With the red-letter day of Feb. 8 approaching--that is, the first day prep football players can sign a national letter of intent to attend a four-year NCAA college--many top prospects have yet to decide.
But that is not the case with three players considered by scouts as the top prospects in the San Gabriel Valley.
Offensive linemen Terry McDaniels of Pasadena and Len Gorecki of Damien and defensive back Daryl Green of Nogales have made verbal commitments, two of them to the same school. McDaniels, 6-6 and 250 pounds, and Gorecki, 6-6 and 271, have opted for USC while Green, 5-11 and 180, has chosen Nebraska.
All admit relief that letters and phone calls from recruiters are behind them.
"I'm happy now," Green said. "I'm glad it's all over and I just can't wait to put my name on (the letter of intent). I'll be happy after that."
"A lot of people said take all of your trips before you commit," Gorecki added. "But I'm glad I didn't. I've been getting back to my studies. I let my grades slip, and now I'm studying again."
For McDaniels, the recruiting process is not entirely over.
Although he has already announced intention to attend USC, Pacific 10 Conference rival Arizona still wants McDaniels to take a recruiting trip to the Tucson school. McDaniels, an excellent student, will take his final exams at Pasadena this week and leave for Arizona on Friday.
"They were recruiting me all along and told me to come down anyway," McDaniels said. "With my finals ending Thursday, it won't take up my studying time to go there Friday."
Although he is looking forward to visiting Arizona, he added that it will probably not change his mind.
"They would have to blow my mind to make me change because I'm happy with USC," McDaniels said. "It's close to home and I like their history department. I'm very curious about Arizona, though."
McDaniels, who visited UCLA and Washington and canceled a recruiting trip to UC Berkeley, said that at every school "I went there was a nice family atmosphere. I feel that I could have fit in anywhere."
But he settled on USC because of its football tradition and the fact that it is close to home.
McDaniels, who combines with 4.7-second speed in the 40-yard dash, said USC coaches gave him the option of playing offense or defense.
"They said my skills were so good on both sides that I could play anywhere," he said. "I'm leaning toward defense because I like that a little better."
He said the coaches didn't make him promises but, after looking at the Trojan depth chart, he thinks he could see playing time next season. "It's all academic, anyway," McDaniels said. "I still have to earn my position."
Gorecki said that since USC started recruiting him, he wanted to play for the Trojans.
"It's something I wanted to do because they have the best offensive line tradition, no question," Gorecki said."
Gorecki's biggest concern was that he wouldn't be offered a scholarship by the Trojans.
While he was on his recruiting trip to USC two weeks ago, Gorecki was the victim of a practical joke by another recruit who told him that he had accepted the Trojans' last available scholarship on the offensive line.
"When he told me that I almost had tears in my eyes," Gorecki recalled. "I didn't know he was only joking."
He felt a lot better a little later after a discussion with Coach Larry Smith revealed that there was another scholarship.
Before his visit to USC, Gorecki also took recruiting trips to Washington State and Colorado and canceled a visit to UC Berkeley.
He said his trip to Washington State may have been a case of bad timing: "I liked Washington State, but I happened to be there when they had their worst weather conditions. It was 10 below zero."
It wasn't the weather that turned him off of Colorado: "I liked Colorado, but I didn't like the wishbone. I'm not a wishbone blocker."
He said his biggest concern about USC centered around how soon he would play.
"I was worried about SC's depth, but found out they weren't as deep as I thought," Gorecki said. "At first, I didn't know whether I could cut it depthwise. But after talking with the coaches after I committed, they showed me the depth chart. I feel I can compete for a starting position in another two seasons."
Unlike McDaniels and Gorecki, Green wasn't persuaded to attend Nebraska after his recruiting trip.
In fact, Green committed with the Cornhuskers before he had visited the campus in Lincoln. "After a while of being recruited, that's where I knew I wanted to go," he said. "I didn't think I needed to visit."
Green wondered whether he was making the right decision, but after visiting Nebraska he was satisfied.
"It pretty much sewed it up for me," he said. "Nebraska is football country. Everywhere you go there are football fans. Everyone seemed to know about me. Even when I was on the plane (to Lincoln), people were telling me to go to Nebraska."