Once pegged as a future star at USC, wideout Markeith Ambles
is headed to Houston. (Marin Media/Cal Sport Media)
By Zac Ellis
A former blue-chip prospect appears to have found his way back into major college football. Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com reported Monday that former five-star wide receiver Markeith Ambles, a onetime USC Trojan, has signed with Houston.
Ambles originally committed to Lane Kiffin at Tennessee but flipped to USC after Kiffin accepted the Trojans' head coaching job in 2010. The Atlanta native left the USC program just before the 2011 season after a tenure in Los Angeles that included several off-field incidents, including brief a departure from the team in 2010. Ambles made his way to Arizona Western junior college in 2012, catching 44 passes for 757 yards and six touchdowns.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this story comes when considering what the USC receiving corps could have become had Ambles remained in L.A. Partnering Ambles with the likes of Marqise Lee, who led the nation in receptions and was second in receiving yards in 2012, and the departed Robert Woods, a preseason Heisman candidate last season, could have deepened an already explosive group of wideouts. That doesn't even mention Kyle Prater, Rivals' No. 1 overall receiver from the 2010 recruiting class, who transferred to Northwestern in January after two banged-up years with USC.
While we're on the subject, here's a look back at the top 10 receivers from the '10 recruiting class, and what they're doing now:
1. Kyle Prater, Hillside, Ill.: Made his way to Northwestern in January after two seasons at USC, where he caught just one pass for six yards as a Trojan.
2. Da'Rick Rogers, Calhoun, Ga.: Spent two tumultuous seasons at Tennessee before being kicked off the team and transferring to Tennessee Tech before the 2012 season. He declared for the NFL draft in December.
3. Markeith Ambles, McDonough, Ga.: Signed with Houston this week, two seasons removed from leaving USC.
4. Mike Davis, Dallas: Despite originally declaring for the 2013 NFL draft, Davis opted to return to school in January after a strong junior season in which he led the Longhorns with 57 catches for 939 yards and seven touchdowns.
5. Ivan McCartney, Miramar, Fla.: Caught 59 passes for 701 yards and three touchdowns in three seasons at West Virginia before deciding to transfer to FAU in February.
6. Darius White, Forth Worth, Texas: Played only 20 games for Texas, recording six receptions for 71 yards and one touchdown, before transferring to Missouri before the 2012 season.
7. DeAndrew White, Galena Park, Texas: Hauled in 22 catches for 256 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons at Alabama and has been one of 'Bama's stars this spring after coming back from a knee injury suffered in 2012.
8. Justin Hunter, Virginia Beach, Va.: Led Tennessee with 73 catches for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns in 2012 after tearing his ACL in 2011. He declared for the NFL draft in December.
9. Chris Dunkley, Pahokee, Fla.: Transferred from Florida to South Florida in 2011 and was suspended last October following an arrest stemming from a domestic violence charge.
10. Martavis Bryant, Anderson, S.C.:
Caught 19 balls for 526 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons at Clemson. He returns as one of Tajh Boyd
's receiving targets in 2013.