“Coach Pierre Ingram followed me on Twitter, and then he FaceTimed me, and they were in some type of conference room with Sonny Dykes, and it was all the rest of the coaches,” Long told BearTerritory on Monday night. “They offered me there.”
He was offered by the entire staff at the same time.
“That’s the first time that’s happened with me,” said Long. “That’s the first FaceTime, and definitely the first time a whole staff has offered me. FaceTime was really cool. I only heard about that once last year, when Alabama offered Damian Mama via FaceTime, so it was a really cool experience.”
After defensive backs coach Greg Burns was one of the first Division I coaches to see Long during the spring evaluation period (along with Vanderbilt), the staff went over his film from the first half of Long’s junior season, and decided to offer him as an athlete. Long plays both cornerback and wide receiver, though he’s worked a little bit at safety and in the slot.
“As of right now, after evaluating my film, they said that I could pretty much play any side of the ball, so they’re not really sure where they’d use me at, but I could go either way,” Long said.
Long knows of former Cub and current Cal starting cornerback Cameron Walker, and has watched him since middle school, along with wide receiver Bryce Treggs.
“My eighth-grade year, I followed the receiver from St. John Bosco, Bryce Treggs, and he’s a really good guy,” Long said. “[Walker]’s been around the school. Him and other alumni – like Kodi Whitfield – come around the school every once in a while, but I don’t really know him that well. I just know that he was a pretty good cornerback. I followed him pretty closely when I was in middle school, and I know he’s a pretty good guy.”
With one of the top passing attacks in the country, and a defensive backfield that could certainly use some reinforcements, the Bears offer an enticing opportunity for Long, a 6-foot, 175-pound talent.
“They said that they like that I play both sides of the ball; it shows a lot of toughness,” Long said. “I know coach Burns was there when we ran a sprinting drill, a 100-yard sprinting drill, so he knows that I’m a pretty fast guy.”
Long ran track his freshman year, and may run again this coming spring. His best 40 time is a 4.5, and as a freshman, he ran 11 flat in the 100 meters.
“I’d stopped running track around the time coaches started coming out,” Long said. “I decided to focus on the weight room and get bigger and working on my lateral speed. I did a trial time, and I broke 11. This year, if I run, I think I can definitely run under 11. Track is one of those sports where it’s pretty straight-forward. If you work hard, you get results. I can definitely work down to get under 11. It’s up in the air right now.”
Long has a bye week this coming week, and then next week, Loyola plays at Alemany. Long will use his free weekend to visit UCLA, where one of his former coaches -- Kennedy Polamalu -- coaches running backs.
The Bruins were one of the first teams to offer Long, and he has a lot of connections in Westwood.
“He was one of my coaches when I came to Loyola; that was his first year,” Long said of Polamalu. “That was when they all came over from USC, and he was actually the running backs coach, but I got to spend a lot of time working with him. He coached up all positions. He would help me and his son, Tre, lift. Tre’s still at Loyola right now.”
The younger Polamalu does push Long to go to UCLA, but Long is adamant about taking his time with the process.
“My recruitment’s been picking up, and I’ve really been trying to just focus on the season,” Long said. “I haven’t really decided when I’m going to narrow things down. I don’t want to just rush into the process and make a quick decision, so I’m really trying to evaluate these schools, one-by-one, individually, to see what I really like and what I don’t like.”
Long has a 3.5 GPA. After his sophomore year, he had a 3.8, but this next semester, he expects to have a 3.6 or above.