Another Berkeley Trip on Horizon

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei OL Chris Ward is being recruited by the California Golden Bears defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi. "He's great," he said. "We email back and forth a lot and he's fun to be around. He's young, so we can relate well...

Chris Ward, the 6-foot-5, 330-pound offensive lineman from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., says he's continuing to focus on two schools – California and UCLA.

Ward has offers from both the Bears and Bruins as well as Stanford, Washington, Washington State, Arizona, Colorado and San Diego State.

"I don't plan on leaving California," Ward said.

He says that Cal was his first offer last September and admits that the Bears are recruiting him the hardest. "They stay in contact a lot more than the others," he said.

"I like the coaching staff at Cal a lot," Ward said. "They remind me of my coaches. I like their style. They are very hands-on and very one-on-one with the players and I like that a lot."

Ward is being recruited by the Bears defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi. "He's great," he said. "We email back and forth a lot and he's fun to be around. He's young, so we can relate well.

"I also like that Cal has some pretty good tradition too," he said.

With coaches being a key factor for Ward, he says he also likes the UCLA coaches as well. "Their coaches are real cool too," he said. "I like what coach Rick Neuheisel is doing. They are getting a lot of top recruits and I'm really fired up about their future.

"They are building up and they're going to be a great program again," Ward said.

Another plus for the Bruins is that they're only about 40 minutes from Ward's home. "It's pretty close and the area there reminds me of where I live," he said. "It's a great area."

Ward has visited both Berkeley and Westwood already but plans on going back to both schools within the next two weeks. The only other program he has visited is Stanford.

"It's a great place," he said of Palo Alto. "It's different from southern California. It's really open and the campus is beautiful.

"I like coach Jim Harbaugh too," Ward said. "He's very exciting and really knows how to fire up his players."

Although Ward has already narrowed it down to two, he says he doesn't have a time frame for a decision. "When I feel 100-percent sure, I'll commit," he said. "But right now it's 50/50 between Cal and UCLA."

So what's going to help Ward make a decision? "I'm keeping a list of everything and ranking it all," he said. "I'll be looking at the tradition of the program and how big football is. I want to be in a good area where I feel comfortable."

Ward, ranked as the No. 3 offensive guard in the country by, says most schools are actually recruiting him as an offensive tackle.

He says he can bench 295-pounds.

"I have great footwork and play smart," Ward said. "I have great knowledge of the game and move well for a big guy.

"But I still want to get stronger and improve my upper body," he said. "I'm also working on finishing better."

Mater Dei opens their season on Sept. 4 against Carson High School.

Ward reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 1650 SAT.

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