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USC recruiting class suffers yet another late defection, this time to Washington

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After losing 5-star Bru McCoy to Texas, USC’s recruiting class — already its worst of this century — has suffered yet another late defection. This one came in a more conventional fashion, though at a less conventional time.

4-star wide receiver Puka Nacua on Sunday night announced he would renege on his commitment to USC in order to sign with Washington. Unlike 4-star wideout Koy Moore, Nacua is a member of the Class of 2019, allowing Clay Helton and company no time to change Nacua’s mind. He waited five extra days past Wednesday’s traditional Signing Day in order to make up his mind once and for all.

“Every school is a great opportunity to pursue football and continue my education, but I felt like University of Washington is the best fit for me,” Nacua said on KSL-TV on Sunday night. “I’m excited to head up to Seattle.”

The Orem, Utah, native boosts what is already viewed as the best recruiting class in Washington history. The 23-man group includes 15 4-stars and ranks No. 16 in the 247Sports Composite rankings. With the loss of Nacua, USC’s 2019 class includes two more players than Washington’s, but eight fewer 4-stars. The Trojans will finish the 2019 cycle at No. 20 nationally — again, the worst in recruiting’s modern era for the Men of Troy.

There is some good news though: this stone has finally sunk to the bottom of the creek. Probably.

USC suffers another bluechip WR decommitment

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Signing Day 2.0 arrives Wednesday, and USC isn’t exactly sprinting toward the finish line.

The Trojans already witnessed 5-star Bru McCoy reverse out of Heritage Hall after two weeks on campus, and now they’ve lost a player who figured to profit from his departure after 4-star wideout Koy Moore announced his decommitment.

“My relationship with USC became strained with the coaching changes,” Moore wrote in a note posted to his Twitter account. “I enjoyed my time as a #FightOn commitment, I love USC but the recruitment is not up to my expectations. I would like to re-open my recruitment.”

Looking past what exactly Moore seems to be seeking in his college experience, Moore’s announcement is a shot across the bow of Clay Helton‘s attempted salvage of his tenure as the Trojans’ head coach. Tee Martin was USC’s most effective recruiter — and Moore’s lead recruiter — though his loss was mitigated by the promise of Kliff KingsburyGraham Harrell simply does not have the name-recognition of the last two Trojans offensive coordinators, and Helton isn’t enough to a draw to hold together the class by himself.

Moore is a member of the class of 2020, so his recruitment won’t affect the Trojans’ immediate prospects, but it’s still a sign that USC’s pitiful 2018 season seems to have gotten worse instead of better as the calendar flipped to 2019. USC will ink the No. 18 recruiting class on Wednesday according to the 247Sports composite rankings, its worst of the modern era, and it appears the next class won’t be any kinder.

USC receiver Trevon Sidney enters transfer portal

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Don’t look now, but another USC wide receiver is on the move. In the same week that saw the highest-rated recruit in the Class of 2019 already choose to leave the Trojans, now receiver Trevon Sidney is looking for a new place to call home. As first reported by Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, via Twitter, Sidney has entered his name into the mystical and all-powerful NCAA transfer portal, making him eligible to explore his potential options in the transfer process.

Sidney appeared in nine games for USC in 2018 and caught seven passes for 104 yards. Playing in mostly a reserve role in the USC offense, it would seem Sidney is looking for a chance to play a more meaningful role in the fall. Sidney has two years of eligibility remaining.

Earlier this week, Class of 2019 wide receiver Bru McCoy officially moved on from USC before even taking part in a single practice. McCoy, who decided to transfer from USC following the abrupt departure of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury (now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals). Texas became the landing spot for the star wide receiver. All that is left to determine is if McCoy has to sit out the 2019 season or if he will be eligible to play right away this fall.

Current Oregon player is second to sue Willie Taggart, university

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Not surprisingly, Willie Taggart and his former employer have yet another legal obstacle to navigate.

In January of 2017, three Oregon football players were hospitalized following a workout in the weeks after Taggart, now the head coach at Florida State, was hired as the Ducks’ head coach. It was reported earlier this week that one of those players, former Ducks offensive lineman Doug Brenner, is suing Taggart, the University of Oregon, UO’s former strength & conditioning as well as the NCAA for $11.5 million in connection to the situation.

According to the Daily Emerald, a second player, current Ducks offensive lineman Sam Poutasi, has sued the same defendants as named in the first suit for $5 million.

Poutasi and Brenner, along with tight end Cam McCormick, were ultimately diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle cells break down and its byproducts are released into the bloodstream. According to Brenner’s lawsuit, his life span has been shortened by upwards of 10 years as a result of “severe injuries, some of which are permanent, permanent renal injury… increased susceptibility of kidney failure, kidney disease, and death, severe physical and emotional pain.”

Poutasi’s lawsuit cites “physical and emotional pain, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and diminishment of avocational abilities.” That suit also mentions kidney damage as an aftereffect of the workout.

The strength & conditioning coach in charge of the workout that preceded the players’ hospitalization, Irele Oderinde, was suspended by the University of Oregon but reinstated a month later. Oderinde is now a member of Taggart’s support staff at Florida State and is currently listed as the football program’s head strength & conditioning coach.

Both Poutasi and McCormick are still listed on UO’s online roster.  The former played in five games this past season, the latter in one.

Utah losing two Utes to transfer

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No, not two Yutes.  Two Utes.

Tuesday brought a bit of departure upheaval to Utah’s roster, with first wide receiver Siaosi Mariner (not pictured) taking to Twitter to announce his decision to transfer from Kyle Whittingham’s football program and then, a dozen hours later on the same social media website, linebacker Chris Hart (not pictured either) doing the same.  Neither player gave a specific reason for their respective decisions, although Mariner had complained publicly about his role in the offense during this past season.

In 12 games this season, Mariner caught 17 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown, with the former two totals good for sixth on the team.  At least as it comes to the Utes portion of his playing career, the redshirt junior will finish with 785 yards and four touchdowns on his 52 receptions.

Hart was the highest-rated defensive signee in the Utes’ 2015 recruiting class.  Despite the recruiting hype, Hart played in just 15 games the past three seasons after taking a redshirt as a true freshman.  Four of those appearances came this past season, with all of his action coming on special teams.