January 27, 2012
Heavily recruited Arik Armstead to announce college choice on Sunday

By Sunday, we'll know - and then normalcy for all.

Arik Armstead, Pleasant Grove High School's towering and dominant 6-foot-8, 295-pound All-American linemen, will make his college scholarship announcement on Sunday.

He will announce at his family church - The House Christian Church - on Broadway in Sacramento. There will be prep teammates, coaches, family, friends and local media on hand, and why all the fuss? He's a unique talent, a unique kid know for his humility as much as his considerable football and basketball talents and upside. He has been on everyone's short list on national recruits and seemingly every prep All-American team across the country, including MaxPreps, Sports Illustrated, Parade and a host of others.

Armstead also happens to be the most heavily recruited football player in Sacramento since Kevin Willhite of Cordova in 1981 when the tailback was the National Player of the Year by five major publications, include Parade.

Armstead had the sound of relief in his voice when we talked to him, as he has narrowed his choices to a Pac-12 heavy collection - and to Auburn and Notre Dame. The sense here is the lead programs are Cal, Oregon and Washington with USC and UCLA also in the mix. To say the least, his brain is full of possibilities as he is ready to enroll immediately as he has already graduated from Pleasant Grove.

Armstead had a flurry of home visits this week, starting with Auburn, then with USC, Oregon and Washington. The Huskies had seven coaches and rented a nearby hotel ballroom for a power-point display and to showcase a jersey with Armstead's preferred No. 9, in honor of his late uncle, Willie "Buggy" Armstead.

Armstead said Kiffin also waved a jersey as something of a carrot temptation. Armstead said he enjoyed all of the visits, and he appreciated the candor and honesty of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who said he could not promise that he would be the Ducks coach for four or five years.

Still, it was interesting that the Armstead family noted that so many programs have bashed others during recruiting - a common ploy in an effort to demean a rival program while promoting their own colors.

Armstead wants to play basketball and defensive line in college, and he's the area's most gifted two-sport recruit since Reggie Rogers of since-closed Norte Del Rio, near Grant, in 1982 (went on to Washington then first-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 1987).

The first coach to reach out to Armstead was Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery during his freshman season. The first school to offer in football was UCLA, then USC.
Armstead is trying to collect hats for each school to display, in appreciation for the efforts from each program.

"I'm ready to make my decision," Armstead said.

In the meantime, he said he continues to talk to his friend Shaq Thompson, who had home visits this week from Cal, Washington and Oregon, all seemingly in a three-team dead heat. Thompson's mother Patty is also in constant contact with Armstead's mother, Christina. See, it isn't just the teenagers who stress here.

We will Tweet Armstead's announcement ASAP on Sunday and we will talk about what all this means on the SureWestSports Radio Show from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320 - with the show linked later online at ESPN1320.net.
Follow on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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