Atlanta (Ga.) defensive end Russell Ude has talked about visiting the West Coast since last season.
With a long list of scholarship offers, Ude finally made a trip west to unofficially visit UCLA, USC and Cal this week. He hit UCLA and USC back to back on camp days.
"I've been coming off of an injury, so camp settings don't feel quite as natural as they did last summer," explained Ude. "I'm a little rusty, but it was awesome working out at UCLA.
"I got to touch bases with some of the players and Coach Angus (McClure). The best experience was working out with Datone Jones. It's not often you can work with a guy that has achieved the things you hope to achieve.
"And he has a similar body type to my own, so it was great to see a guy like me come into the program and develop that way under Coach Angus."
From Westwood, Ude headed south down the 405 freeway to Los Angeles and USC. Going into the camp, Ude's main goal was to earn a scholarship offer from the Trojans.
"I felt like I did well (at USC)," said Ude. "The competition was good, but I feel like I did what I needed to do. I went a lot against Roy Hemsley, the USC offensive tackle commit.
"He's obviously pretty good competition, and I did well there. I'm supposed to talk to Coach Wilson later this week about an offer. He pulled me aside after the camp and asked where USC would fit in if they did offer.
"I told him they would be real high on my list. Coach Wilson said he has liked me since he was at Georgia, where he offered me. With the coaching turnover things change, but he's liked me ever since he was at Georgia."
Off the field, Ude is experiencing life on the West Coast as opposed to the Southeast. But his tour of California has been far from culture shock.
"It's been great," said Ude of his travels from Southern California to Northern California. "With my personality, I've never had trouble adjusting to new places — especially if they're in the city.
"California sort of fits my personality even more than the South does. My family isn't from America, so I'm pretty well-versed culturally. The West Coast is very diverse culturally speaking, so I like it a lot out here."
Friday Ude headed out to Cal before enjoying a night out with his father in San Francisco. While he didn't camp at Cal, he had a well-rounded trip to Berkeley.
"I saw everything and the coaches really told me everything I needed to know about the school," said Ude. "I didn't get to hang out with the players as much as I hoped to, but it was a really nice trip.
"I really learned a lot about what Cal has to offer not just athletically, but academically. I went over everything with them. Coach (Art) Kaufman, the DC, showed me that I can come in and play right away.
"Combined with just looking at their depth chart, I can start my freshman year. I can definitely play, but I think I can start as well. They didn't guarantee that I would start. They told me I have the capability to start. It's not like they're just going to give me that spot. I have confidence I can win that spot."
Ude had previously hinted at making a decision on a college before the end of the summer. However, the more Ude sees the more he wants to evaluate additional options for college.
"I'm taking things in stride and not trying to rush a decision," said Ude. "When I know I'll know. I don't want to do anything prematurely.
"I still would like to visit Stanford on July 26. I definitely would like to couple that with a visit to Oregon. Those two trips go hand-in-hand, and if I can make those trips I could definitely be making a decision sooner than later.
"Oregon is a school I need to go see, and Miami is also a school I'd like to see. If I can expedite the process by taking more trips, that works for me."
Ude Camps in Los Angeles
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