USC Football Recruiting: Handicapping New Commitment Possibilities
Eldridge Massington (photo from sbnation.com)
With the news of Mesquite, TX wide receiver Eldridge Massington's recent decommittment from USC, the Trojans now have two spots open to complete their 2013 recruiting class.
Massington, an extremely talented wideout who combines great size (6'3", 205 lbs) and excellent speed (4.4 forty), surprised many with his defection which, according to Scout.com's Erin Hartigan, was due to USC not having an early enrollment spot available in January.
Said Massington, "They said I couldn't graduate in January. Three seniors didn't get their credits so they don't have a spot (scholarship) for me in January. I'd have to come in June; and that's not what's best for me so I had to do it."
Coupled with safety Max Redfield's defection a couple of weeks ago, the Trojans now will look to other players to round out what is expected to be one of the finest recruiting classes in the nation.
But who will these players be?
This slideshow will look at some likely candidates to fill these spots and offer some analysis as to the likelihood of these players moving west to play for the cardinal and gold.
Bear in mind that nothing is certain until a signature is faxed on a letter of intent, but in the meantime here is some idle speculation...
Leon McQuay III (Safety)
photo from: bigcountypreps.com
Scout.com's No. 7 rated safety, Leon McQuay, has long been enamored with the idea of playing for the Trojans.
At 6'1", 185 lbs, McQuay has the frame to put on a lot more weight at the next level and in terms of athleticism, there aren't many preps who are more blessed in that department than the native of Seffner, FL.
At one time, a combination of future Trojan Su'a Cravens and Max Redfield had USC fans salivating at the notion of defensive backfield domination, but with Redfield's decommittment, a Cravens-McQuay partnership would be a great consolation prize.
Best of all for fans of the program, the USC visit will be final one for McQuay, who has already made trips to Michigan, Florida State, Oregon and Vanderbilt.
And everyone knows the benefits of leaving a recent impression.
Odds of McQuay signing with the Trojans: 3-1
Trey Johnson (Linebacker)
photo from notredamegoirish.blogspot.com
An intriguing possibility to fill one of the Trojans' openings was created when Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was fired and prior commit, linebacker Trey Johnson, decided to look elsewhere to ply his trade.
Johnson, rated a 4-star prospect by Scout.com, brings good size (6'2", 220 lbs) and excellent athleticism to his outside linebacker position where his lateral speed often finds him running down speedy ball carriers on the edges.
At this point, it looks like a three-horse race for Johnson's services with the Trojans vying with Ohio State and Florida, both of whom have already received a visit from the Lawrenceville, GA native.
However, the Trojans have two things going for them.
Like Leon McQuay, Johnson's visit to USC will be the last on his itinerary, but most importantly, USC recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron is the coach responsible for landing Johnson.
And I wouldn't bet against "Coach O."
Odds of Johnson signing with the Trojans: 5-1
A'Shawn Robinson (Defensive Tackle)
photo from 247sports.com
Another interesting possibility to land with the Trojans is Fort Worth, TX defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson.
Robinson, a beast in the trenches at 6'5", 305 lbs, is listed as a "soft verbal" to Texas, but has decided to take some visits and like the others highlighted in this slideshow, he will make the Trojans the final destination for his recruiting trips.
As previously mentioned, one shouldn't discount the impact of sharing some "face time" with Ed Orgeron, who would be A'Shawn's unit coach at USC.
While landing Robinson is somewhat of a long shot, Orgeron has a history of unexpected signings, so delivering the big defensive tackle is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Odds of Robinson signing with the Trojans: 10-1
Tahaan Goodman (Safety)
photo from 247sports.com
A local product out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, safety Tahaan Goodman has been a regular visitor to USC over the years and knows what the Trojans are about.
Goodman, who is a teammate of Trojan commit, cornerback Chris Hawkins, is a 4-star prospect according to Scout.com, and combines excellent athleticism with a frame (6'2", 184 lbs) that will easily carry more weight at the next level.
Whether or not Goodman signs with the Trojans may depend on the status of Leon McQuay, as USC will likely only take one of the two in this class.
Odds of Goodman signing with the Trojans: 6-1
Priest Willis (Safety)
photo from 247sports.com
Yet another premier prep safety, Priest Willis is a player whom USC is very familiar with.
At 6'2" 199 lbs, Willis has nice size and is one of those complete players who can support the run while keeping things clean over the middle in pass defense.
Willis has spent time on USC's campus on a few occasions, which is why he hasn't scheduled a formal visit with the Trojans; but that, in and of itself, shouldn't act as a barometer to gauge his interest in the cardinal and gold.
At one time, Willis was considered a "package deal" with the aforementioned Tahaan Goodman, but that may not be the case anymore.
Although USC remains in the picture, LSU seems a more likely destination and Willis will make a visit there in the middle of December.
Odds of Willis signing with the Trojans: 15-1
Max Redfield (photo from foxsportsnext.com)
Of course, it may very well work out that these two open scholarship spots may be filled by the guys who originally occupied them in the first place.
This may be especially true in the case of safety Max Redfield. The Trojan recruiting staff has made up some serious ground with the talented Mission Viejo, CA product.
And it should be noted that although wide receiver Eldridge Massington has re-opened his recruitment, this is primarily due to an inability for him to enroll in the spring. Since Massington is coming off of an ACL, he could decide a fall enrollment date might work after all.
In any event, coming off of a disappointing 2012 college football season, Trojan fans should have plenty to smile about come letter of intent signing day in February.
It might be the first time they have smiled all year.