When then-Boise State commit Jack Austin stepped onto the California campus, he told his friend Malik Psalms that it wowed him. It changed his perspective.
Of course, now Austin is a wide receiver for the Golden Bears, and Psalms – who used to race Austin on the track – just got his third scholarship offer, and his first from a Pac-12 school: Cal.
"It felt really good. Why right now? I don't really know, but they told me they'd been looking at me for a long time, so I guess they finally decided that right now was the best time," said Psalms, the Chino Hills (Calif.) Ayala cornerback, who scored his offer from wide receivers coach Rob Likens on Wednesday after talking with Likens for about three weeks.
Psalms has also been speaking with his possible future position coach in Greg Burns for the past two weeks.
"They see me more as a corner in their program, and they like how tall I am," said the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder. "They like my range, how I can come up and play physical, how I can drop back into the zone and that I read coverages very well."
Psalms made 54 tackles last season, including 1.5 TFL, returned one pick for 26 yards and recovered one fumble.
As for what Psalms likes about Cal? Well, when he made an unofficial visit on March 23, he saw just what Austin saw.
"Oh, yeah. It was probably one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever been on," he said. "The campus was really beautiful. It was top-notch. I haven't seen anything like it. The facilities were also just gorgeous. I was in awe the entire time, walking through the facilities."
Between his first contact with Likens and his visit, and since he returned to southern California, Psalms has been doing some research on the Bears, and so far, he likes what he sees.
"They have been a little bit down the last couple of years, in terms of their record, but you watch their games and you can tell that it's not like they've been getting blown out every game," Psalms said. "They put up a fight; they've just been coming up short. I like that they fight through everything, through all the adversity and what-not, and they are the No. 1 public school in the country, and academics are bigger than athletics, for me, at the end of the day. You need something to fall back on. I also like the coaching staff. It's a real nice family feel. They welcomed me in with open arms, before even offering me."
During his visit, Psalms got to talk to a bevy of staff members, including Likens, Burns and special teams quality control coach and former Cal receiver Burl Toller III.
While he's talked with Bears receivers past and present, Psalms is also well-acquainted with a future Cal wideout, who used to play on the same 7on7 team.
"Out here, Jack Austin, one of the wide receivers, he's from my city. I'm friends with him, I ran track against him. Erik Brown, from Summit, he was on my 7on team, so he's going to be up there," Psalms said. "It's a really strong vibe from them. I'll probably get in touch with them over the next couple weeks. I haven't talked to them since I got offered. I talked to them a little bit before, but I haven't talked to them since. I talked to Erik Brown last weekend, but I haven't talked to Jack Austin since the last time he was down here."
Psalms said that the Bears will definitely be among the final schools he considers, along with San Jose State and San Diego State. He also said that Colorado is close to offering, as well.
Psalms More than Familiar with Cal
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