BEAVERTON, Ore. - Other programs are involved but it appears two Pac-12 teams will battle it out for five-star defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, who said Thursday at The Opening that Cal and USC are two favorites.
The Golden Bears might even have a little edge because McCarthy has developed a strong relationship with defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi and that could help in his decision.
"I've been talking to them a lot," McCarthy said. "I've been talking to coach Tosh. He really stands out and I talked to the players when I went up there and it's a really cool place. It's a favorite with USC."
The 6-foot-5, 311-pound prospect from Monrovia, Calif., said Cal is recruiting him to play defensive end and he planned to work out at that position this week but because there are only a few defensive tackles in attendance he decided to move inside.
McCarthy said he's "pretty much" narrowed his list to Cal and USC with Oregon, Washington and Florida still in the picture. He still wants to take visits and talk to more coaches so a decision is not expected soon.
Rivals.com rates McCarthy as the second-best defensive tackle and sixth-best prospect in the 2012 class. The only defensive tackle ranked higher is Eddie Goldman out of Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy.
Right behind McCarthy in the position rankings is fellow five-star Aziz Shittu, his roommate here at The Opening.
The two have hit it off and even started talking about possibly playing together in college. A former Stanford commit, Shittu said Wednesday that Cal, Stanford, Arizona, USC, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Washington are some of his favorites.
McCarthy said he and Shittu are serious about possibly going to the same school.
"He's a really cool guy," McCarthy said. "We talk about football and everything basically.
"It's really serious. We've been getting to know each other and we basically have all the same schools. We were talking about going to the same school, the same team."