When Chris Martin was a sophomore, he would go round and round with his father about Cal.
His father would tell him that Cal, the school up the road from his Oakland home, would be the perfect fit for him. But Martin, the five-star outside linebacker/defensive end that was the best prospect to come out of Oakland in years, could never see himself as a Bear.
"I would tell him that I could do Florida, I could do USC, I could do Notre Dame," Martin said. "But man, I hated Cal at the time. I guess I should have listened to him because he was right."
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Father definitely did know best in this case as Martin, the nation's No. 16 player overall and the No. 2 weakside defensive end, has cast his lot with the Bears.
Martin picked the Bears after de-committing from Notre Dame and also considering a final group of Florida, Oklahoma and USC. He committed over the weekend to the Bears and announced his decision Monday afternoon.
"I'm officially a Bear," Martin said. "The weight is definitely off my back now. Early in my commitment to Notre Dame a lot of things started to happen, and that forced me to re-examine my whole decision. I made this decision thoroughly and for all the right reasons. I'm done taking visits, accepting in-home visits. I've called all the other schools. I'll be signing and going back home."
Home in the Bay Area is where Martin ended up after a long journey that took him from Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High School, to The Hunn School in Princeton, N.J., to a stop with family in Arizona and finally at Aurora (Colo.) Grandview High School.
Martin said he leaned heavily on his parents to make the decision to play for the Bears, and having them being able to see him play every weekend was key.
"My mom loves it," he said. "My dad loves it. This is more of a family fit for me. This time around it was more than just me. It was a family decision."
The decision also will provide some much needed stability to Martin's life. He said he grew tired of bouncing from place to place, and in there ended up being no place like home.
"Right now I'm looking for stability in my life, and that's what I found at Cal," Martin said. "Coach (Jeff) Tedford and the staff made me feel home is where I'm supposed to be.
"The whole stability of the program was key. Academics and everything about the school made it feel like it was a family. That was the main decision for me. I'm not looking to be everywhere bouncing around and not knowing about my future. I've already gone through enough bouncing around. I've gone from California to Colorado. I thought I was going to be in New Jersey and end up at Notre Dame, but that all changed."
Martin said the change in the end was a perfect one.
"I love how I'm going to fit in Cal's 3-4 defense at outside linebacker," Martin said. "It's also the No. 1 public school in the nation. You can say what you want about graduation rates, but they have a high graduation rate. I know I'm going to graduate, and they have a business program that's off the charts."
"The coaches did a tremendous job of recruiting me. Coach Lup (Tosh Lupoi), that's my guy. Coach Kenwick Thompson also did a heck of a job. They came out three times and really showed me they wanted me. It was kind of cool to see a California guy coming to a game when it was 3 degrees outside here in Colorado. Coach Tedford also did a great job, so it was definitely a great joint effort."
Now that Martin is on board with the Bears, he said he's going to begin working hard "recruiting" other high profile prospects like Trajuan Briggs and J.R. Ferguson to join him in Berkeley.
"I'm already on it," he said. "It feels good to be going home again."