Devante Downs, a 4-star athlete from Mountlake Terrace, Wash., has an interest list that features Pac-12 programs and one SEC school that have one trait in common. All are highly regarded academic institutions.
Downs, who plans to study chemistry in an effort to become a pharmacist, said the quality of education he will receive matters the most to him.
"Football doesn't last more than five years, maybe,'' he said in a recent phone interview with Bleacher Report. "You have to have a job after, and an education is going to get you that."
Downs named Cal, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State as schools that are at the top of his list. He also mentioned Vanderbilt, which offered him a scholarship in February.
"They're up and coming," he said about Vanderbilt. "I'm interested the most in the education, and they're in the SEC. It's the top conference in college football. The fact that they're interested in me means a lot."
Though Downs only mentioned five schools in the interview, his 247Sports interest list also features Oregon, UCLA and USC, though he hasn't received offers from them yet.
His thoughts on the matter?
"I thought I was close to USC and UCLA before spring," he said. "I think if I perform in my senior year they both will (offer) because we remain in close contact. Oregon, I'm not sure about. They expressed interest in me because I took an unofficial there. They told me to come to their spring game, but since then we haven't really talked that much."
Downs said that he hoped to receive offers from UCLA and USC, and added Notre Dame into that group, citing, of course, the education he could receive and the Fighting Irish's football prowess.
The conversation then turned to Cal, which has offered him a scholarship. Downs talked about the beauty of the campus and his interaction with running backs coach Pierre Ingram. "I spent a lot of time with Coach Ingram, and he told me their plans for me," Downs said. "I really liked what I heard."
Downs confirmed via a text message that Cal is recruiting him as a running back. 247Sports ranks him as an athlete and outside linebacker, but Rivals.com does rank him as a running back.
As far as visits are concerned, he thinks he'll be visiting Washington State this summer. Downs is the No. 2 player from the state of Washington, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Does he have thoughts on when he'd like to commit?
"Right now the plan is for me to commit at the Army game," he said, referring to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio,Texas, on Saturday, Jan. 4. "But if something that I can't pass up comes my way, if I feel like I need to commit earlier, I will."