It's hard to believe John Lopez is still only a sophomore in high school especially since he's 6 feet 5 and 328 pounds but the Orange (Calif.) Lutheran offensive tackle hears that a lot.
Still, when he tells coaches and instructors at camps that he's a 2013 prospect, people don't believe it but it is true. Even though Lopez is so young, recruiting is picking up in a major way with pretty much the entire Pac-10 involved.
"I get that a lot from people," Lopez said at the Asante Trenchmen Academy in Culver City, Calif., this past weekend. "They never believe me when I say I'm still only a sophomore.
Article Continues Below
"I'm hearing from basically the Pac-10 mostly. All the West Coast teams have been showing a lot of interest. It's been interesting talking to all the coaches."
Although it's still early in his recruitment, Lopez said he's leaning toward staying close to home which means USC and UCLA hold the edge. The Bruins have already verbally offered the sophomore and that meant a lot to Lopez that UCLA wanted to get involved so early.
"Right now, I probably want to stay at USC or UCLA but I'm looking at all the other schools and I want to see what they're about," Lopez said. "Maybe I'll find something I like.
"Coach (Rick) Neuheisel said he wanted to get his flag in the ground early. They wanted to offer first so they'd be in my mind later when it comes to my decision. That's their philosophy."
Family ties might play an influence in Lopez's decision though. He grew up going to USC games and while the Trojans aren't as involved as its cross-town rival just yet there is still a lot of time to go hard after Lopez.
With his junior season coming up, Lopez, who will attend the Los Angeles NIKE Camp this weekend, is more focused on getting better than he is making a college decision.
"USC hasn't been involved as UCLA but my family has always favored USC," Lopez said. "We always went to their games when I was little."