But the saga wasn't over.
The Bears continued recruiting the standout throughout the 2009 season. And Briggs honored his commitment to visit Cal officially, which he stated he would do even after committing to USC. Last month, he made his way to Berkeley and decided Cal was the place for him. Now, with news Pete Carroll is leaving USC to coach the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, Briggs couldn't be happier he's a Bear.
"I feel at the end I made a really great decision," said Briggs. "Carroll was one of the big reasons why I was going there. If I had stayed [a USC commit], I would be in the drama with whoever else is starting to have second thoughts about their decision. I'm very proud about my decision. I think I made a smart decision with the right timing. A lot of players are starting to stress that Carroll is leaving. I'm just happy I'm not part of that situation."
Briggs is enrolling early and is moving to Berkeley this Thursday. When we caught up with him Sunday night, he was dorm shopping. He was also planning to enroll early at USC, which makes his switch that much better. Starting college while your peers are in the midst of enjoying their final semester of being a "kid" is hard enough without having to deal with future college coach leaving you hanging.
"It's a big transition," Briggs said of enrolling early. "It's the next stage until I get to the real world. I thank God for blessing me to graduate early because it's not something everybody does. It's going to be really different but I'm not worried. All I want to do is focus on school and the rest will fall into place."
Briggs will compete in indoor track upon arriving as well as participate in football winter conditioning program all in preparation for spring football. He will have every opportunity to replace Jahvid Best and earn a starting spot in the spring as well as fall camp. With his combination of size and speed and his ability to line up and catch the ball in the slot, he brings another dimension unseen in the Cal offensive backfield the last few seasons.
"I'm running track once I get there, some indoor track, but for spring ball I'm going for that running back spot," said Briggs. "The coaches told me to come in, compete and I could see the playing field real early with Jahvid leaving. I'm just coming in to take a spot. It's just that simple.
"It's a very big opportunity. I'm going to be learning from a very good running back coach (Ron Gould). I'll be back there with one of the other best running backs in the Pac-10 in Shane Vereen. It's going to be a learning curve. But I'm excited to do good, be successful, work hard and make an impact as freshman not only at Cal but in the NCAA."
Briggs has been spending as much time with family of late as his college days are fast approaching. "I've been so busy, I really didn't realize I'm going to be gone," he said. "Today, it actually really hit me hard. I'm going to miss my family and see my cousins grow up. I've been trying to spend as much time with them as I can."
While he says missing his final season of high school track will be difficult, competing in indoor track at Cal will help ease his transition from being away from home. "I'm not going to be in Berkeley as much with indoor track traveling out of state," he added. However, he will return to Los Angles to attend prom and walk with his class at Birmingham High School in May. "Being with my friends one month and having to meet new people the next month will be tough."
Briggs plans to major in media studies at Cal.
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