GARDENA, Calif. - Serra coach Scott Altenberg has not seen all the 2011 wide receivers but he would be hard-pressed - and so would many others - to believe there is a better one out there than his guy, George Farmer, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder who has it all going for him.
"I could see that," Altenberg said. "With everything he can do and how talented he is, I don't know if there's a package out there but then again I don't know. I only know what I see in my evaluation. It wouldn't surprise me. He can be as good as (Robert Woods.) They're different but he has all that and he's faster and he's bigger."
Farmer said: "I care because it's a new goal for me. The other thing is I can't let it get to me. You have to keep playing. You have to keep going. There are times people tell me that. By the end of the year I want to be first."
Rivals.com rated Woods, a Southern Cal signee, as the sixth-best prospect and top athlete in the 2010 class. There is a good chance Farmer will be ranked in that same range during his senior season as well.
There's just so much to like about Farmer, whose combination of size, speed and playmaking ability is a rare commodity. His father, George, played in the NFL and has been helpful not only in navigating the busy recruiting process but by showing his son what it takes to excel at the highest level.
"I tell my son all the time experience is like wisdom," Farmer, Sr., said. "He's got his best teacher right in front of him. The thing I love about George is he listens to all the advice we give him. That's the biggest thing about George - a lot of young people won't listen.
"George listens and he realizes I've already walked the path he's walking. Being his father, I'm not going to give him any advice that's not going to benefit him."
Farmer has also become much more competitive - and Woods' success has been one big reason why. Altenberg said Farmer has always been a "freak" and relied too often on his physical presence earlier in his career but when he started seeing Woods' work ethic, Farmer's approach changed. To be as good, to be the best, Farmer had to go harder - all the time.
Then the day came when in competitions Farmer would consistently beat Woods, an outstanding five-star prospect whose athleticism was almost unmatched in the 2010 class.
"We'll do these things where we lay them on the ground and they have to pop up and go and George wins every time," Altenberg said. "We have Robert Woods and no one competes more than he does and George would get him every time and George is 20 pounds more than him.
"He's really benefited from having Robert as a mentor, to know how to deal with this. He learned how to compete and how to deal with all this. It can get a little overwhelming.
"We've had guys so they're used to seeing coaches and head coaches and people around a lot but once it's you, you don't realize how much of your time goes from this, to this, to this coach and to deal with it all and do it with grace. George was like a sponge checking out Woody and seeing how he did it."
Not only has Farmer, who caught 41 passes for 891 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, learned from Woods in the past but that will continue while Woods attends Southern Cal. The Trojans are certainly one of Farmer's top teams so he will be following the new staff and his close friend this season.
Farmer attended a Southern Cal basketball game last month and has talked with many of the assistant coaches in person but has yet to meet with coach Lane Kiffin. The two have talked on the phone but Farmer's basketball season is still going on so football recruiting has taken a little break.
"SC is the school to beat out of the Pac-10, they're top dogs," Farmer said. "Just like Florida is the big school of the SEC. It's another school I have to look at. It's on my top list but I'm keeping all my choices open right now."
Southern Cal, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU and the rest of the Pac-10 are involved with Farmer, who said he doesn't plan to announce his college decision until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Many believe the Trojans are in good position to land Farmer but he will be deliberative with the recruiting process and could take some official visits, too. Farmer said he'd like to hear more from Texas because the Longhorns' offense resembles Serra's attack.
Oregon could be a dark horse. Farmer said he's been impressed with the Ducks' recent success, he's had good conversations with position coach Scott Frost and beating Southern Cal last season doesn't hurt, either.
"Oregon stuck out a lot to me," Farmer said. "They really turned it around a lot this year. As far as other schools I have to follow them more now that they're interested in me. In the Pac-10, Oregon is looking really good to me.
"We all know their jerseys, everybody loves their jerseys. This year they made a turnaround. I contacted the receivers coach and they said they were going to do it this year and they showed it to me. For them to come out and upset USC this year that was a shocker."
Farmer will have his chances to prove he's the nation's best receiver - maybe even the top prospect in the 2011 class - this spring and summer and especially during his senior season. Serra is loaded again so another run at the state championship could happen.
There is lots of time for Farmer, his family and his coaches to sit down and talk about recruiting. On the field, he has the skill to be considered one of the best. He's earned the offers to go wherever he wants to go. He has the support system to help with his decision.
The kid just has it all.
"I consider it a golden opportunity because he has so many options," Farmer, Sr., said. "I'm trying to show George we can take a lot of trips to a lot of places but when it comes down to it which situation is best going to benefit you? That's how you look at it and it's my job and his mom's job to give him all that advice."