Four-star offensive lineman Andre James is headed to The Opening this week for a chance to test his talent against other top-flight prospects. That's mission No. 1. The fact that he'll announce his verbal commitment at the event, to him at least, is simply a side plot.
Still, the Herriman (Utah) High School tackle's words are what college football fans care most about at this juncture. And while James' final five technically consist of UCLA, Utah, USC, Ohio State and Oklahoma, it seems just three of them are actually alive in the race to secure his services.
A few days before making his commitment official, James took time for a quick pre-commitment interview with Rivals.com.
There are technically five schools alive in your recruitment. Let's just run through them to start. We can start with Ohio State. What stands out about the Buckeyes?
With Ohio State, I just got back from a visit a couple weeks ago. I love the place, I have lots of family there. Urban Meyer is probably one of the greatest coaches of all-time. Talking with Coach [Ed] Warinner, you can tell he's one of the best O-line coaches in college football. I really liked everything about that visit. I feel like I could fit into the program really, really well.
But that wasn't the most recent visit, was it?
No. I went to Ohio State. Then I went down to UCLA and USC.
Ok, then. Let's talk about the two California schools. You can start wherever.
Well, you know I love California. So, with USC, I love USC. Coach [Marques] Tuiasosopo has been recruiting me since he was at Washington. I love Coach [Tim] Drevno, too. I mean, having a coach that coaches the 49ers is great. I love the pro-style offense. It's something I would love to play in. That develops you for the league. I love the campus, and they have a great winning tradition.
And UCLA? You were there recently and seemed to love it. What's the major draw there?
Again, I love California. They are probably one of my favorite coaching staffs. They have been one of my top three schools for a long time. The fact that they were one of the first schools to offer me matters a lot. I've really gotten to know the coaches. That relationship has been built for a long time. They're going to be winning games for a long time. I really like UCLA.
Oklahoma is in the top five technically, but you never visited, correct?
Nope. I never visited. I never got to them.
OK. Guess we can just move past that one?
Yeah. Probably so.
And what about Utah, the instate school? Is it still in this, or …
You know what? Utah has kind of fallen out of it. I'm not too sure about the recruiting. I never hear from them. I probably hear from them once or twice a month. I was really interested in Utah for a long time, but they started backing off. So I kind of moved on.
sometimes if a school knows they aren't going to get a guy, it's better for them to move on.
Yeah, I get that. That might have been it.
I assume you already have a school picked. I'm not going to badger you tell me which school. I just want to know what the deciding factor was.
It really came down to two schools. Between those two schools, they were totally different. It was apples and oranges. I just had to choose. I like both, but I had to choose which one I fit in better with. I rally like both of their coaching staffs. It was a really hard decision, but I really like who I picked.
What's the exact timetable like? I know you are going to announce at The Opening, but do you have a day or time yet?
It's going to be on ESPNU. I think they said Wednesday, but it could be Thursday. They haven't told me quite yet. I'm supposed to talk to them about it when I get there.
Rob Cassidy is a West Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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