Cal Checks on Rowland

The spring evaluation period is in full swing, and Peoria (AZ) Centennial OL Nick Rowland had a host of college coaches, including Cal's Bob Gregory, visiting his school on Wednesday to watch him in action. While he claims no favorites, Cal has emerged as a school of high interest. Rowland, who broke the school's bench press record yesterday, updates us on his recruitment…

Nick Rowland (6-4, 295) has added about 10 pounds of bulk in the last month. But it hasn't taken away from his athleticism. On Wednesday, in front of college coaches visiting during the spring evaluation period, Rowland took two steps and grabbed a basketball rim with two hands.

With 5.2 forty-time and a 4.79 shuttle, it's easy to see why the California coaches believe he can play guard or maybe even center. On the same day, he benched 385 pounds shattering Centennial's school bench press record, easily showing his strength to play any spot on the line. Rowland says his goal is to bench 400 pounds – he benched 385 twice – by the end of June. Friday, he will max squat, which is currently 490 pounds.

Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory has been the main contact for Rowland since the Bears offered earlier this year. He met head coach Jeff Tedford and new offensive line coach Steve Marshall during his junior day visit on February 28.

"I've always been high on Cal," said Rowland. "I really like Coach Tedford and Coach Marshall. I think they're all a class act over there."

Coach Gregory made a quick stop at Centennial on Wednesday while Rowland was in school then came back later in the afternoon to watch him practice. "It's always great to see Coach Gregory," added Rowland. NCAA rules do not allow college coaches to talk to recruits on campus during the spring evaluation period, only if a player and coach happen to "bump" into each other.

On the same February weekend as Cal's junior day, Rowland visited Stanford, which along with Arizona and Arizona State comprises the four schools he has seen. In all, Rowland has offers from the Bears, Cardinal, Sun Devils, Wildcats, Colorado, Colorado State, Oregon, and Washington.

"Stanford [is recruiting me the hardest]," said Rowland. "[Head] Coach [Jim] Harbaugh has told me I'm atop their recruiting board for offensive line."

However, Rowland has yet to apply to Stanford. "I feel very comfortable with my grades and SAT score," he added in regards to their admission standards.

Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and USC are other schools that are recruiting Rowland and could be next to offer. "I heard a few schools are close to offering," said Rowland. "I haven't talk to a lot of them but got see how it plays out.

"I really want to see an offer from USC. I think it's a great school. It's close to home. I've always liked USC, and I've always liked Oklahoma as well. I think Oklahoma is close to offering. Last I talked [to USC]; I think they decided to hold off until I go out to their camp.

"Oklahoma has talked to my coaches. My coaches felt they were close to offering after talking to them shortly. I haven't had a chance to talk to the Oklahoma coaches yet. The last time I talked to Notre Dame, [the coaches said] they're waiting on a few others. They want to see some of the guys they've already offered and what kind of decisions they make."

Rowland states it's too early to name any favorites, and he has not written any schools off his list. He says all the coaches are open to him taking his time in the recruiting process, including the Golden Bears. "At Cal, they're not looking to have anyone make a decision they're not ready to make," he added.

He does not have any unofficial visits scheduled this summer, and he may wait until after September 1 to use his five official visits to help weed out some schools. The only event on his schedule is the Combine on May 23 in Phoenix.

"I want to see how many colleges throw their hat into the mix before I write any off," said Rowland. "I'm trying do find the balance between the football team, education, and location. Those are the three main things that are important to me and of course, the coaches and how comfortable I feel."

The factor that may favor Cal among others is coaching stability. "That's definitely a big plus for me," said Rowland. "I would really like not to have to go through a coaching change during my career. I've heard some horror stories from players saying that it's not a real good experience."

Every schools, as far as he knows, is recruiting him to redshirt his first year in the program. Rowland says he believes in the coaches recruiting him. If another school promises early playing time, it will not factor into his decision. "Early playing time is not important to me," he said.

Watch his updated junior season highlights.

#72 Nick Rowland Highlights --
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