Gavin Andrews received plenty of college football recruiting interest, but the 6-foot-6, 340-pound guard for Granite Bay High School understood one thing for certain.
He really liked Oregon State. From the start and right to the end, and he didn't have to endure a whirlwind of recruiting with flights across the country, endless phone calls and speculation.
Everything about OSU felt right, Andrews said. The overall program, the academic setting, the football facilities, the coaches, the location in Corvallis.
Andrews was an early verbal commitment to the Beavers and never wavered. He did not accept any other recruiting trips, and he gladly welcomed Beavers coach Mike Riley to his Placer County home last month to sit and talk, along with Andrews' mother, Kara.
"Colorado was my second favorite, but I really liked OSU," Andrews said. "I'm very happy about it."
What's more, Andrews is a small-city kind of guy who loves the mountains, lakes, rivers and woods.
"I'm definitely an outdoor guy," Andrews said. "I'll have fun in my free time. We'll get some other recruits, teammates, and go on some fishing trips."
Andrews is as friendly, jovial and kind as he is football enormous and gifted. He fills out his jersey, and he won all the trench wars as a senior for a Grizzlies team that won its final six games and took down Sac-Joaquin Section top seeds Lincoln of Stockton and Pleasant Grove in the semifinals and championship, respectively.
In the Division I title game at Sacramento State, Andrews often lined up across from Pleasant Grove lineman ace Arik Armstead, causing tremors as Armstead is no pup at 6-8 and 295. Their battles could continue as Armstead will be going to Oregon.
Andrews, sporting a hearty beard in honor of his line coach Mike Lynch after that section title conquest, talked glowingly of his family and friends who have watched him play since his youth. Within days, he shed the beard when he learned that the Grizzlies did not land a CIF State Bowl bid (it went to Bellarmine of San Jose).
"But you know what? The beard's back," Andrews said with a laugh. "It's in full force now."
Andrews was a state-meet wrestler earlier in his prep career but he dreaded having to lose up to 50 pounds to make weight - days of steamed vegetables for lunch while his pals grubbed on fast food. He does want to trim a bit at Oregon State.
Most of all, Andrews said he is grateful for the scholarship opportunity.
"I feel very fortunate," he said. "A scholarship is really something nice to cherish. What my mom gave me, all she's done for me...it's amazing. At the beginning she was concerned about football, but we took the risk and look at the rewards. She's getting a pretty good return on it, me too."
He also spoke highly of his head coach Ernie Cooper - The Bee's 2011 Coach of the Year - and Lynch. It wasn't uncommon for Andrews to hang out with the coaches well after practice - to talk about the game, about school, about his future, about family.
"What those coaches have done with me...it's quite an amazing thing," Andrews said. "I feel lucky."
For more news and updates, follow on Twitter: sb_joedavidson