Michael Barton had many options and was probably going to receive more offers but the Concord (Calif.) De La Salle inside linebacker didn't want to drag out his recruitment so he decided Friday to commit to Cal.
"I've been over there a few times already and I got really close to coach Tosh (Lupoi) and the linebackers coach, coach (Clancy) Pendergast," Barton said. "The coaching staff is just amazing there.
"The people and the atmosphere at Cal is the place I could see myself fitting in the most out of all the schools that offered. I didn't want to drag this process on. I knew where I wanted to go right away and that was Cal."
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The Golden Bears had always been a favorite for Barton, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound prospect who picked up the Cal offer in mid-March. He landed that offer after taking an unofficial visit to Berkeley and that set the stage for his commitment.
"There was always an interest because I grew up watching Cal when I was little," Barton said.
"I always had interest in Cal but what really made my mind up with Cal were the coaching staff and the academics they offer there and the opportunity I have when I go there as far as football-wise and the next 40 years of my life. I think I'll have the best college experience there."
Arizona State, Colorado, LSU, Oregon State, SMU, UCLA, Washington and Washington State had also offered Barton, who was in close contact with USC as well. Because so many programs were interested Barton said his decision was tough but needed to be done because he knew Cal was the place for him.
"It was difficult," Barton said. "I talked to my mom a lot and I prayed on it because I built a lot of great relationships with a lot of the other coaches from other schools like coach (Joel) Thomas from Washington, coach (Clay) Helton from USC and coach (Tom) Mason from SMU are just a few of them.
"They're all great guys, they're all great programs so that was the hard part but Cal was extra special and I felt that was the school for me."