Mama keeps eye on coaching carousel

Scout checks in with Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco offensive guard Damien Mama on the eve of the CIF-SS Pac5 Championship game, as Mama watches his close friends play in a Friday night showdown...

There was a group of familiar faces on the sideline at Corona (Calif.) Centennial high school on Friday night cheering on their good friends.

Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco offensive lineman Damien Mama, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly athlete Juju Smith, and Pomona (Calif.) Diamand Ranch offensive lineman Kammy Delp were all in attendance to support Centennial's Viane Talamaivao and Austin Maloata.

After Centennial clinched the CIF-SS Inland Division Championship, it was evident just how close the group is, when they were jumping around on the field, celebrating the victory together despite playing at different high schools.

Talamaivao and Maloata are committed to USC, could Mama be next?

The Scout No. 1 offensive guard in the 2014 class is down to his final four: Alabama, BYU, UCLA, and USC.

He's in no rush to make a decision, but is anxious to see where the coaching carousel stops.

The five-star recruit says he's "glad" to see former Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian back in L.A., now with USC. "I feel very comfortable with him as a head coach," Mama said.

His concern with the Trojans moving forward is Sarkisian's uptempo offense. "I got to talk to him about that," Mama explained, "because I don't know, I'm not really a high tempo spread kind of guy.

"I need to find what's best for me to get to the next level. "

Sarkisian recruited Mama to Washington, a program which made it into Mama's top 13 but no further.

Sarkisian, who signed with USC on Monday, contacted the top southern California target on the same day. "He was just like wanted to touch base with him being the new coach and everything," Mama explained. "He wants me to come visit, probably will next week at the latest."

It could come down to a crosstown battle for Mama.

On Saturday night his St. John Bosco squad will face off against Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei in the CIF-SS Pac5 Championship game. Mama expects the entire UCLA staff to be in attendance.

"They're definitely high on my recruiting list, being a great program, great coaching staff. It's a great overall program," he said.

UCLA head coach Jim Mora, a target for the head coach opening at Washington, announced a contract extension on Tuesday with the Bruins. By Thursday, it was confirmed offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, who was pursued by Sarkisian to join his staff at USC, would also remain at UCLA.

This latest development could play a major role in Mama's recruitment.

"It's still a big question mark," he responded, when asked if he knew who the offensive line coach at USC would be. "I thought it was going to be Klemm, but I was wrong."

Mama went on to explain the importance of his future offensive line coach. "That's the coach you'll spend the most time with," he said. "You have to build a strong relationship with that coach and feel comfortable with him coaching you and you being able to be disciplined and listen to him."

Alabama and BYU are also still in it for Mama, though it would appear the LA schools have separated themselves. Mama says the Nick Saban to Texas rumors are something he's keeping a close eye on. "Alabama is just great football," he said. "You kind of have to [worry] with head coaching job changes, see who the bring in and stuff."

Mama's next in-home visit is with BYU. He expects to see the Cougar staff on Wednesday. "It's good to have that school in my top four, being a great program back on the rise," he said. "[It's a] great coaching staff. They're pretty good this year."

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