Malik Cyphers remembers standing on the sidelines with a knee injury, unable to help his Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian teammates and yearning to get back on the field.
The 2014 prospect was good enough to play early at one of California's powerhouse programs but he missed six games this past season, only to return for the second half of the year and the playoff run.
It was a tough time for Cyphers, who said at the 1925 All-Stars 7-on-7 tryout Sunday held at Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco that it was also a learning experience.
"Knowing that I never missed a football game in my life I was really itching to get back out there to help my team," Cyphers said. "To see them go to work without me really hurt me.
"I'm staying humble with recruiting and I'm going to remain patient. I let my hard work speak for itself. If I keep working hard colleges are going to look at me. Academically, I'm also working hard with a 3.0 grade-point average."
Cyphers, a 5-foot-8 cornerback who's tough and rarely gets beaten in coverage, said he has talked extensively with Oaks Christian teammate Ishmael Adams about the recruiting process, what to watch out for and how to handle things.
Adams, a four-star cornerback who shined at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, signed with UCLA in recent weeks.
"Ishmael and I talk all the time," Cyphers said.
"We're really close. We work out all the time and he's like my role model as a defensive back. I get great advice from him and seeing how this college process works it was a great opportunity to work with him as a partner, as a friend and as a teammate."
It's still incredibly early for Cyphers but he has already picked up an offer from SMU and is receiving vast amounts of interest.
So far, Oregon, Cal, UCLA, USC, LSU, Florida and many others have reached out with preliminary recruiting mail.
Because he's still so young and so much can happen through the recruiting process, Cyphers is taking his time and looking everywhere for the best opportunity.
"I'm looking all over the country," Cyphers said.
"It may be anywhere for me if I have those options. It's kind of open for me. I used to have a favorite but seeing how hard this process is I might as well be open to see what's out there for me."