When he was 14, before the final game of his Pop Warner season, Blake Veargis, then a running back, pleaded with his coach to let him wear No. 24. He wanted, at least once, to wear the same number as his idol --then- Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. It worked like a charm: He scored three times and tallied an interception.
When he got to high school, at Monsignor Pace, he didn't get to repeat the feat -- a senior was wearing No. 24. No matter, though, as he's since built up quite a resume. After converting to wide receiver, Veargis still stood out, even in Pace's run-heavy offense, before transferring to Miami (Fla.) Norland for his senior season. So far, the 5-foot-11, 160-pound slot receiver has 12 FBS offers, including Nebraska, North Carolina, NC State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and, now, California.
"My family is a fan of Marshawn, I grew up watching him, and he lives life freely," Veargis said. "He doesn't care what people say or how people feel about him, because when he steps on the field he takes care of business."
When Veargis, on Tuesday, got an offer from Bears wide receivers coach Nick Edwards, it was a complete surprise, but certainly not an unwelcome one.
"When i think about Cal, i think of Lynch," Veargis said. "I would want to be remembered like him, i want to hold the Bear legacy high."
Edwards said that Veargis would fit into the Cal offense "perfectly," because of his route-running and blocking. He also said he wants Veargis to come out and visit.
"I am for sure going up there in the summer," said Veargis, who may commit somewhere before he visits Berkeley, but it's likely it won't be his final decision, he said. He will still make the trip out west to see what Cal is all about. "I want to experience how it is up there because I know nothing about them."
And, he may wind up bumping into his idol, along the way.
"It would be an honor to meet him," Veargis said.