SAN PABLO, Calif. - One reason why Elijah Qualls is such an intriguing prospect is because some programs like him at defensive tackle - and others are considering him for running back.
It sounds like an outlandish notion that the Petaluma (Calif.) Casa Grande product could fit in either position but that is what's happening for the 6-foot-2, 280-pound prospect, and it's making his recruitment even more complicated.
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He talks to defensive line coaches. He talks to running backs coaches. He talks to head coaches. And the more schools that offer him, the more hectic everything gets.
"It's still running back, D-tackle or athlete," Qualls said Sunday after the Oakland NIKE Camp.
"Arizona hasn't figured out where they want me yet. I love football and when you love football you'll do anything you can to help your team to win and that's what I want to do. Wherever my coaches feel like I can benefit the team more that's where I'll play and I'll be the best I can at it."
USC and Washington are considered two frontrunners for Qualls, who also has Arizona, California, Iowa State, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon State and UCLA among his upper-echelon teams.
Recruiting has not been much of a focus in recent weeks but it will soon be that way for Qualls, who exclusively played defensive tackle at the NIKE Camp.
"I haven't really been involved with my recruiting," Qualls said. "I have finals coming up this week so I'm studying and then after this week it will be summertime and I'll be more focused on it and I'll have more information on recruiting.
"As far as right now I plan on narrowing my list down in June and everybody keeps asking me, it does look like it's probably going to be the Pac-12, just because I can't go out to anyplace like Arkansas until an official.
"I don't want to get this process over quickly. I want to make 100-percent sure it's the right school, but it's hard to keep track of all the schools and all the coaches, especially playing multiple positions. I plan to get it over maybe a little quicker but I'm still going to do my research."
Qualls was blown away by a recent visit to Washington where he had a good chance to sit down with the coaching staff and see how the players interacted and he loved it.
In a few weeks, Qualls will attend a camp at USC and get a feel for that place by showing up a couple days early to tour the campus and acquaint himself with the coaching staff.
Washington and USC are being seriously considered but Qualls said all programs remain involved in his recruitment.
"Washington is still high up there," Qualls said. "I still feel extremely comfortable with them and I think they're great coaches. I think they're going places. If any other school has that, too, they'll be up there, too. I do really like them but if someone else does come in and shows me that and then some that's where I'm going to go.
"I take (the USC offer) very seriously. I'm going up there to a camp on June 9 and I'll be up there a few days early just so I can get on campus and meet the coaches. I want to get to know the coaches. I want to be comfortable where I'm at and I know they're great coaches, everyone knows that. I want to make sure they're good people and that it's an environment I can be in for four to five years of my life."
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