Eldridge Massington was dead set on enrolling at USC next month and beginning his career in hopes of being the next great wideout to flock to southern California. Instead, the West mesquite (Tex.) standout was told there weren't any spots left for January enrollees and they could not take him until the summer.
Massington, who stands 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, was not about to change his graduation plans – so he opened his recruitment back up. His most recent visit was to Alabama, who has offered him a scholarship, over the weekend.
"I love Alabama," he said with a laugh minutes after his plane landed back home. "They spoiled me. The lifestyle, how the players live, it just fits me. They are always chilling; they don't do too much other than football.
"Talking to some of the players, I like how it was down there because they all you do is work."
Work is something Massington has become accustomed to as he continues to come back from an ACL injury suffered over the summer. Even still, the thought of getting on campus early can only help him be that much more prepared for fall camp, especially compared to other incoming freshman. One player who showed how invaluable it could be in 2012 for Alabama, Amari Cooper, let the Texan know what it means to enroll early at wide receiver with the Crimson Tide.
"Coop was just telling me, ‘if you don't like to work – Alabama ain't the place for you," he said. "But if you like to work and compete, it is the place. Coach [Nick] Saban is cool; he'll give you a shot. He's going to put the best on the field.'"
"He was like basically even though I'm hurt, I get there early and it will help me out," Massington continued. "I will learn the system and get over the culture shock. Because if you come in June, you would see the culture shock, and you won't get used to everything. "
The early-enrollee process is near the top of the four-star's priority list at this point in his recruitment, so Saban himself stepped in to remind the senior of his prospects at UA.
"I had a one-on-one talk with Saban for a little bit," he said. "He was really devastated about what happened with the Cowboys (Jerry Brown died in a car accident, driven by a teammate). They are having a meeting about it tomorrow to talk about decisions and choices.
"He (Saban) said I have a big shot because of my size and my speed. He said it's all on me. I have the chance and opportunity in front of me. I just have to take it."
With Massington's injury, the progress has been noted and he's nearly ready to get out there at 100 percent, but it's all on his pace for now.
"It's going good," he added. "I'm at the stage where it's getting better, but I still have to rehab. Seeing how it feels as time moves on, and keep rehabbing. It's really on me."
While getting on campus, working and rehab were the main topics most of the time, the downfield threat was able to kick back some with fellow recruits both while eating and otherwise. But eating came up more than once as he recapped the highlights of the official visit.
"The food was great; I gained about 10 pounds in Alabama over the weekend," he said with a laugh. "They feed you every 10 minutes, and it was good food like steaks and macaroni and stuff."
But what stood out the most to the Massington was the hospitality in Tuscaloosa, which provided a bit of a glance of what it's like in the South. Particularly from the head coach himself.
"It was coach Saban," he said on what was his favorite part of the weekend. "We went to his house, and we got to ride carts on his trail. He's got carts and you can go fast – it was fun. He has a lake that's like 25 miles long and he has some boats. We were sitting on his dock and he feeds catfish, and a ton came up trying to jump out of the water and get the food."