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As he drove home from California Elite Junior Day, Fresno (Calif.) Central East running back Nick Wilson's mind began to churn. His high school counselor -- Mona Martin -- ran track at Cal back in the 1990s. Martin's daughter just so happens to be Wilson's girlfriend. Beyond that, the young man Wilson calls his "big brother," Brendan Bigelow, was attached to Wilson at the hip during his visit, telling him just about everything he could want to hear about life in Berkeley. Needless to say, he's getting a lot of push from all quarters to come to Cal.
Wilson said that he still wants to keep things open, as far as recruitment goes, but, he said, the Bears "most definitely," made that very, very hard with their showing on Saturday.
"The campus atmosphere, it's just like you see in the movies," Wilson said. "It was very surreal ... Honestly, I'm trying to just remember that it's not too far from my family, because I have a lot of family and friends I've met along in the recruiting process -- some players -- and they're all there. If I went there, it wouldn't be far at all. My Auntie lives in Oakland, some family lives in Sacramento, some live in Oakland, a couple live in Richmond, so it's not too far. But, I still want to keep things open."
Wilson said that the visit boosted Cal from where it was before he came up north.
"They're still in my top three, but it really helped to give me some insight and give me some more things to think about," Wilson said. "It made me think about if I really want to leave the state. I don't want to be too far from my family. I want my dad to be able to come to some of my games, and my little sister to be able to come to some of my games. My counselor, she went there, and ran track there. It gave me some insight, and it makes you just think about and consider some things."
Wilson spent Saturday's Cal basketball game sitting next to Bigelow, and throughout the day, the pair of tailbacks caught up and spoke about all things related to the Bears.
"I really enjoyed myself with Brendan. We were taking the tour and doing the walk-around, and we just kind of caught up and stuff, and he was telling me about his knee, how he's coming back from his knee. He really is like my big brother," Wilson said. "He said he really enjoys the new staff. He really enjoys coach [Pierre] Ingram, and he said Cal's just a really great place. I was asking him what it was like, and I would ask, ‘Is it hard to get into anything, and do they make sure you don't get in trouble?' and he said, for the most part, he just works out and goes to class, and that's pretty good to know."
When not otherwise engaged with Bigelow, Wilson spent much of his time with running backs coach Pierre Ingram, who, like Wilson, has the gift of gab.
"He's a really great guy," Wilson said. "he kind of reminds me of myself, how I'm energetic, and we both talk a lot, so that's another thing, with that. He's a really good guy, and I felt like I really connected with him."