One of the nation's most heavily recruited quarterbacks, Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills High's Pat Barnes, has given an unwritten commitment to attend California.
Barnes had narrowed his choices to Cal and Notre Dame. His only other official visit was to Arizona State. He canceled a trip to Miami and had considered visiting Arizona this weekend.
Barnes' older brother John, a senior walk-on at UCLA, passed for 385 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-37 victory over USC on Nov. 21.
"It was tough deciding between Cal and Notre Dame," said the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Barnes, who finished his prep career as the fourth-leading passer in Orange County history with 6,430 yards.
"Notre Dame was impressive, to say the least. But the only thing Notre Dame may have on Cal is tradition. I think Coach (Keith) Gilbertson and his staff are going to turn the program at Cal around."
The first day high school football players can sign letters of intent is Feb. 3.
Although Notre Dame is considered the favorite to sign 6-4, 210-pound quarter back Ron Powlus of Berwick, Pa., who is regarded by several scouts as the nation's top prospect, Barnes said Powlus' status had no bearing on his decision.
Powlus, who was USA Today's offensive player of the year, will visit Notre Dame this weekend after a trip to Miami last weekend.
"I've never been shy of a challenge," Barnes said.
Cal offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard told Barnes last summer that he was the Golden Bears' No. 1 quarterback recruit. Coaches at Notre Dame, however, told Barnes that he was third on their list, behind Powlus and Scott Frost of Wood River, Neb., who plans to attend Stanford.
Fontana tackle Andy Meyers (6-6, 280), one of six recruits to make an unwritten commitment to USC, is apparently having second thoughts. Meyers had committed to the Trojans after visits to USC, UCLA and Notre Dame. But his commitment, as with the other five players, came before the resignation of Larry Smith as coach and the hiring of John Robinson. So Meyers decided to visit Washington last weekend, and will be at Arizona this weekend. "We're still sorting things out," USC recruiting coordinator Jack Himebauch said. "It's an exciting time and a hectic time. We've had some kids who weren't going to visit decide they might, and others who were going to visit decide not to. But that's the way it always goes during a transition period."
Add USC: The Trojans may be close to receiving a commitment from Pasadena City College quarterback Edward Hervey (6-3, 185), whom they are recruiting as a wide receiver.
La Puente Bishop Amat quarterback Mike Smith (6-3, 195), who led the Lancers to an undefeated season (15-0) and the Southern Section Division I championship, has made an unwritten commitment to attend Washington after visiting the school last weekend. He also took trips to Colorado and Washington State, and canceled a visit to Texas.
Despite three consecutive Rose Bowl appearances, Washington seems to be struggling to attract recruits, especially in California. Too much uncertainty surrounding the program after recent disclosures of potential NCAA violations appears to be having an impact. In addition, some coaches and scouts consider this a "down" year for talent in the state of Washington, an area the Huskies nearly always dominate. So far, Washington has received unwritten commitments from only three in-state players: Seattle O'Dea linebacker Jayson Bass (6-4, 190), tight end/linebacker Cameron Cleeland (6-5, 235) of Sedro Woolley, and linebacker Chris Campbell (6-1, 205) of Lynnwood, Wash. The Huskies also have a commitment from Honolulu defensive tackle Viliami Maumau (6-2, 295). But they lost out on two of the state's better offensive line prospects: Yauger Williams (6-6, 265) of Tacoma Curtis, who committed to Cal, and Jason McEndoo (6-6, 275) of Aberdeen, who's headed to Washington State. A defensive lineman who also may go elsewhere, highly regarded Jason Chorak (6-4, 245) of Vashon Island, Wash., is visiting UCLA this weekend. He is also considering Washington, Cal and Texas. And the state's best wide receiver prospect, Charles Young (6-1, 195) of Seattle O'Dea, seems likely to sign with Stanford, although he is also considering Washington, Cal, USC and Notre Dame. Young is the son of former USC and NFL tight end Charles (The Tree) Young . . . Running back Woody Green III (5-11, 185) of Portland Jesuit has scheduled trips to Arizona State, USC, Fresno State, Oregon and Washington State.