Heading in to his visit to USC this past weekend, Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds defensive lineman Derrick Hill said Cal was the team to beat and he was feeling very good about the Bears. Did the Trojans do enough to make this a race?
Hill, 6-1, 280 pounds is the top defensive lineman in the West region and a top 100 player nationally this year. He took earlier visits to Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Cal before visiting USC this weekend.
"It was cool, I had a real good time there," Hill said. "I don't mean to sound like a broken record or anything but all the trips are all kind of the same for me. I say that all the time but it's true. I had fun at all of them and I've done the same things at all of them.
"I got to Los Angeles on Friday around 12:00 but I missed the practice by the time I got to the campus. Sedric Ellis was my host and we hung out that night with all the players and had a nice time. We ate a lot, that's what you do on the visits, eat like crazy. Saturday I did the whole campus tour thing, saw the football facilities and got to see the team practice this time.
"Later that night, we went out again and saw a little more of Los Angeles. The players on the team at SC are real cool and everyone gets along. With all the stars they have, you would expect there to be some jealousy but no one talks bad about anyone there. On these trips, I really enjoy hearing more from the players than the coaches. The coaches are trying to recruit you and will tell you anything but the players will give it to you straight.
"Everyone at SC loves it there and loves the coaches so that was cool. I really liked everything about it and USC is a school I've liked for a long time. They're still way up on my list."
Are they up there with Cal?
"You know, before I left, I sat down with Coach Carroll, Coach Franklin and Coach Ruel and we talked about that. They were asking me what I was thinking right now, who I liked the most and who else I was looking at. I told them I still like all the schools including USC and I would be making my decision during the Army game January 7.
"Right now, it's still close between all the schools but I would say I'm still feeling Cal the most. Things could change between now and the 7th but I just really like Cal a lot. I'm really close with their DL coach Ken Delgado because I've known him the longest. They offered me when I was just a sophomore at their camp and that was my first offer and that always stuck with me. USC, Oregon and Arizona are still in it though and I'm not done thinking about my decision.
"I am glad I don't have any more home visits though and so is my mom. We had people coming over every day it seemed so now we can both just sit back and relax a little. I have a couple of weeks to think this through and then I'll decide at the game. That's the plan for me."