California defensive line commit Russell Ude took his visit to Miami last week, but this week’s official visit to Berkeley – like the city itself – was just different.
“It was the camaraderie,” Ude said. “All the guys in Miami were cool, friendly and stuff, but I’m committed to Cal, and I love being with my teammates,” said the three-star defensive end out of Atlanta, Ga. In fact, Ude said, as he stepped off his early-morning flight from Oakland to Georgia, “It was like coming home.”
That trip “home” cost Ude his voice thanks to Saturday’s basketball game against Arizona, but, he said, “I’m doing good, though.”
“It was great,” Ude said. “This was definitely, coming here, because it wasn’t my first time in Berkeley, because I had a relationship with all the other commits, it was just like coming home. It was really like coming home. It was like seeing all my family that I haven’t seen in a while.
“It was just hanging out with all the guys. We talk every day on a group text, so it was great to see everybody and meet some of the guys I hadn’t met before.”
After taking these two visits, Ude said, he is locked in with the Bears.
“It really did [lock me down], and I’m really happy with my decision,” Ude said. “I’m just excited to get on campus.”
So excited, in fact, that he’s already got his roommate and suite-mates lined up, including three fellow visitors.
“I spent really the most time with Trevor Howard, and he’s going to be one of my roommates,” Ude said. “We already got our room all set up and everything. I’m excited to get up there. Malik Psalms is my actual roommate, and the suite holds four, so it’ll be me, Trevor, Malik and Zeandae.”
Zeandae is Zeandae Johnson, who was receiving attention from Michigan before the visit, but since he’s all set to be picking out curtains with his future Cal roommates, it would seem the visit did him some good, as well.
“Oh, yeah, he’s locked down,” Ude said.
Ude made his trip out to Berkeley with another lineman – just on the other side of the ball – in offensive guard Ryan Gibson. Because of how early the flight was, Ude did more sleeping than talking on the plane, but he and Gibson did gab a bit about the trip in the airport before leaving.
“I hate talking on airplanes; I like to get some sleep,” Ude said. “But, we hung out in the airport and talked about stuff. We all talk every day, so it’s not like we didn’t know each other.”
Once Ude got to California, he was struck by how welcoming the older players were.
“It was like we were already part of a family,” said Ude, who was hosted by running back Vic Enwere. “He was great. He reached out to me before I committed, and in July, before I visited unofficially. He reached out to me, and he’s been a great contact. He’s a good friend of mine.”
This was the first time that Ude had been able to see the campus in full flower, since the only other visit he’d made was during the summer.
“It was great, because campus was extremely vibrant,” Ude said. “I love that. It wasn’t dead-in-the-middle of the city, say, like Georgia Tech. I like that. I liked that it was a little removed, but still very close, and it had a vibrant campus.”
Another highlight was hanging with defensive line coach Fred Tate.
“It was cool, it was cool; Coach Tate, that’s my coach, and I like him,” Ude said.
While unlike Greyson Bankhead, Ude didn’t play any games against the coaches at the group’s outing to a Pier 39 arcade. Instead, it was Ude and one of his future suite-mates.
“Me and Trevor played some games, hung around and tried to get some tickets,” Ude said. Did he win anything? “Nothing that I wanted,” he laughed.
Howard and Ude – both defensive ends – really clicked on many levels over the weekend.
“We just spent a lot of time together,” Ude said. “Noah Westerfield was his host, and Vic Enwere was my host, and they’re roommates, so by default, we spent a lot of time together, and we just get along really well.”
Ude hopes to make a repeat trip to Berkeley for the spring game on April 18.