2008 Prospect: Dayne Crist

One of the best quarterback prospects in Southern California who also just made Scout.com's early Top 100 National Juniors list, Dayne Crist, talked about his experience at UCLA's Junior Day. The 6-5 quarterback already has plenty of recruiting attention...

One of the early candidates for the top quarterback in the West in the class of 2008 is Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame's Dayne Crist (6-5, 225).

Crist, an all-state underclass selection in 2006, was one of many prospects who attended UCLA's Junior Day over the weekend.

"I liked it a lot and saw a lot of new stuff," said Crist. "I met with Coach (Jay) Norvell, the new offensive coordinator, and spent the day with him. I didn't get an offer, but met with a couple of coaches and they said they're really interested. Coach (Dino) Babers said they're going to make a decision on quarterbacks within the next week and a half."

Crist had gotten to know former OC Jim Svoboda prior to his departure but said he was very impressed with Norvell. "I had met with Coach Svoboda and had talked with him for a while and had gone to their bowl practices," said Crist. "But with Coach Norvell, you can tell he's real excited to be there and he has a lot of energy. He has this kind of aura where he commands respect and obviously his background is huge. He has so many different ideas that if he implements them at UCLA, they could be huge."

Aside from UCLA, Crist figures to be wooed by several of the top programs in the country and the attention is really starting to pick up. "A lot of schools have made a push in the last couple of weeks," said Crist. "After Signing Day, I think things will really move. Coaches said they're really evaluating our class right now. A lot of schools are reviewing my film."

Eight schools are standing out early for Crist. "At this point, UCLA, USC, Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Florida State are some of those schools standing out for me," said Crist. "I've been impressed and like certain things about every school. That's really just a rough number. There are schools that weren't on the list that I'm interested in."

Crist grew up an SC fan and is very aware of the Trojans' success with quarterbacks. So would an offer from USC net a commitment from him? "It'd definitely put USC among my top schools (if they offered), but I would still have to take a trip and feel real comfortable before committing," said Crist. "It just depends on how comfortable I was and I'd have to see what their plan for me playing was."

Quarterbacks commonly make early commitments, and Crist said that is something he's heavily considering. "It kind of depends, I'm not at all opposed to committing early if I had a bunch of early offers," said Crist. "I could get something locked up early and get it out of the way. I'm still planning on taking (unofficial) trips."

Crist said this spring, he would do a road trip of sorts, visiting several schools that he has interest in.

At one point during the 2006 season, Crist saw his promising career come into jeopardy. In the season-opening win over Canyon, Crist suffered a freak back injury that wasn't diagnosed until after the game. But he battled back and returned to lead the Knights to a perfect regular season.

"I'm really appreciative and I'm real grateful to be able to keep playing," said Crist. "It was a freak play, and made me realize that at any time things can be taken away. It just made me that much more hungry as your team is out there going through what you're dying to do. I rehabbed like a mad man."

Crist was at the U.S. Army National Combine last month and ended up performing as well as any quarterback there. "Anytime you can surround yourself with those kind of athletes on a national stage, you figure it out quick and get going. I want to win a championship (this year) and individually, want to try to get back for that game," said Crist.

No stranger to the recruiting process, Crist has watched several of his Notre Dame teammates either sign or commit to major programs around the country. Now that it's his turn, he's relishing the experience. "I'm definitely enjoying it," said Crist. "It's one of those things where you work hard and you have to improve your game. You play to be the best, and I'm going to do what it takes."

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