Four-star RB De'Anthony Gatson decommits from USC
With midseason coaching change often comes recruiting fallout, and on Monday four-star Rivals250 running back De'Anthony Gatson became the first prospect to decommit from USC since head coach Clay Helton was fired a week ago.
Gatson announced his decision on Twitter.
"After careful consideration with my family and countless hours of prayer, I have decided that it is in my best interest to reopen my recruitment and de-commit from the University of Southern California," Gatson wrote.
It's certainly not a major surprise. In the wake of Helton's firing, the future of the USC offensive staff in particular is uncertain. Also, the Trojans' top two running backs just combined for 25 rushing yards Saturday vs. Washington State as the team struggled up front to create openings.
Interestingly, the Trojans actually gained a commitment Saturday as four-star cornerback Ephesians Prysock announced his Trojans decision soon after the team's 45-14 win.
But Prysock was recruited by USC interim head coach Donte Williams, who is likely to remain in the program beyond this season regardless, and who is remaining aggressive in recruiting despite the uncertainties within the program.
It was always a question how the offensive staff, which has struggled in general this recruiting cycle, would fare in that department after the news last week.
Gatson, out of Newton, Texas, committed to USC back in June shortly after taking an official visit. He is close friends with Trojans running back Darwin Barlow, who transferred into the program from TCU and has played sparingly so far.
Gatson was USC's only RB commit in this class.
The Trojans will lose redshirt senior Vavae Malepeai after this year and could also lose senior Keaontay Ingram, though he has the option to return if he chooses. If both depart, that would leave USC with Barlow (a redshirt sophomore this year who still has three more years of eligibility remaining), Brandon Campbell (a freshman) and maybe Kenan Christon, although the junior has been away from the team for an undisclosed reason for weeks and his status/future look uncertain.
In a worst-case scenario, if Christon's situation is not resolved, USC could have only two returning running backs and would need to again hit the transfer portal hard. They are also still pursuing four-star prospect Jovantae Barnes, out of Las Vegas, Nev., and a day after Gatson's decommitment USC offered four-star RB Jaydn Ott, a former Cal commit out of Norco HS.
It's likely the next head coach is going to have to rally in the final weeks before the early signing period in December to scramble the bulk of this recruiting class together.
USC now ranks 34th in the Rivals rankings with 10 commitments -- only four on the offensive side.