Two of the most highly recruited players in the San Francisco Bay Area are from the same high school, Oakland (Calif.) Tech, and they're cousins: defensive back Virdell Larkins (5-11, 180) and running back Marshawn Lynch (5-11, 190).
They've been close since kindergarten, Lynch now lives with Larkins, and the two are seldom without each other. When you call one, you invariably get both of them.
UCLA recently just offered Larkins, after he put on an impressive performance at the NorCal Nike Camp. UCLA is also recruiting Lynch, one of the best running back prospects in the west, but sources indicate that Lynch needs to improve academically before UCLA could tender an offer.
When talking with both on the phone, they said they just received a scholarship offer from Washington State. Larkins said, "Yeah, I'm getting more and more offers. California, Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona State, Colorado and now Washington State."
Larkins said he didn't have a clear-cut favorite, but if he had to narrow it down to a list of three, "it'd be Oregon, Colorado and UCLA. With USC maybe there, too."
Lynch said that he's received offers from many of the same schools that have offered Larkins, including Fresno State and USC. When asked if he had a favorite, Lynch said, "Probably Oregon." He said his leaning toward Oregon is actually a recent development. "Yeah, it just really happened. I like them because my coach talked to them, and they told my coach what I would need academically. They seemed to want to help me."
Lynch said if he had to take official visits right now he'd trip to Oregon, Notre Dame, Washington State and Colorado. The Fighting Irish haven't offered either Larkins or Lynch but they both said they should be listed among their favorites also. Larkins chimed in, saying he'd probably trip to those same schools, "but it's not like we like them more than the California schools like Cal or UCLA or USC. It's just we can get in a car and see the California schools, so we'd like to take official visits to the other ones."
With a former teammate and friend, defensive tackle Thomas Patton down in Westwood, Larkins said he talks to him occasionally about UCLA. "Thomas talked to me when he went down, and he was a little nervous at first, but really likes it and he is real excited because he is second on the depth chart at tackle. He tells me that I need to follow him down there."
Larkins is being primarily recruited by Jon Embree for UCLA. "Coach Embree is a great man, a great coach. I talked to him on Wednesday night. I can see why players want to play for him. It's a great environment down there."
Larkins said that UCLA, Colorado, Oregon and Cal are currently recruiting him the hardest. "And that means a lot," he said.
With more offers coming in, Larkins believes he'll wait a while before he commits. "I think it's best. I really don't know when I'd commit. I don't have a schedule. Right now, I'm just talking to everyone. I don't have any real pressure to commit. Cal's the hometown school here and I don't feel pressure to commit to them. My parents aren't pressuring me. They'll support me no matter what, and want me to go through the process and find the right fit. I am going to take all my trips and make the right choice. My dad and I are looking at rosters, seeing where early playing time is possible. I would like to play as a true freshman."
Larkins, who had 105 tackles and 7 interceptions as a junior, said that he's getting recruited as both a corner and a safety. "The position they recruit me as isn't that important. I'm looking for the program overall and the education."
Lynch has pretty much the same attitude about the recruiting process as Larkins. "I want to take my trips first, see how those go."
Since they've been practically joined at the hip since kindergarten, do they intend to go to the same college together? "We do want to go together," Lynch said. "But if we had to split up, wherever we went, we would still do our thing. But if we could go to the same college, that'd be better."
Larkins has a 2.7 GPA and Lynch said he has a 2.5. And of course, they're both taking the SAT in June for the first time, together.