Safety Jaleel Wadood backed off his verbal commitment to California on Monday evening, ending a four-month pledge to the Golden Bears. The St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) standout announced the decision on his Twitter account, reopening a recruitment process that features a pair of Pac-12 contenders.
The 5'11", 170-pound playmaker is now focused on Cal rivals USC and UCLA, according to Scout.com writer Greg Biggins (subscription required).
“I like Cal a lot but like I said, ever since I grew up, I've always wanted to play for USC or UCLA," Wadood told Biggins. "So now I’m going to sit back and have that discussion about those two schools and decide where I fit in best.”
He is set to visit UCLA this weekend, per 247Sports writer Justin Hopkins. Wadood took an unofficial visit to USC in October.
The 4-star prospect is listed as the nation's No. 9 safety and California's No. 12 recruit by 247Sports. His offer sheet extends far beyond the Golden State.
Wadood also holds scholarship offers from Vanderbilt, Oregon, Colorado and Nebraska.
He is the second key Golden Bears recruit to decommit in the past month. 4-star wide receiver Jalen Harvey flipped to Arizona State in late October.
Cal now holds just nine commits in the 2014 recruiting class, which is ranked 71st nationally and last in the Pac-12 by 247Sports. The Golden Bears are 1-10 in head coach Sonny Dykes' first season.
USC is searching for an infusion of talent as it rebuilds in the aftermath of recruiting sanctions and the underwhelming Lane Kiffin era. The Trojans lack significant talent at defensive skill positions in this current class.
3-star safety Uchenna Nwosu (Harbor City, Calif.) is the team's lone defensive back commit. USC is relatively young at safety, but there is a significant lack of depth and room for Wadood to compete as a freshman.
UCLA is in better shape at the back end of its defensive attack. While the Bruins feature predominately sophomores and juniors at safety, coach Jim Mora has secured several 2014 commits that figure to make an immediate impact on the secondary.
If Wadood is seeking an opportunity for early playing time in the Pac-12, USC is his best option. In the process, he could help serve as a southern California catalyst for prospects looking to help return the Trojans to national prominence.
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