Noah Westerfield struggled for months with his decision to come visit California, officially. It wasn't that he didn't want to come out to see Berkeley; he had a threat hanging over his head. Westerfield had been committed to Northwestern for nearly half a year, and the Wildcats have a standing policy of not allowing any commits to take official visits to other schools. Two weeks ago, Westerfield finally came to a decision, and it cost him.
"It was very hard. Actually, I was thinking about it for two or three months. It was a very intense situation, deciding with my family," Westerfield said on the eve of his official visit. "At the end of the day, it was what I wanted to do, and I'm going to be the one going to college, so ultimately, it was a pretty easy decision. Everybody around me kind of made it hard."
The crux of the decision was, essentially: One in the hand is worth two in the bush. The offer – and commitment – he had to Northwestern was a sure thing. An official visit was not. But, on the other hand, what were the Wildcats so concerned about?
"Yeah. It was kind of like that situation. I loved how they do things, but they're probably the only school in America that has that law, or has that authority over your scholarship," Westerfield said. "Other schools will say, ‘If you really have to do this, then do this,' but with them, it was, ‘If you do this, it's breaking your bond.' Things like that broke our relationship."
Relationships are a big deal when it comes to Westerfield, and he has quite a good one with defensive ends coach Garret Chachere, his primary recruiter.
"We've had a great relationship for a few months," Westerfield said. "He's the one who came to my house, came to my school, talked to my head coach at my high school, talked to some other coaches at my high school, talked to the counselors and other teachers. We've got a pretty good relationship. He's a great guy, from New Orleans, has a Southern background, so we can relate on that level. I'd say it's the closest relationship I have with any of the coaches at Cal."
With Chachere having done his homework on Westerfield, it's now time for Westerfield to do his homework on the Bears.
"I think this is going to be a big weekend for me," Westerfield said. "I just decommitted from Northwestern, because they pulled my scholarship because I wanted to take my visit to Cal. It'll be very big. Cal is pretty much the only school I would actually really like to go to, other than Wake Forest. Cal is the one in my sights. Hopefully, I get along well with their coaching staff, and it's the right thing for me."
Westerfield and new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman have played phone tag, but Westerfield's looking forward to actually getting to meet the latest addition to the staff in person on Friday, and talking at-length with him throughout the weekend.
"He actually called me yesterday, but I didn't have my phone with me, so I tried to call him today, and he didn't answer, so hopefully, I can talk to him tomorrow for the visit, and then on Saturday, we have a meeting where it's just me and him. I should get a lot of information out of him to help me make my decision," Westerfield said.
What's the thing he's most looking forward to this weekend? What anyone coming to California in the winter would, naturally: Sunshine.
"The weather, I can walk outside with a t-shirt and shorts on, so that's the great thing about California," said the fast-talking Westerfield. "But, also, just seeing the campus and seeing a little bit of the student life, stopping in some of the classrooms, seeing some of the teachers teach. I want to see how people learn, hang out with the guys, see what the social life is like, and just see how California is. I've been to California twice in my lifetime, so I'm not even sure how everything works out there. I want to get into the swing of things and see if I'm comfortable on my visit."
Westerfield Talks Decommitment, Official
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