Armstead no longer committed to USC

In one of the biggest recruiting stories of the year, Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif./Pleasant Grove) has de-committed from USC and will open up his recruitment.

Armstead, one of the nation’s premier lineman and the top ranked player in the West in the ESPNU 150, said he’ll still consider USC but is now wide open to other colleges.

“I was already taking visits but I wanted all the schools recruiting me to understand that I had a legitimate interest in them,” Armstead said. “I think when you’re committed and taking visits, there’s a different approach in how you look at a school and how they look at you. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while but in the last week is when me and my family decided that this was the best thing for me.

“My dad called up Coach [Clay] Helton and Coach O [Ed Orgeron] and told them about my decision. I haven’t talked to them yet but I will next week. He said they were disappointed but promised they would still recruit me and that’s fine with me. USC is still definitely in the picture and I’m still giving them a serious look.”

In terms of what brought on the decision to de-commit and the timing, Armstead didn’t want to get in too many details but it’s not hard to read in to them.

“All I can say is that over the last six months, my family has been a little disappointed with some things going at USC but that’s all I want to say on that. This is mostly about me wanting to make sure I’m making the right decision for me from a football standpoint as well as basketball and academically.

“I have my visit to Notre Dame this weekend and I’m visiting Alabama (Nov. 4). I’m also looking at Cal, Washington and Michigan for my last few visits but I think after word gets out that I’ve de-committed, I think a few more schools will come calling as well and I’m definitely open to that.”

Armstead said he’s still planning to graduate early and enroll in time for spring practice at his school of choice.

“I’m taking a very business like approach to this,” Armstead said. “I’m not going to let emotions get in the way but just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. In a way, it’s kind of exciting to go through the process a second time because the first time around, I committed so early to USC, I never really saw what else was out there.

“This time, I understand the process a lot more and know what I’m looking for. After I take all my visits, if USC is still the best place for me, I’ll commit there. If I find a better fit somewhere else, I’ll go there. I’m completely open to everyone right now and I don’t plan to rush this. I’ll even delay graduating early if I don’t have total confidence in my decision."