New Cal safety commit Daniel Scott breaks down the weekend that sold him on Berkeley and a whirlwind recruitment

In the span of less than a week, Daniel Scott's life changed, and after a whirlwind recruitment, he's found his home in Berkeley.

The minute that new California commit Daniel Scott stepped off his flight and onto the tarmac at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, the sun shone a bit brighter. The 75-degree Southern California day felt a little bit warmer. It had been less than a week since he had first spoken with new Bears defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander. Six days prior, he had two Football Bowl Subdivision offers -- Fresno State and Hawaii. He wasn't on many radars, save for a handful of FCS programs. But, as his foot hit the pavement, he returned home a Cal commit.

"When I landed, it just kind of sunk in really hard," Scott said. "I'm really excited ... It can't get much better than this." The La Canada (Calif.) St. Francis safety first heard from Alexander a week ago, and on Wednesday, right after school, he first got in touch.

"I told him I had a basketball game that night, and he came and watched me play, that night," Scott said. 

The normally quiet Scott -- who prefers to spend his off hours with friends, or at the beach -- was even more so after a tough loss to Los Angeles (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake, and while cordial, his conversation with Alexander was short. Scott "didn't pop the smile," that a winning player would show. In the back of his mind, he was replaying the 59-51 loss. Still, on Thursday, Alexander asked how Scott felt about going on an official visit this weekend. 

"I was intrigued," Scott said. "It just so happened that he offered me a scholarship, and that day, I kind of scheduled my visit, and then, from Friday, I fell in love."

No, his life isn't a song by The Cure, but yes, by Friday, he was indeed in love with the Bears.

"I've always enjoyed that school, in general," Scott said. "I'd always watched Cal football, since I was young. I liked DeSean Jackson when he was there, but I didn't really play -- I mean, I play receiver, but my focus is safety -- but I didn't have [a defensive back] that I liked."

So, what turned it from 'like' to 'love,' for Scott, who has a 3.4 GPA? "My family and I, we really focus on, there's life after football," Scott said. "One of my favorite parts about visiting Cal was talking to one of the coaches, and his whole spiel was that there's life after ball. They're huge on making sure that we have good connections, making sure that we get good internships, and making sure that their student-athletes understand that it's school first, football second. I think that's huge, for me, going on to the next level. I love the city, of course.

"It's beautiful up there, whether you're going to San Francisco, whether you're going to Berkeley, whether you're going to Santa Clara, Oakland -- there are so many things out there. I really like how diverse the school is. When I toured around the school, I really enjoyed that. It's just an environment that I see myself going to, and I just fell in love, right when I got there."

Scott's host for the weekend was fellow safety Evan Rambo, who was one of eight players listed as safeties going into the previous offseason, who wound up going down with injury during Cal's 5-7 campaign in 2017. Like Scott, Rambo is a Los Angeles native. The broader safety picture from last season, though, wasn't part of the discussion.

"He old me that he tore his ACL in one of the games, but we didn't really talk about that," Scott said. "I think the main thing was having conversations about the school -- what he liked and what he didn't like, how his lifestyle has changed, coming from down in SoCal, up to NorCal, how it's different. He's realizing how new the coaches are, too. He probably knows just as well as I do, some of the coaches. You couldn't really talk to him much about that, but [we talked] just about his life, and Cal, and how he experienced it." Of course, there are plenty of Southern California faces in both the 2017 class, and currently on the team. Chase Garbers and Michael Saffell -- who were both visiting this weekend, as well -- hail from the southern half of the state, as do early enrollee Taariq Johnson and his Buena Park (Calif.) teammate Jeremiah Hawkins. 31 Bears on the current roster are from Southern California.

"California is California," Scott said. "There is a difference between NorCal and SoCal, but you can't beat anything in California."

Even in such a short time, Scott and the 32-year old Alexander have formed a strong foundation to their relationship.

"I love the dude, for how much [time] I've spent with him," Scott said. "I think we're going to have a great relationship. I think he's a really intelligent, and really funny dude, but when it comes down to it, he's very focused. He's very serious when it comes to football. But, from what I've hung out with him, there's not a whole lot I know, but I know he's a very smart DB coach, and I think he's going to set us up for the best."

Alexander was "pretty much the main focus," of the weekend, Scott said.

"He wanted to get to know me, but most of the time, when coaches were around, that's who I hung out with," Scott said.

Alexander will of course be tasked with re-building the back end of a defense that was 86th in passing defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season. That jibes just fine with Scott, who's always been interested in building. "I'm looking towards construction management," as a major, Scott said. "It draws my eye. I've always enjoyed it. Always, as a kid, I loved building things. My mom would call me Bob the Builder. I always loved watching those shows, and stuff like that, so it's always drawn my eye. I know a couple people -- family friends -- who do it, and I'll start talking to them a little more. At the same time, I'm not set in stone with that."

More than a builder, though, Scott is a competitor, playing both football and varsity basketball. He's an all-purpose player for the Golden Knights, playing anywhere from the point to power forward.

"We're a small team," he said. "The tallest guy is 6-3. We all have to be a little versatile. I played basketball first. I didn't start football until sixth grade. I've always loved both of them, but as high school went on, I played them equally, and then once I got into my junior year, senior year, I could kind of see that this could possibly be something I could do in the future. It just happened that I progressed well enough that I made it happen."

His aforementioned competitiveness and focus -- which, at first blush, can seem like brooding, after a loss -- was one of the things that Alexander liked about Scott.

"The main thing he liked was that I was a competitor," Scott said. "That was the firsts thing he said to me, when he saw me on Wednesday. We lost to Harvard-Westlake, and we probably should have won, so I was a little mad. I think what he likes about me is that I'm just a competitor. I take things very seriously, especially in football. I like to fly around the ball, fill holes really well, take good angles." Top Stories