Prospect Emerges at Camp

He's 6-3 and 185 and, even though he's still not in football shape coming off his track season, the very nimble athlete opened eyes at UCLA's Three-Day Camp Monday. He told us about the scholarship offer he has from a Pac-10 school, and how UCLA fits into his recruiting situation...

Chris Conte, the 6-3, 185-pound defensive back prospect from Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola, came to the UCLA Three-Day Camp to get the UCLA coaches to take notice of him.

It worked.

"Yeah, the UCLA coaches have gotten pretty interested," Conte said. "I didn't talk to them much today myself, but my coach at Loyola is working at the camp, and he's pretty close with the UCLA coaches, and they're telling him really good things. So that sounds good. It sounds like they're interested."

Conte said that California has offered him a scholarship, and he's hearing from most of the Pac-10, as well as San Diego State.

"I went up to Cal's camp and they offered me," Conte said. "So now I'm here at UCLA's camp, trying to see what I can do."

Conte is a long, rangy athlete who moves very well, especially laterally, for his size. At the UCLA camp Monday, he looked very quick and instinctive guarding receivers. For his high school team last season he played both wide receiver and cornerback, "but I think UCLA likes me more as a safety, and maybe a cornerback, too," he said.

Conte is trying to get back into football shape after spending a great deal of time on track. He said, "My legs, I'm trying to get back into football shape. I did pretty well today (Monday at the UCLA camp), but probably not my best since I had some cramps and things going on today."

Conte had a bit of a heartbreak for his junior track season. He said, "In the 110 meter hurdles, I did really well but then got disqualified in the State prelims for a false start. My best time on the year was a 14.8, which would have given me third place in the state."

Conte only came out to the UCLA camp on Monday, but felt he got such good feedback and encouragement from the UCLA coaches that he wanted to return. "It was really fun today and I think I'll come back out tomorrow. I live pretty close so I really didn't have to stay overnight."

The proximity to UCLA, in fact, is a factor in his potential decision. "If UCLA offered me I'd decided between UCLA and Cal," he said. "The thing I like about Cal is the distance. I could be away, but still close enough to come back."

But Conte says there are some compelling reasons to go to UCLA. "My mom went to UCLA, though, and we have some ties," he said. "If UCLA offered it would definitely put things into a different perspective. It'd be a hard choice for me. I wouldn't be able to choose right now."

Does his mom want him to go to UCLA? "She wants me to go to a good school," Conte said. "And Cal is a very good school, too."

In terms of a timetable for his decision, he said could be deciding fairly soon. "I'm going to decide before school starts. So when school starts I'll only have to worry about school and the football season, and not the recruiting thing," Conte said. Would he possibly delay his decision if Cal was his only offer by the start of the school year? "I don't know," he said. "I want to have it done, so if Cal was my only offer I'd probably just commit to Cal. But if UCLA offered, like I said, it'd change things."

Conte plans on participating in a few passing leagues with Loyola, but not much else this summer. "I went to the Cal camp and now the UCLA camp, and I'm done," he said. "That's what I wanted to do."

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