Kaelin Clay and Cal coach Jeff Tedford talked on the phone only a few times but the Long Beach (Calif.) Poly wide receiver said he was pretty much convinced Berkeley was the right place for him when he was invited to dinner at Tedford's house Saturday night during his official visit.
"That sold itself right there," Clay said. "For a coach who doesn't really know me, I don't really know him, to have me over at his house along with his family and the other coaches for dinner that sold it for me.
"That didn't make my decision right then and there but that was a major factor because if a coach brings me into his house and doesn't know me he must have a tremendous amount of trust in me and I like that."
Article Continues Below
Clay, who had Hawaii as his leader before his weekend visit to Cal, committed Sunday after spending more time with the players and talking football with wide receivers coach Kevin Daft.
"Sunday we just hung around with the players and the coaches, they took us around the stadium and the school," Clay said. "I really liked it and I liked the family environment."
It wasn't sports that sold Clay on Cal, though. Mainly, it was the academic opportunities the 5-foot-9 jack-of-all-trades will have when he arrives on campus.
"It was really the academics and how (Tedford) said they're the No. 1 public school in the world and how they have so many Fortune 500 companies that were really based out of Cal," said Clay, a three-star prospect rated as the No. 53 receiver by Rivals.com. "That's what really got to me."
Tedford did, too. Although Clay and Cal's coach only talked a few times during the recruiting process, Clay said he had an immediate connection with Tedford and that was a key to his commitment this weekend.
From the dinner at Tedford's house to the two talking about Clay's future at Cal, the player-coach relationship was solid early on.
"We had only talked on the phone maybe two times," Clay said. "He was asking me if I was still coming up there and I let him know I was still coming up there and that I'm interested. He was really happy to have me up there. When I got up there we just really connected.
"I felt comfortable around him but not too comfortable to do anything I wasn't supposed to do but I felt real comfortable. He made me and my family feel welcome so we really liked it."
Clay, who also had offers from Utah State, Northern Arizona and Portland State, played wide receiver and running back this season at Poly. After talking with Daft, it could be a similar circumstance at Cal. Basically, wherever Clay is needed he is willing to give it his all.
"I talked to the receivers coach and he said they might use me in the backfield a little bit but they'll use me at receiver, slot, X, wherever they need me," Clay said.
"Wherever I'm needed I'm willing to play. I'm not a selfish player. If they need me at running back, I'll play running back. If they need me at receiver, I'll play receiver."