Matua ready to declare for NFL draft

In a move that surprises many followers of the Trojan football program, junior offensive guard Fred Matua has decided to leave USC early and declare for the NFL draft.

"It's a time for me to really just go on and see some other challenges in my life," Matua told the LA Times. "I've got a whole bunch of brothers and sisters. My mother is sick and it's time for me to really kind of step up to the plate and really try to support those people now. A lot of people say, 'It's only a year. You could wait a year.' But my family doesn't have a year. My mother might not have a year. We're day to day."

Matua has been a three year starter for the Trojans at right guard and is known for intensity and emotional style of play.

Fred came to USC as a defensive tackle but was quickly moved to offense in part because of that fiery brand of play. It was thought that he could bring some life into an offensive line that needed a lift and he emerged this year as one of the bright spots on an o-line that was credited with being one of the best in the country.

Fred was named 2nd team All Pac-10 this season yet he did not ask for an evaluation of his potential draft status from the NFL, a common move among players considering early, and he is not expected to be an early round selection. The LA Times reports one NFL personnel director projecting him as a third or fourth round pick.

The loss of Matua at the right guard spot likely means that redshirt freshman Chilo Rachal will get the first opportunity in spring ball to step into that starting role. Rachal, from Dominguez HS, is considered one of the bright young players in the Trojan program. Top Stories