Dominic Granado's father Al certainly didn't come into this weekend with a very high opinion of California. In his experience, Memorial Stadium was a hole that put him and other Pac-12 officials up in a dank bathroom to change, with only a curtain separating them from the outside world.
Suffice it to say that this weekend changed his opinion, and he'd better get used to liking the Bears, because now, his son is one.
"My dad used to hate going to Cal, because he said everything was just really horrible – the team, the facilities, everything," Granado laughs. "They used to put the referees in this bathroom to change, and it just had a curtain. It was horrible. But, he said, the field was awesome, and he loved the atmosphere around it. Now, it's 100 times better, and he loved it, and my mom loved it, too. My mom loves the fact that it's the No. 1 public school in the nation, because she's a principal, so I could get a good education there, and a great degree."
While Al Granado didn't ask to see the new referee's changing room, he was assured that it was up-to-snuff, now.
"I think they told him where they dress now," Dominic chuckles.
Some ego stroking from his two future quarterbacks -- Jared Goff and Luke Rubenzer -- certainly helped the decision, but of course, Mom couldn't help but get involved.
"I talked to Jared for a little bit. We talked and I told him I was a tackle, and my mom was right there, and she was like, ‘Well, he's going to protect you,' and he said, ‘I hope so!'" says Granado. "I talked to Luke for a little bit, and we were just talking about football and stuff."
Granado also formed bonds with his host Jordan Rigsbee and fellow visitor Kennedy Emesibe, who was also cited by fellow Sunday commit Darius White as one of the more social visitors.
Granado knew on Saturday that he wanted to pull the trigger, but waited until head coach Sonny Dykes asked him on Sunday if he had any more questions for the skipper.
"I kept it to myself until this morning, and then I went in with coach Dykes, coach [Zach] Yenser and my parents in his office, and we were talking, and I told him that I wanted to be a Cal Bear," Granado said.
What helped convince the Huntington Beach (Calif.) Golden West CC tackle to pull the trigger?
"I've always wanted to play in the Pac-12. My dad is a Pac-12 official, and I grew up around it," Granado says. "It's close to home, and my parents can come to all of the games. The coaches were really nice, and they seemed like really cool guys. I really like coach Yenser, and I got to hang out with Jordan Rigsbee, who's an offensive lineman there. He's really cool. I just really liked it there."
He also liked hanging out at Dykes' crib, which, he says, was just 10 to 15 minutes away from the stadium.
They had a Mexican food catering thing, and we hung out with the players, and he has this really cool basement," Granado says. "They turned it into a game room with pool and stuff, so we hung out there for like an hour or two hours, talked o the players, talked to the coaches and stuff like that."
Aside from the fun at Dykes' house, there were also some shenanigans on the field, as well.
"Friday, we went to the facilities. They're all really nice because they're all brand new. Then, Saturday, we woke up, we went to breakfast and then we went after that to campus and saw everything. For lunch, there was a bunch of food. We just kept eating, nonstop, it seemed like," Granado says. "Then, we got to put on jerseys and stuff like that, we got to go on the field, and there were some gas-powered little cars on the field, and we got to drive those around, so that was pretty cool."
Granado has one more semester at Golden West – where he holds a 3.16 GPA – before he can come in to Berkeley, where he plans on majoring in criminal justice, and right tackle.
"I can play both, but they want me to compete for a right tackle spot," Granado says. "They said they think I can do it, so they want me to come in and do that. I like right tackle probably better, because I'm right-handed, and I just like it."
As for Dad, his day job as an insurance broker will have to be enough for the next two years. He won't referee any more Pac-12 games until Dominic is done with school.
"He won't, but he hasn't reffed for two years because he's been watching me play on Saturdays," Dominic says. "He's done a couple replays -- he did the replays for the USC-Utah game this last year, and another game -- but he's going to wait two more years and then go back to officiating, because he wants to see me play."
Not a bad trade-off.
VISIT WEEKND: Granado Speaks
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