Two Down, One to Go for Massington

Since decommitting from USC last week, Eldridge Massington has been kept busy with travel in attempt to find the best fit before he graduates next week. The four-star receiver hit Alabama over the weekend, and will be returning from UCLA Wednesday morning, only to head to Arizona State Friday.

"I've probably put on 12 pounds since the weekend," he laughed over the phone from his hotel room. "The last few days have been great."

Still, recapping visits to Alabama and UCLA, he admitted, "It's two different type of lifestyles, and I don't know which one I want to live yet."

For one, "Tuscaloosa's a small town, LA's huge… If I go to Alabama, I'll only be three hours from my girlfriend (who plans on attending Spelman College in Atlanta if Massington attends Alabama.) But if I go to UCLA, I'll be close to my grandparents who live out here. They just left, actually. I got to see them tonight."

"I'm not trying to redshirt my freshman year. I want to be an impact right away," Massington noted. "I think I'd have a better chance of seeing the field right away at UCLA. Not saying I couldn't at Alabama, but the chance would be better at UCLA. But if I were to play as a freshman at Alabama, I feel like the reward would be bigger because it's so tough to do. That'd be huge."

"When I went to Alabama, I fell in love with the sysem. System-wise, I love Alabama. Coaching-wise, I love UCLA."

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Alabama (12/07 - 12/09/12)

"I don't know why people get bad impressions about Coach Saban- he's so cool. We went to his house Saturday night. Had a good time. The players were telling me how to deal with him. It's simple. They said if you do what you're supposed to do, he's cool. If not, then you see the bad side."

One of these informative players was one who has done quite well for himself in his first year with the Tide, freshman wideout Amari Cooper.

"I hung with Cooper most," said Massington. "He's a lot like me- a workaholic."

"He and the guys said, 'If you don't want to work, don't come to Alabama. No days off. No going home in the summer.' You can see why they win so much. Everyone has the same mindset, everyone's on the same page. 'We work so we can win.'"

Cooper, like Massington will, enrolled in the spring semester.

"He told me graduating early was the best decision he's ever made- that's how he played as a freshman," Massington explained. "He basically had a full year to learn all the plays, and get comfortable with the system. He told me I'm smart for doing the same."

Massington noted that a phone call with Saban is scheduled Wednesday. "I'll know then whether they have a spot for me or not."

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UCLA (12/10 - 12/12/12)

"I've been hanging with Coach Yarber (receivers coach) this week," he said. "Klemm and all the other guys are out recruiting. Klemm will be my house this week, though."

"Coach Yarber just came out of the League a year ago, so he was showing me film of him of all the guys he's coached in the NFL- film of him coaching Chad Johnson, one of my favorite players… Terrell Owens… T.J. Houshmandzadeh. I've been talking to T.J. a lot. He tells me I'm fixing to go to the League under Coach Yarber and that he's the only coach that'll have me ready for the League."

Massington could agree.

"I'm definitely getting to the League, but I think I'd be more polished once I get there with Coach Yarber. He has the experience. He has a lot of connections, too. T.J. said if I come in January, he'll get up there and help coach me up, get me ready."

"Basically I'd be surrounded by [current and former] NFL guys here," he said. "That'd be cool."

UCLA is willing to let Massington run track, as well, which excites him- largely because Maurice Green, former world record-holder in the men's 100m, was named to staff earlier this fall.

"To work with Coach Green would be a dream come true," said Massington. "He promised he could get me down from a 10.4 to a 10-flat."

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Massington makes his third official visit this weekend, leaving Friday for Arizona State.

"They've been in the picture for so long. They never really stopped recruiting me. Even when I was committed, they kept in touch and came to see me. That was big to me."

In the end, regardless of the way things played out with USC, "I don't have any regrets about graduating early," he declared. "I'm ready to get on. My knee feels great. I don't feel the slight pains anymore; I can jump on one leg; I can run sprints again. I'm just ready to get to college, so I can start running plays and get familiar with the system."

UCLA's Adrian Klemm will be in Mesquite for an in-home visit Wednesday, following a scheduled phone call with Saban.

"Honestly, at this point, I don't know what to do," Massington admitted. "I don't have that gut feeling yet. I'm committing next week, though... The call with Coach Saban will tell me a lot."


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