Joel Willis committed to Washington in the summer but decided to open his recruitment back up this fall. Now the Garden Grove (Calif.) Pacifica athlete has made his pledge to Cal and is more confident than ever that he made the right choice.
Football played a major factor in the final decision but Willis, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound three-star prospect, said the academics at Cal was the most important factor as he made his commitment.
Willis said his final two were Cal and Utah and after weighing the academics along with the football programs that the Golden Bears won out in a big way.
"I narrowed it down to Utah and Cal and I put the football programs aside and I went off the education," Willis said. "That was the main factor. There is a pretty big difference in the degree.
"It was the main factor because of the profession I want to be in. I want to be in business and finance and they're one of the top business schools in the country and the No. 1 public school so that was a big factor. They opened up more job opportunities than Utah did."
Rivals.com rates Willis as the No. 85 athlete nationally and No. 73 in the California state rankings. Arizona, Hawaii, Nebraska, San Diego State and Utah State were also involved in his recruitment.
Willis has said in past interviews that Cal prefers him to play defense while Utah wanted to bring him in as an athlete and then figure out which side was better.
Since academics played a bigger factor in his decision than his future position, Willis gave the nod to the Golden Bears.
Cal's success of putting players in the NFL didn't hurt, either.
"It's better," Willis said. "My dad and I checked how many people Cal has in the NFL and Utah has in the NFL and there's a big difference."