There is something very odd going on with college football recruiting in Southern California.
Though not a major seismic shift, there is a quiet movement afoot when it comes to the minds of impressionable young high school football players who desire to ply their trade in the Southland.
Take, for example, the interesting case of one Eldridge Massington.
And he was not just any old USC verbal commitment. No, this guy was out front and center proclaiming his love for the Trojans and attempting to sway any USC target to come West and sport the cardinal and gold for the men of Troy.
Then Massington tore his ACL on another recruiting trip and things changed.
Oh, maybe not for Massington, and he certainly didn't know it at the time, but the altered logistics of USC's recruiting class—due to the NCAA's sanctions against the Trojans—would have a profound impact on young Eldridge's decision on where to play football in 2013.
You see, Massington not only wanted to don the cardinal and gold for USC this year—he wanted to do it early by being a spring enrollee.
And USC simply couldn't accommodate that.
Is UCLA now a major threat to the Trojans when it comes to recruiting?
Given that Massington was on the mend coming off a serious knee injury, coupled with a severe limitation of those early-enrollment spots, meant that if Massington wanted to come to USC, he would have to do it in the fall.
And that was something he wasn't prepared to do, so USC and Eldridge Massington parted ways.
So what, you say? This happens all the time in college football recruiting.
True enough, but what happened next has set the stage for a raucous future when it comes to college football recruiting in the Los Angeles area.
You see, Massington went looking for a new home, and he found one right next to USC when he recently committed to the Trojans' cross-town rival, UCLA.
Spurning offers from college football powers such as Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame and others, Massington decided that if he can't play football for one Southern Californian team, he would do so for the other.
In the process, he has also served notice that UCLA is not only back to being a threat on the just football field but also in the zany world of high school football recruiting.
For Massington's part, the young man said it simply came down to where he felt comfortable.
In an article by ESPN's Damon Sayles, Massington said, “I just looked at all the pros and cons of everything, and I felt like UCLA was what I needed to do."
Massington went on to say it was nothing personal against USC and that, “I want everybody to know that I have no hard feelings toward USC, I didn’t choose UCLA to get back at them. I still have love for USC.”
That will change very soon, Eldridge. Especially on the part of Trojan fans should you turn out to be the kind of player that motivated the initial scholarship offer from USC in the first place.
In the meantime, should fans of the men of Troy be concerned that the school in Westwood is making up ground on the Trojans when it comes to tempting prep players to sport the powder blue and gold?
Yes, because when it comes to college football recruiting, that recent shaking has nothing to do with the San Andreas Fault.