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USC

Bru McCoy is leaving Texas and intends to return to USC

SANTA ANA, CALIF. - SEP. 21, 2018. Mater Dei receiver Bru McCoy signals a first down after making
Santa Ana Mater Dei receiver Bru McCoy signals a first down after making a catch during a game in September 2018.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The transfer of five-star wide receiver Bru McCoy to Texas in January after just two weeks on USC’s campus was considered to be another stinging indictment of the state of Clay Helton’s program coming off a 5-7 season.

As of Friday, though, when McCoy decided yet again to enter his name in the NCAA transfer portal, all of the angst that came with the former Santa Ana Mater Dei star’s spurning of the Trojans effectively disappeared.

Two people close to McCoy’s family told the Los Angeles Times that McCoy intends to transfer back to USC, the school he originally signed with in December, because of an extreme case of homesickness during his semester in Austin.

McCoy participated in spring practice with the Longhorns and created the type of buzz expected of a player who won several national player of the year honors after his senior year.

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McCoy is not just any high-profile recruit. That much became clear as Texas coach Tom Herman, quarterback Sam Ehlinger and two other staff members reportedly traveled Wednesday to Southern California to convince McCoy to return to Texas for summer workouts, which began Tuesday without McCoy. He had been home during a break in the Texas school calendar and attended his Mater Dei graduation. At some point, he decided not to get on the flight back to Texas.

It was easy to revisit his earlier infatuation with USC, the school he was always expected to attend. His close friend and former quarterback at Mater Dei, JT Daniels, is likely to start his second season for the Trojans in 2019. Another friend and former Mater Dei teammate, Amon-ra St. Brown, will be in Los Angeles too.

Plus, Bryce Young, the Mater Dei quarterback who threw passes to McCoy last season, has committed to USC for 2020. The Trojans should feel like family.

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Of course, none of that seemed to matter when McCoy shocked the college football world by leaving USC for Texas in January. McCoy’s decision to sign to USC came after the news that Kliff Kingsbury was going to bring his “Air Raid” offense to the Trojans. But after Kingsbury left to coach the Arizona Cardinals, USC was left only with more uncertainty about the future. McCoy leaving for Austin weeks later only furthered the impression, right or wrong, that Helton’s program may no longer have staying power.

It wasn’t long after McCoy’s departure that Helton hired another “Air Raid” disciple, Graham Harrell, as offensive coordinator, but McCoy was unwilling to let that process play out to completion and followed his heart to Texas.

Now, he appears to be trusting his gut again, despite all of the criticism that will come with it.

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McCoy wants to come home so badly that he is willing to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules. McCoy will have the ability to apply for a waiver with the NCAA that would allow him to play immediately, but there are no guarantees, particularly with a situation that has no precedent — an early-enrollee freshman transferring twice in the spring semester before his first college season and ending up back with his original school.

USC could use some depth at receiver but has plenty of top-end talent at the position for 2019 in Michael Pittman Jr., Tyler Vaughns, St. Brown, Devon Williams and freshman Kyle Ford, a fellow five-star recruit.

Even if he has to sit until 2020, McCoy simply wearing cardinal and gold this fall will serve as a step toward changing the perception of Helton’s USC program.

brady.mccollough@latimes.com

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Twitter: @BradyMcCollough


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