Finally, some clarity and the sound of a bit of relief in their voices.
Armond Armstead said today that he will return to USC any day now to take classes toward a master's degree. He last month graduated from USC with a degree in sociology. The former defensive lineman starter who sat out the 2010 season due to a series of medical tests - he reports that he is just fine - said he hopes to transfer over the summer to resume his playing career, perhaps to Notre Dame or Auburn, and there are a host of others looking at hm, too. He could also entertain the NFL draft after workouts.
His brother Arik, meanwhile, will wait until national Letter of Intent on Feb. 1 to decide, the first day high school players from across the land can formally sign binding contracts with a school. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound All-American lineman had hoped to be taking classes this week, and was enrolled at Norte Dame, Cal and Auburn.
He still lists those schools and Oregon as possibilities - just like last week - though other schools have been in contact, too. And yes, the brothers still love the idea of playinjg together, but they learned this week that is easier said than done considering the obstacles (transfer petitions, etc.) and fit.
Stressful? Dramatic? A chore?
"Most definitely," Arik said from his Elk Grove home. "Different loops, twists and things to go through. It's too gut wrenching so I'll take more time to decide. There's a lot of stuff to think about. This is the biggest decision of my life."
As of Sunday night, Arik was greatly intrigued with Cal - the location, the education, position coach Tosh Lupoi. Cal coach Jeff Tedford and Lopoi stopped by the Armstead home on Sunday evening. By Monday morning, Lupoi stunned the Bears and his recruits by accepting a coaching spot with the Washington Huskies.
The loss of Lupoi stung?
"Most definitely," Arik said. "Really like him. That was a guy I was hoping might groom me the next few years. It definitely affects everything."
Armond, meanwhile, said he is eager for some normalcy. No more speculation - at least for now.
"Everything became too rushed," he said. "Too much to do, too little time, too much stress. I'm taking everything step by step. I am relieved - dealing with all the drama, a side show, everyone freaking out (fans across the country). It's not really fun. The fun thing is going to school, playing ball. People lose sight of that."
As for competing again, Armond said, "I'm very eager to play again."
And on his brother, "I want him to do what's best for him. He'll be living at a school for four years. We may still play together but that takes time to put together."
Because Arik has graduated, he cannot return to his high school basketball team, which is ranked No. 3 regionally by The Bee and has the sort of lineup that can make a Northern California large-school title run. Still, Arik harbors no regrets.
"You can't regret anything or go back and change anything, and I'll be busy trying to figure out what's best for me (long term)," Arik said.
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