Atkinson Comes Away from Cal Impressed

Livermore (Calif.) Granada brothers George and Josh Atkinson made the short trip up Interstate 580 to Berkeley for Cal's Junior Day last Saturday. George, who has an offer from the Golden Bears, talks about the visit and his recruiting timeline…

"After junior day, Cal is one of my favorites," said George Atkinson (6-3, 190). "It was my first visit; I liked what they got going on there. I want to stay in the Pac-10 but I want to hear from an Alabama or a Texas."

With eight offers, Atkinson has plenty of choices. He plans unofficial visits to Oregon and Washington this spring.

"It was cool and it was fun," Atkinson said of Cal Junior Day. "They really welcomed you and everything. They gave a lot of information about the school. They really care about the player individually; it's more of family then just a team. The coaches are real good people."

His father George Atkinson Sr. played for the Oakland Raiders, and he currently works with the Raiders radio broadcast. Staying home and playing in the Bay Area is a factor in Atkinson's recruitment as well as the possibility of playing with his twin brother.

"We talking about going to [college] together," said Atkinson. Cal did not offer Josh Atkinson, who has three offers, at junior day.

As for George, he can play both sides of the ball. He's nearly 6-foot-3 and pushing close to 200 pounds with superb speed and excellent athleticism. Presently, Cal is targeting him as an athlete with the possibility of playing defensive back.

"I think wide receiver," Atkinson said of where Cal pegs him if he plays offense. "They want me to play some DB. They want me more as a DB. Me and my brother talked to [DB] Coach [Al] Simmons. We talked about everything, a lot of life stuff.

"I talked to [WR] Coach [Kevin] Daft a lot. He seemed like a real good coach. I was in his office talking to him. He wanted me to see what they do to get their receivers in open the field."

Former defensive coordinator Bob Gregory originally recruited Atkinson. Gregory has since left to be an assistant at Boise State. With his departure, Simmons and Daft are now Atkinson's main contacts at Cal.

"My coach and Gregory talked a lot but he went to Boise," said Atkinson. "But now it will be Simmons and Daft recruiting me."

Have you talked to Gregory since he has become a Bronco assistant coach?

"No," answered Atkinson. "My coach has talked to him since he's been at Boise."

Seven Pac-10 schools have offered Atkinson they are as follows: Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Washington State. It is his conference of choice besides the draw of the national championship participants. But a few schools east of the Mississippi are showing interest. "Illinois," said Atkinson. "And I get a lot of mail from Georgia and Miami."

Atkinson prefers to make his college decision after his season is over. "I'm going to take all five of my official visits so I can make the right decision.

"Academics are a big part. The depth chart, how I can get on the field the fastest. I want to contribute to the team."

He does prefer offense, but he says he is willing to make the switch if it meant contributing earlier. "I'm playing running back right now," Atkinson added. "But I see myself as a receiver because of my height. I would like to play both like a Percy Harvin or Dexter McCluster."

Atkinson reports a 2.8 GPA. He takes the SAT in March.

Stay with CalSportsDigest.com for Josh Atkinson's recap of his Cal Junior Day visit.

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