OAKLAND, Calif. -- Even though Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd trounced Castro Vally (Calif.) 45-0 on Friday, four-star Dragons tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker lobbied his coaches to keep him in the game until the final horn, and he kept on mauling along.
"I told coach to just keep me in there, so I can get the highlight tape ready for the season," Vera-Tucker said.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound left tackle has been committed to USC since Aug. 5, but on the sidelines Friday were two coaches from another Pac-12 school: California head coach Sonny Dykes and offensive line coach Brandon Jones.
The Bears have been keeping up with Vera-Tucker, even though he's committed to the Trojans, and that persistence may pay off.
"They're still recruiting me pretty hard, and trying to get me to come up for an official visit," Vera-Tucker said. "I'm still trying to build a relationship with coach Dykes and coach Brandon Jones, just in case they go to the NFL, and I'm there, too."
Cal isn't the only team still coming after Vera-Tucker.
The Huskies are a consensus No. 5 in the polls, and have gotten off to a 6-0 start.
"Washington, they're a great team," Vera-Tucker said. "Real powerhouse, obviously. They've got a lot of Dawgs, and I respect the Dawgs."
Even though the Trojans (3-3, 2-2 in Pac-12) have had more downs than ups this season, Vera-Tucker remains solid in his commitment.
"They're having their struggles so far, but it's a new coach, a lot of great players, just coming out of sanctions, so I feel like they're going to finish the year strong," Vera-Tucker said. "For the next four or five years, USC's going to be a real powerhouse."
Vera-Tucker will likely make his official visit down to Los Angeles the weekend of Jan. 20, but before that, he may wind up just up the road in Berkeley.
"Right now, I'm not really thinking about taking any other official visits, but if I really wanted to, it'd probably come down to taking an official visit to Cal," Vera-Tucker said. "It's close to home, and it was my second choice, and I never got to take an official visit. It'd be really cool to see what it's like, and to make sure I'm still 100 percent committed to USC."
Vera-Tucker said he would take his visit to Cal the first weekend of January. The Bears (3-3, 1-2) have, like USC, had ups and downs this season, beating two ranked teams at home in Utah and Texas, but losing on the road to Pac-12 doormat Oregon State this past week.
"That's just football," Vera-Tucker said. "Especially in the Pac-12, with all the great players in the Pac-12, so that's what you're going to get. Cal's having a good season, too, so hats off to them."