Most Los Angeles football players have two choices in mind for their future: UCLA or USC.
Not Donzale Roddie. The Compton, Calif., native has had plenty of conversations with his coach about his future, and it doesn't surprise Paramount HS coach Matt Howard that one of his stars would choose the Utes as his college destination.
"I knew he probably was going to take off," Howard said. "Every time we talked, it wasn't a situation in which he was worried about staying close to home."
Utah football got a commitment from the SoCal prep athlete on Wednesday morning, the program's seventh 2015 recruit expected to sign next year. Although the Utes are the only team to offer Roddie so far, the three-star athlete (Scout) has gotten plenty of phone calls from USC, Colorado, Fresno State, San Diego State and Wyoming among others.
It meant a lot to Roddie that Utah had been first to lay out a scholarship offer. His visit last Friday all but sealed the decision up for him. He said he was impressed by the recently built football facility, but was mostly sold on the program's atmosphere.
"I just love the vibe of it, with the players and the coaches," he said. "It's really good for me, just a good fit for me."
Roddie said it surprised him how many Utes hailed from California. On his visit, he connected with fellow L.A. native Delshawn McClellon.
Recruited by Dennis Erickson, Roddie said it hasn't been determined which side of the ball he'll play on in college. He'll likely end up as a wide receiver or cornerback, depending on how the coaching staff decides to use him.
According to Maxpreps.com, Roddie tallied more than 500 receiving yards last year with 7 touchdown receptions for the Pirates. As a defensive back, he registered 36 tackles, picked off a pass and blocked a field goal.
Howard says he sees both sides of the argument: Roddie is both Paramount's best route runner and its best cover corner. Over the offense, Howard said he sees Roddie as a "technician" of route running and catching the ball. He also filled in as a free safety last year, and was physical in run support belying his 6-foot, 170-pound frame.
One thing Roddie is working on is his speed: He's running track this spring to improve it.
"He's not a blazing fast guy, but he does seem to be fast enough," Howard said. "It's hard to explain. He doesn't seem that fast, but he can run past DI-committed corners. I think a guy like Donzale, once he gets in a college weightroom and starts eating the right things, he'll really take to that."
Roddie said either way, he'll be good to go. He's perhaps most excited about playing in the Pac-12 against the programs that other L.A. athletes dream about playing for.
"That means a lot," he said of playing in the Pac-12. "That's a big accomplishment for me. My family is really excited about that."
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