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Rachal to leave Trojans early

Times Staff Writer

USC offensive lineman Chilo Rachal, a fourth-year junior who has started the last two seasons at right guard, will make himself available for the NFL draft, his father said Thursday night.

Charles Rachal said his son called him Thursday from an unspecified location and informed him that he would leave USC.

“He said, ‘Daddy, I made up my mind. I want to go pro,’ ” Charles Rachal said. “I told him, ‘If that’s what you want to do, I’m not going to stand in your way.’ ”

Chilo Rachal, 21, could not be reached for comment. USC Coach Pete Carroll is on vacation in Hawaii and could not be reached for comment about Rachal or reports he had spoken with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank about the NFL team’s search for a head coach.

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Rachal has not spoken to USC coaches since the Trojans’ Rose Bowl victory over Illinois on Jan. 1, and he has had minimal contact with his parents while weighing his decision to stay for a final season or turn pro.

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Charles Rachal said he did not think that his son had hired an agent or that he had sent in paperwork to the NFL. Players have until Tuesday to officially declare for the April draft, so Rachal could still return to USC if he changes his mind.

Rachal sat out three games this season because of a knee injury but was voted All-Pacific 10 Conference by league coaches.

Charles Rachal said he thought family medical issues influenced his son’s decision. He said his wife is awaiting clearance for the removal of a tumor.

“I think it played a considerable role because he loves his mama,” he said.

Charles Rachal said he did not expect his son to change his mind. “He’s right around the corner from his degree,” he said.

And citing players such as LenDale White, Rachal continued: “He’s not the first to leave [early] and he’s not going to be the last.”

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gary.klein@latimes.com


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