Winston broke down why each school made his top eight.
Arizona: “They were one of my most recent offers, so if I would have cut them out, I wouldn’t have given them a chance to recruit me and not see what they had to offer. I like Arizona’s style of play, especially defensively. That’s a big reason why they’re in my top eight. Coach (Matt) Caponi is the coach recruiting me.”
Arizona State: “I’ve always liked them and one of my former teammates at Central Catholic, Connor Humphries, is there and he has nothing but great things to about ASU. It’s a team I could play offense for as well. I like their receiving corps and they turned Jaelen Strong into an NFL prospect. They can produce and develop athletes. They like me as an athlete and we’ve talked about safety, receiver and linebacker. Coach (Chris) Ball and Coach (Chip) Long are recruiting me.”
Cal: “They have great academics and that is one thing I’m really looking into, a strong education. And Cal has the best to offer academically. They’re rebuilding and I’m looking forward to what they’re going to have next year, because they could potentially be on the rise. They like me as an athlete too, but they’re leaning more towards linebacker. I talk a lot with the head coach, Sonny Dykes, but also to Coach (Garret) Chachere.”
Michigan: “They’re another one of the teams on the rise with Coach (Jim) Harbaugh. I want to give Michigan a definite chance. I like the way their recruiting goes, with all of the information they send to keep you updated and that’s one of the reasons I love them. Coach Jay Harbaugh is recruiting me. I talk to so many of the coaches but mostly with Jay Harbaugh since he recruits my area. They like me as an athlete as well.”
Oregon: “They can produce and develop and they have great academic support. Their psychology courses are good and they have great professors and that’s one of the reasons I’m really high on them. Of course, their sports are great as usual. And it’s close to home so that’s big too. I would love if my family could come to my games and have them come and support. It would be amazing to have my mom make it to games. So the location matters as well. They’re recruiting me as an athlete. I could choose receiver and linebacker and they’ll let me choose which one I want to play and if it doesn’t work out, I could fall back on the other side. Its not ‘I have to just play this position’. All of the coaches are pretty much recruiting me. But I talk most with Coach (Don) Pellum and Coach (Erik) Chinander.”
UCLA: “They’re recruiting me as a linebacker. I really like Coach (Scott) White. He has been up to the school a couple times, and I’ve gotten a chance to know him well and he’s getting to know my family well when we talk on the phone. UCLA has one of the best recruiting classes coming in and then the commits they have and all that talent and on offense and defense. I could go in and play linebacker early there because they’re lacking in linebacker strength. That means I could have the potential chance to play early. I like UCLA and have family in California, even if I was a further distance. They’ve also talked about using me on offense and I know they’ve used Myles Jack, who plays linebacker, as a running back so they show they will.
USC: “USC is recruiting me as a linebacker and Coach (Peter) Sirmon is the coach recruiting me. They’re always solid and always have solid years. They’ve been growing on me and I like Coach Sirmon. We talk a lot. I like USC because it’s not too far from home and they have a good linebacker corps and they’re going to be pretty good the next couple of years and their defense is always good.”
Washington: “I talk with Coach (Chris) Petersen all the time. I talk with Coach (Bob) Gregroy too. Those two are the ones recruiting me. I’ve been up there about three times. I could see the definite care for the players they have and the relationships that they have with them when I went to a couple games. They would let me play both sides of the ball and they’ve said I could have a lot to offer towards them. They’ve gotten some good recruits and I’ve started to like Washington more.”
The next step for Winston will be to cut his list again, and that’s right around the corner.
“By two weeks, I’ll have it down to five or six schools,” said Winston. “I could see myself having six and visiting five and not visiting Oregon or Washington officially because I could drive to them at any point in time. So that could definitely factor in.”
A timetable for a decision is still uncertain.
“I’m not sure when I’ll decide,” said Winston. “I sat down and talked with my coach and we haven’t decided if I’m going to commit before my football season or if I’m going to do it after. I haven’t really decided yet. When I first talked with him, that’s when I decided to cut my list down, but I don’t know yet when I’ll commit.”
Later this month, Winston will visit Southern California and potentially stop in the Bay Area and Arizona.
“I go down to UCLA and USC later in June and I’m going to try to make it to Cal when I have a basketball tournament up there,” said Winston. “I’m planning on trips to Arizona State and Arizona in summer.”
He’ll also get back to the two Northwest schools he’s considering and Michigan will likely get one of his five official visits.
“I know for sure I’ll get down to Oregon again and up to Washington again,” said Winston. “I think I’m going to visit Michigan officially during the season.”
Later this month, Winston will be in Eugene for The Opening Regionals.
“Me and Brady Breeze are going to the Eugene Opening and we’re trying to get in to the Opening Finals,” said Winston. “We want to represent for Oregon and Portland at The Opening.”
Winston said that Breeze, a longtime commit to Oregon, may actually be recruiting him harder than any school or any coach.
“Brady goes hard on Oregon with me,” said Winston. “He’s always asking me when I’m going to commit and just keeps recruiting me. Its pretty funny.”
Winston has put on 15 pounds since basketball season ended and wants to add a little more by fall.
“I want to get up to 225 by the season,” said Winston. “And I want to keep my speed and strength and just put the weight in the right areas.”