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Bing, Justice, Matua leave USC early for NFL draft

LOS ANGELES -- Southern California lost two more juniors to
the NFL draft Sunday, when All-American safety Darnell Bing and
tackle Winston Justice informed the school they would skip their
senior seasons.

The Trojans have had five underclassmen declare themselves
eligible for April's draft since losing the Rose Bowl to Texas,
starting with running backs LenDale White and Reggie Bush, the
Heisman Trophy winner and possible No. 1 pick in April's draft.

Guard Fred Matua announced that he was going pro on Saturday.

"To leave a great school like USC is hard," said Matua, who
turned 22 on Saturday. "Any time you do something like that, it's
hard. But I prayed about it, thought about it, and the
opportunity's there and I'm trying to savor that."

Matua was an All-Pac-10 second-team pick last season. He said he
entered the draft to help his family financially.

During his high school years, Matua's mother battled breast
cancer.

"The hard work is in my hands," he said. "There are a lot of
things that need to be done in my family. There's a lot of
financial struggles that I have, there's a lot of financial
struggles that need to be taken care of."

Matua said he hired Steve Feldman as his agent.

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft was
Sunday.

Tim Tessalone, USC's director of sports information, said Bing
and Justice told him they would be leaving for the NFL. The players
weren't available Sunday for comment but intended to officially
announce their decisions on Monday, he said.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Bing had 50 tackles and four
interceptions this season.

Justice started every game after missing the 2004 season when he
was suspended from school for flashing a pellet gun at a student.
Both are considered possible first-round draft picks.

With Bing leaving early and senior Scott Ware out of
eligibility, USC will have to replace both its starting safeties
next season.

The departure of Justice means USC will have to replace three of
its five starting offensive linemen, including Matua and senior
guard Taitusi Lutui.

Before this season, only defensive end Kenechi Udeze, wide
receiver Mike Williams and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu had left
for the NFL as underclassmen under fifth-year coach Pete Carroll.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.