2013 West Mesquite (TX) wide receiver Eldridge Massington catches a pass at The Opening - Bud Elliott (SB Nation)
The four-star wide receiver was formerly committed to play for USC, but will now be playing for their biggest rival.
A wild two-week stretch that saw 2013 West Mesquite (TX) wide receiver Eldridge Massington decommit from USC and take official visits to Alabama, UCLA, and Arizona State ended with his commitment to UCLA:
I wanna thank God for guiding me through this process but Go Bruins!!!!— eldridge massington (@OH_GOTTAMAN) December 19, 2012
Massington had been planning on announcing his decision Saturday, but apparently did not need the extra time to know that he wanted to become a Bruin.
Humble throughout the process, the 6-4, 200-pound pass-catcher took the time to thank the coaches from his other two finalists in the minutes after his pledge:
Thanks to Bama & ASU for respecting my decision!!!— eldridge massington (@OH_GOTTAMAN) December 19, 2012
A consensus four-star prospect with a national offer list, Massington will enroll early at UCLA in order to continue rehabilitating his knee after suffering an ACL tear back in July. It was that desire to continue his recovery under professional care that ended his commitment to USC when the Trojans told him that he would not be able to enroll in January.
Was it hard for Massington to make the transition from one fierce rival to the other? Well, he's certainly taken some grief from it on his Twitter page, but also had this revelation after his pledge:
I still have this USC helmet sitting on top of my wall. WOW..— eldridge massington (@OH_GOTTAMAN) December 19, 2012
He also wanted to clarify some things about his decision:
"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."— eldridge massington (@OH_GOTTAMAN) December 19, 2012
Whether those feelings for USC continue during his time on campus remains to be seen.
And Massington will be on the UCLA campus in large part due to the efforts of the new coaching staff in Westwood, which is doing an excellent job so far of recovering from the Rick Neuheisel era and creating some positive buzz for the Bruins on the recruiting trail.
Moreover, the availability of early playing time with the Bruins losing three of their top four pass-catchers in receiving yards after this season was something that the Crimson Tide could not offer with their younger and deeper group at wide receiver.
So what will Massington bring to Westwood? Besides the tireless work ethic that will allow him to make the most complete recovery from his knee injury possible, as a junior the big wide receiver was a dangerous threat down the field, where he used his sub-10.6 100m speed to separate from opposing defensive backs. In college, that will likely remain his best attribute as a wide receiver.
Perhaps as a result of that effectiveness, there isn't a great deal of evidence that Massington can run a variety of routes -- he may need some developmental time in college to refine those aspects of his game.
Be that as it may, if defenders aren't respectful of Massington's ability to get open deep, he could provide quite the vertical threat for emerging star Brett Hundley.