it to a full 100 percent.”
Ranked No. 167 in the ESPN 300, Massington participated in The Opening over the summer. He caught 41 passes for 667 yards and six touchdowns during his junior season. He is ranked No. 17 among receivers nationally and No. 23 among players in Texas for the Class of 2013.