Once committed to USC, 4-star wide receiver Eldridge Massington decided against joining the Trojans in early December and will be heading to UCLA according to a tweet he sent out late Tuesday night:
I wanna thank God for guiding me through this process but Go Bruins!!!!— eldridge massington (@OH_GOTTAMAN) December 19, 2012
The announcement was later confirmed by Andrew Bone of Rivals.com.
Ranked by ESPN as the 17th-best receiver, Rivals as No. 33 and 247 Sports at No. 15, losing Massington was a pretty big blow for USC. Yes, the Trojans still have a solid class; no, losing one of the top wide receiver prospects for a team that relies on a pro-style offense is never a good thing.
Damon Sayles of ESPN (Insider) has more on his decision to de-commit from USC:
Massington, however, said his decommitment stems from recent conversations with the USC coaching staff. He said his mid-year arrival to the campus would be delayed.
"I won't be able to get to USC in January, and I need to get somewhere for my knee to make sure it really gets to 100 percent," said Massington, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound receiver. "I want to make sure it gets professional rehab.
Massington is a big target, standing 6'3" and weighing 205 pounds. He should turn into a nice deep threat and dangerous weapon in the red zone.
ESPN Insider had the following scouting report on Massington:
He really goes up and attacks the ball in jump ball situations. He is purely an outside receiver right now, but has some traits that lead us to believe he could be a gem in the slot. He is a quick with quick feet, but must climb to top speed. Once he gains momentum and if allowed a free release, he can be difficult to handle one-on-one. He possesses deceptively good top-end speed, does a nice job of tracking balls downfield and is a threat to make the big play in the vertical passing game.
While he missed his senior season with a knee injury, Massington caught 41 passes for 666 yards and six touchdowns as a junior at West Mesquite High in Texas. Even if he rehabilitation progresses nicely, adjusting to the college game after losing a full season will take time.
If his rehab progresses slowly, he's a redshirt candidate.
Like most high school receivers entering college, he'll need to improve on the more technical aspects of the position, like route-running, blocking and fighting off jams. But given his many physical gifts, Massington should be a dangerous weapon at the next level.