Arik Armstead is visiting Auburn this weekend, according to multiple sources, but his former coach at Pleasant Grove HS in Elk Grove believes it’s possible the 6-foot-8, 275-pound lineman has already made his decision.
“I don’t know if that’s true or not, but when I was talking to him last weekend it sure sounded to me like he was planning to go to Cal,” Pleasant Grove coach Joe Cattolico told me by phone this morning. “I can’t confirm it but basically what they were saying last weekend was he was going to announce maybe Monday and start at Cal next week.”
I have yet to get a return call from Armstead or his father, Guss, regarding details and timing of his announcement.
Armstead, now rated as the No. 2 overall prospect in the country by Scout.com, graduated from high school last month and plans to enroll in college for the spring term. He also wants to play basketball in college.
Classes at Cal resume Tuesday, so a decision must be immiment.
Cattolico said he was with Armstead and his family in San Antonio last weekend for the U.S. Army All-American Game, but has not spoken with him since.
“I know they were talking at that time about possibility taking a trip to Auburn,” Cattolico said. “I know Auburn was pushing real hard.”
Arik Armstead’s older brother, Armond, is transferring from USC and reportedly is considering Auburn and Notre Dame. Cattolico said Armond was initially thinking about heading to Cal, but speculated that USC may have tried blocking his move to any other Pac-12 school.
Cattolico described Armstead as “a fantastic kid.”
“I’m a U.S. history teacher. He’s very bright, intellectually curious and interested in his studies. He’s a very personable young man and very mature young man,” Cattolico said. “His recruiting process has been a pretty arduous deal in terms of the amount of time and scrutiny and attention he’s gotten, and he’s really handled it in a way that’s pretty amazing for an 18-year-old kid.
“He’s well-liked by his classmates and his teachers. He’s a neat kid. For all the accolades he gets, he’s still personable and friendly to everybody and humble. That’s not easy for teen-agers.”
Armstead has said he wants to play defensive end in college, but Cattolico shares the opinion of some others that his best position will be offensive tackle.
“When they talk about the sort of skill set and body type to able to be a college and NFL left tackle, Arik is one of the few guys on the planet who fits that mold,” Cattolico suggested. “He’s 6-8, got long arms, quick feet and the strength. I think that’s his best position, but he’s awfully good at either one.”
“Obviously he can do some things in the post with his physical stature,” Cattolico said. “But he’s quite skilled in ways you don’t expect a kid that size to be.”