California may be the nation's trendsetter in many respects, but it remains a stubborn holdout to college football's latest recruiting craze. In a year when so many other elite prospects have made verbal commitments before the start of summer, most of California's top recruits are carefully weighing their options.
"I'm not in any hurry," Mission Viejo safety and
The difference between California recruits and the rest of the country is striking.
As of Tuesday, 54 members of the 2013 Rivals100 were verbally committed, while just two of the 11 Californians in the Rivals100 had made decisions. Westlake Village cornerback
Two other top California prospects could join that list soon. Stockton Lincoln running back
The majority of other California recruits, however, plan to wait much longer.
"A lot of junior days have just finished up here," said Rivals' recruiting analyst Adam Gorney. "They're a little later here than they are in other conferences. I think kids on the West Coast are often offered later by SEC and Big 12 schools, so unless they're sitting on a Pac-12 school they want to go to, a lot of them wait until the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 coaches come out and see them during practice."
Those certainly are logical explanations. But there also might be another reason for the delay, one unique to this cycle in particular. When Washington hired Tosh Lupoi away from California two weeks before National Signing Day, it sent shockwaves through the 2012 West Coast recruiting scene. The aftermath of that move is still making an impact.
"That whole thing that happened with coach Lupoi, I think it sent a message to everybody here in California that you have to wait until that point where everything's about to be finalized to make your decision," Atwater Buhach offensive tackle and Rivals100 recruit
Cochran should know. He's the younger brother of
"It really showed me that you can't just go to a school because of a coach, because the coach can leave any minute for a better job," Cochran said. "I really need to make my decision based on the school and not just the people there."
Part of it is basic geography. If a California recruit is targeted by an SEC, ACC, Big Ten or Big 12 program, visiting that campus can prove to be tricky. Even a trip to the Oregon or Washington schools requires time. Compare that situation to a recruit in Georgia considering SEC or ACC schools within driving distance, and the decision to wait makes sense.
"I feel like down in SEC territory, they know what their group of schools is," said De La Salle linebacker
Another part of it is attachment. While some California recruits have developed strong early connections to particular programs, many others haven't. Those prospects will need more time to make their decisions.
"I just think [California] kids tend to wait a little bit longer to decide, tend to wait until right before their senior season, just so they get a full idea of just who exactly is recruiting them," said Gorney. "They have some chances during the summer to take some visits far from home and stuff."
Some top prospects will likely decide this summer. Others won't even set a timetable. But as the national trend continues to move towards early declarations, California seems more than content to take its time.
"I know there are a lot of people committing, but for me there's no rush," said Sherman Oaks Notre Dame running back