Steve Sarkisian lost another committed member to the class of 2014, when 3-star WR Shay Fields tweeted Tuesday morning that he no longer intends to sign with USC next month:
I think it's about time for me to say that I have decommitted from USC for personal reasons— Shay (@shaysosa01) January 21, 2014
Fields is now considering Colorado, California and Boise State, as indicated in another tweet:
Berkeley, Boise, Boulder— Shay (@shaysosa01) January 21, 2014
The wide receiver committed to USC back in October, under the Ed Orgeron staff. Since then, Steve Sarkisian and his new staff have substantially cooled off on Fields, which led him to ultimately part ways with the Trojans.
Like Austin Maloata, Fields' decommitment was expected, and due to scholarship limitations, was actually exactly what Sarkisian needed to assemble the class he wants.
Sarkisian has maintained that USC would honor all offers extended to players under the old regime, but by ceasing contact with commits like Maloata and Fields, the coaching staff indirectly encouraged them to reopen their recruitment. Without scholarship restrictions, Sarkisian would not have to make such a decision, but since USC can only sign 19 guys, his priority is to land the top talent available with limited resources.
In 2012, USC found itself scrambling to keep its once coveted recruiting class together. After a disappointing 7-6 season, nearly half of the Trojans' class abandoned ship, including players like UCLA's Eddie Vanderdoes, Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III and Florida State's Jalen Ramsey and Matthew Thomas, among others. USC ended up with a decent class, but it certainly wasn't what the Trojans had hoped for.
This year, the Trojans took a lot of momentum into the offseason, thanks to a 10-4 season and a postseason bowl win. Orgeron put in a lot of work restoring USC's image, and the Trojans are now looking to cash in on the recruiting trail. Unlike last year, most of USC's commitments for 2014 are strong verbals; these guys aren't budging, which could have put Sarkisian between a rock and a hard place if these decommitments didn't come.
With Fields seeking greener pastures elsewhere, USC's class of 2014 stands at 15 commitments, and four scholarships are now available. That means more coveted USC targets like Adoree' Jackson, JuJu Smith, Damien Mama and Michiah Quick now have a scholarship waiting for each of them, should they want to take it.
As all but Quick have been leaning towards the Trojans throughout the process, the decommitments USC has experienced over the past few weeks come at a perfect time. With national singing day just over two weeks away—and a slew of targets taking official visits to Troy this coming weekend, including Mama—USC needed to have those four scholarships available.
All recruiting information courtesy of 247 Sports.