He may live in Las Vegas, but Canyon Springs High School running back Donnel Pumphrey considers himself a San Diegan through and through. When his grandmother and aunt left Southern California for Nevada years ago, Pumphrey's immediate family followed. But even now, he can't help but feel displaced.
So when he named San Diego State as the frontrunner in his recruitment on Sunday afternoon, the reasons why were obvious. That didn't stop him from stating them, though.
"First off, it's my hometown school," he said. "I'm in love with the weather there and I love their sports medicine program."
Trips to the Aztecs' campus have been frequent as of late. He was there last week and will return for another unofficial visit on Thursday. Familiarity isn't an issue here, but that's not to say his recruitment is an open-and-shut case. A shakeup could come in the form of brightly colored uniforms.
Pumphrey's list of potential suitors isn't particularly long or distinguished, but San Diego State has company at the top … sort of.
He names Oregon, which is yet to offer him a scholarship, as another favorite. Committing to a school that hasn't offered isn't exactly possible. Pumphrey know this. It's just that he feels as though his standing with the Ducks may change in the near future.
"We've talked about an offer," he said. "Coach (Gary) Campbell is a good coach and he coached my cousin, Jeremiah Johnson, at Oregon."
UNLV and Duke round out Pumphrey's current offer list. He says he intends to finish his senior season before choosing a school.
"I have to like the coaches first, but I'm looking at education," he said. "After that, I'm looking to see if the team is good or not."
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Pumphrey has been clocked at 10.84 seconds in the 100-meter dash and boasts a 3.7 GPA. He rushed for 1,647 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior at Canyon Springs last season.