There isn't a hotter prospect out West right now than Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds linebacker Josh Tatum. The talented athlete is now up to 14 scholarship offers including a new one earlier today from one of the nation's true heavyweights.
Tatum, 6-2, 220 pounds will battle with Colton's (Calif.) Allen Bradford this spring and summer for the top linebacker prospect in the West region moniker. The amazing thing about Tatum is he's landing all these offers despite only playing a game and a half his junior season. He injured his shoulder and in game two and had to miss the rest of the year.
Tatum's sophomore film however is so impressive, that schools are offering based soley on that. It also didn't hurt that the 'backer had a great showing as an underclassmen at the NorCal Nike camp last year where he ran a 4.66 in the 40, jumped 34 inches in the vertical and did 21 reps on the bench.
'This has all been such a blessing,"Tatum said. "I never thought I would be getting this much attention after missing most of the season last year. "I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and the important thing is I'm healthy now and can't wait to get back on the field. Our guys here have been training hard for the Nike camp, doing box jumps, lifting like crazy, doing sprints in the sand, we're ready to go and hoping to dominate that camp."
Tatum has local offers from schools like Cal, UCLA and Arizona State and national offers from LSU, Tennessee, Mississippi and Nebraska. His latest offer really got him excited though.
"Miami just offered me," Tatum said. "Growing up, that was my favorite school and my two favorite linebackers have always been Ray Lewis and D.J Williams. I love Miami and couldn't believe it when I got the offer from them.I'm going to try and camp there and will definitely take one of my official visits to Miami.
"Right now, my plan is to take all five visits before I make my decision. I have eight schools that stand out right now. USC, Cal, LSU, Tennessee, Miami, Nebraska, Mississippi and UCLA. I know I want to visit Miami, Cal, LSU and Tennessee. I just took an unofficial visit to UCLA this past weekend and really liked it. Coach Dorrell is a great guy and tells it to you straight. He told me he's not promising anything but said I would have a great chance to come and compete for a starting job if I went there. I love the campus and the academics at UCLA too.
"I also checked out USC. It's like the third time I've been down there, I went to their Junior Day also. That's definitely one of my top programs and I love the team chemistry and passion everyone has there. They are the only one in my top eight who hasn't offered me yet but they just got my film today. I emailed with one of the coaches and they told me they're close to offering and could do so as soon as Coach Carroll sees my film.
"Cal will definitely stay in my top five the whole process. They were my first offer and that means a lot to me. I'm up there every other week because it's so close and I know the coaches very well already. I've watched practices and sat in on meetings with the coaches. It's a great atmosphere there so that's why I'm planning to use one of my five officials there even though they're so close.
"Right now, I'm just looking for the best situation for me. Academics are important to me along with the atmosphere, and how well I get along with the rest of the team. It's going to be a hard process and a lot could change between now and when the season gets going so I'm just going to take my time with the process and wait as long as possible to make a decision. I don't want to rush in to anything."