PHOENIX - Three schools remain in contention for D.J. Foster and the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro athlete has not reached any decisions yet but leading up to the final weeks in his recruitment Cal holds a slight edge over USC and Arizona State.
"I really like Cal a lot," Foster said. "That's kind of No. 1 right now."
Foster, a four-star who rushed for 3,058 yards and 54 touchdowns in his senior season, visited Cal earlier this month and hit it off with run game coordinator Ron Gould.
The Golden Bears' offense also intrigues the 5-foot-11, 190-pound prospect so they have the lead at this point.
"I have a lot of respect for coach Gould and the whole staff," Foster said. "It was cool talking to him and there are good people out there. I have family in Oakland and I have a lot of family in the Bay Area so that's big.
"They run some of the stuff we do here at Saguaro using the running back and they want to use me in the slot, too."
Foster plans to visit USC the weekend of Jan. 13 and that could be a big trip because former Saguaro teammate Cyrus Hobbi plays for the Trojans and the four-star has already taken one trip there.
Getting a better feel for what the Trojans have to offer is going to be important to Foster, who's rated as the third-best athlete and No. 53 prospect in the 2012 class by Rivals.com.
"I'm going with an open mind," Foster said. "I know Cyrus is going to be down there hanging out. I took an unofficial there last summer and I loved it. I'm just going down there to enjoy my time, meet all the coaches and see how I fit there.
"(Hobbi has) been pushing me to just get out of Arizona. That's what he wants. He said he loves Cal, too, and he said Cal would be a great fit for me and of course USC would be, too."
Arizona State is still in contention but Foster is waiting to meet with new coach Todd Graham before making any statements about the Sun Devils.
Graham's surprising departure from Pittsburgh is a concern to Foster but he said before he makes any judgments he wants to meet with Graham first. That should happen in the coming weeks before the four-star makes his decision.
"I haven't met him yet," Foster said. "When I get back from the dead period I'm planning to meet them. My dad has talked to them a few times. When I get back I plan on meeting them. It's hard for me to form an opinion on him. All I know is how he left Pitt and stuff but that is what it is and I'm going to meet him and get to know him.
"I think it is kind of a big deal. I was talking to one kid down here and he was on an official a couple weeks ago and coach Graham was telling him he has five years on his contract. The next day he's leaving so that's a big deal.
"I'm not going to hold that against him. I'm going to meet him and see what kind of person he is."