Michael Hutchings might have been close to committing to USC earlier this off-season but the 2013 linebacker from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle decided to slow down his recruitment and now Cal and UCLA are pulling even with the Trojans.
"I think those three are recruiting me the hardest," Hutchings said. "Cal is probably the heaviest. Those are the main contenders and they're the in-state schools so they're battling each other. That's what is causing them to come with a little more fire.
"I think all three in-state schools are about equal. Those are the three teams to beat right now."
Hutchings is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound prospect who is in early contention to be one of California's top juniors this season. So far, Arizona, Cal, Miami, Michigan, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA, USC and Washington have offered.
He said Colorado and Nebraska have also started to show some interest.
While August was a little slow on the recruiting front, Hutchings expects things to pick back up in September. A decision might come by the end of next summer since his recruitment started so early.
"Everything is still pretty much the same," Hutchings said. "I've just been getting ready for the season and recruiting has pretty much slowed down since all the teams are in camp so I know everybody was focused on their own team.
"I'll probably sit back for a while. I know by the end of my junior year I'll have an idea so I'll probably do something by my junior summer. We started so early so there's no reason to wait for two years and put it off. Basically, everything is moved up a year."
USC has been a long-time favorite for Hutchings and he has already visited with the Trojans. De La Salle teammate Michael Barton is committed to Cal so the Golden Bears are definitely in contention. And UCLA seems to be making a serious push so it cannot be counted out yet, either.