USC guard Rachal likely leaving
USC football coach Pete Carroll was confident, moreso than any year in memory, that the Trojans wouldn't lose a single junior to the NFL draft this year.
"I don't think we will," Carroll said last week before heading out on vacation.
But if reports are correct, by next Tuesday -- the deadline for juniors to declare for the draft -- USC right offensive guard Chilo Rachal will be leaving.
Carroll had talked against Rachal making such a move "because guards just don't come out," Carroll said. "They can't get their value."
Skill players, maybe, can get value as Reggie Bush did. But not interior linemen.
But as 6-foot-5, 315-pound Rachal made clear right after the Rose Bowl, this wouldn't be about getting top dollar for his services, just the dollars necessary to pay for surgery to remove his mother's stomach tumor. His father was also ailing, the Compton Dominguez grad said.
"It's time for me to do something for them," Rachal said.
Rachel's father, Charles, said his son called him Thursday and said, "Daddy, I made up my mind. I want to go pro," The Los Angeles Times reported.
Rachal, who missed three games with a knee injury this season, said the decision had been on his mind all year.
Maualuga, Cushing Back
Asked if he'll be back after an injury-limited season, USC linebacker Brian Cushing responded with one word after the Rose Bowl: "Definitely."
His roommate, Rey Maualuga, the outstanding defensive player in the Rose Bowl, reiterated what he's been saying all season once again this week.
He too is coming back, even though NFL draft experts are saying he may have been the junior whose bowl performance most lifted his draft status. ESPN listed him as high as No. 15 in the first round and the second inside linebacker to be taken, should he leave.
"I'm just gonna stay. I'm not in a rush. I'm gonna take it slow," Maualuga told his hometown Eureka paper, the Times-Standard. "I've still got a lot of growing up to do on the field."
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