Damien Mama is still seriously considering Alabama and has not removed the Crimson Tide from his top four even though close friend Viane Talamaivao flipped to USC recently.
The four-star offensive guard from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco said his trip to Alabama was so impressive and his relationship with the coaches is so strong that even with Talamaivao out of the recruiting class, he's not cutting the SEC powerhouse.
"I'm definitely serious about Alabama just considering they're a pro-style offense," Mama said. "It's a perfect fit for me as an offensive lineman because I'll probably play guard at the next level. They're still in the running. I wouldn't leave them out. Growing a relationship with the coaches is big."
Article Continues Below
Talamaivao, from Corona (Calif.) Centennial, called Mama before making the decision to flip to USC and Mama said he was definitely surprised.
"He actually called me before he did it," Mama said. "It was a big surprise because on our trip to Alabama he was like a deer in the headlights. He was just amazed. It felt like an NFL game. I've never even been to an NFL game but the atmosphere was live."
BYU, USC and UCLA are the three other top programs being considered by Mama, rated as the second-best offensive guard and the No. 41 prospect in the 2014 class by Rivals.com.
USC has been given serious thought for a long time and the 6-foot-5, 360-pound standout who plays left tackle for his team said UCLA has inched up recently since the coaches have been so aggressive in recruiting him.
Both will be looked at closely in the coming months as Mama plans to make his commitment either at a bowl game or on signing day.
"I'm definitely looking at them and it's a real big decision," Mama said. "They're cross-town rivals and they're both big schools so I definitely have to consider them."