All things happen for a reason. Last summer, four-star quarterback Colson Yankoff wanted to hit every camp for every West Coast school he could muster during the summer, but by the time it came to visiting California, Yankoff was worn out. So, he decided not to come down to Northern California. He's glad he didn't, because now, he's gotten to form a new set of relationships with the Golden Bears.
"Yes, I'm happy with where things stand now," Yankoff said. "Obviously, I'm developing a really good relationship with the new staff at Cal, and I'm really enjoying the process."
He's also at least a bit glad that his basketball team lost in the playoffs last Thursday. Had they won, he wouldn't have taken his Friday trip to Berkeley.
"I play guard, a wing, mostly, but we don't have a lot of tall guys on the team -- a lot of 6-3, 6-4 guys -- so we rotate through the post, so I play a bit there, too," he said.
Everything does happen for a reason. "Yes, sir," Yankoff said, reflecting on the hoops loss. "It does."
The Coeur d'Alene (Id.) signal-caller may have missed the former staff, but the new bunch in Strawberry Canyon is more than familiar with him, already. Head coach Justin Wilcox has a home in Coeur d'Alene (one he hasn't returned to since getting the job, he told BearTerritory in the middle of last week), and new Bears quarterback coach Marques Tuiasosopo knew of Yankoff from last season.
"I had been in contact with coach Tui a little bit when he was at UCLA," Yankoff said on Tuesday. "When he went to Cal, he reached out, and we got in contact, started talking. He invited me down to come look at the place, and I spent a day there, this past week, and got to see everything. We got to see the facilities, talk to the coaching staff, all that good stuff."
That visit happened last Friday, and it happened as a consequence of the fact that Yankoff's quarterback coach -- Will Hewlett -- is based in the Bay Area, and Yankoff hand't had a tune up for a few months. Yankoff got that tune up on Saturday. But, before that, of course, was the visit.
"When we got there, we met with coach Beau Baldwin a little bit, and after that, I don't know how long we talked for, but I went into a meeting with coach Tui and some of the other guys who were around -- a quarterbacks meeting," Yankoff said. "I got to experience that a little bit. Throughout the day, coach Tui was with us, on some parts of the tour, and we ended up wrapping things up with coach Wilcox, and we really saw all the guys throughout the day."
Yankoff and his father spent several hours on campus, starting at 11 a.m.
"I really enjoyed the whole trip," Yankoff said. "It was a great experience. The one thing I thought was really cool, just because I hadn't experienced it yet, was seeing the whole campus. It's really pretty. Being right there, next to San Francisco, is super cool, in my mind. The location of the football facilities, in relation to the rest of the campus, I thought, was pretty cool. It was everything about the area that I found really appealing."
During the trip, Yankoff earned the scholarship offer, learning that he and friend -- and Cal commit -- Adrian Martinez could potentially both be coming to Berkeley as part of a two-quarterback class.
"We talked briefly about it," Yankoff said of the coaching staff. "What I've been told is that they're planning on taking two quarterbacks in that class. Adrian's actually a buddy of mine. We met through the recruiting circuit, if you will, and we met at the Elite 11 Opening Regional in Oakland lists year, and we ended up going to Oregon together, for a camp. We've been in contact, off and on, since."
As far as potentially competing with Martinez? Yankoff's game.
"I've always said that the fact that I would have to compete, or not have to, or whatever, is not going to be an issue in the school that I choose," Yankoff said. "I have no issue coming in and competing. Obviously, having to do that with Adrian would be a fun experience. I love the kid. He's a great guy. He's someone I wouldn't mind spending hours of my day with."
Competition isn't a deal-breaker, and neither is distance. Both of Yankoff's parents were born in Southern California, as was Yankoff (he lived in Orange County until he was four), so being closer to home would be a bonus, but not a huge factor. A much more significant factor is education, and Yankoff's got a 4.35 cumulative GPA as he starts the second semester of his junior year. A self-described "math-science" kid, he's looking into aerospace or mechanical engineering as a potential major. He's currently taking Advanced Placement Calculus BC (he took AB last year), and is also in AP Chemistry, AP English and Honors Spanish.
"I do what I can," he laughed. "I value academics fairly highly. The school that I pick, I would like it to maintain a good balance of both football and academics. The fact that Cal is a fairly prestigious school, when it comes to academics, is definitely appealing to me. It's a good selling point."
Yankoff will be studying for his AP tests this spring, so coming up for a spring practice may be difficult, but the desire to is there, after his first trip.
"It's definitely something I'm considering," Yankoff said. "I really enjoyed being down there, and wouldn't mind doing it again, at all, just as long as I can fit it in with all the other stuff I'll end up doing. Missing class kills me."