Now is the time to grab Elijah Gates' attention.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound four-star cornerback from Buena Park (Calif.) is focusing in on the recruiting process and beginning to weed through the schools he has legitimate interest in.
“I’m getting serious right now about it,” Gates said. “I’m just looking at all the schools and doing my research on the schools I’ve got offers from.”
Those schools include Cincinnati and three Pac-12 schools — Arizona State, Cal and Washington State. Gates already is clued in on the ideal traits his future school will have.
“A second home, a great alumni network, a team that’s really going to push me to get to the next level and the league. That’s what I’m really looking for in a school.”
Along with the schools that have offered, Gates said is hearing from Notre Dame, Oregon and Mississippi State as well. He’s also anxious to hear from the local schools, including USC where Gates is friends with current Trojans Steven Mitchell Jr. and Marvell Tell III.
“I really haven’t talked to any coaches from USC,” Gates said. “But I’m just hoping that they hit me up and say something, that they reach out to me.”
“There’s an interest in USC.”
For his final high school offseason, Gates wants to make some unofficial visits, including a potential trip to Cincinnati for the Bearcats’ junior day on March 12, but he doesn’t have anything set as of now.
In the meantime, the No. 8 cornerback in the West region said he’s working to ‘perfect his craft’ this offseason.
“Just improving. Just getting much better competition with a lot of great players around here on 7-on-7 teams. That’s the only thing I’m really looking for and just opening up my recruitment and just going on some visits with our 7-on-7 team.”
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Recruiting analyst Gerard Martinez contributed to this report.