LOS ANGELES — Dillon Sterling-Cole looked to his left, then his right. He was surrounded by committed quarterbacks at the Elite 11 semifinals.
There were 30 quarterbacks on the USC campus showing the skills that make them among the best in the country. Of the 30, 28 had solidified their college plans.
The two uncommitted: Georgia 4-star Jawon Pass and Sterling-Cole, a 3-star, pro-style quarterback from Houston and someone who earned an invite to the Elite 11 finals in March.
An intimidating situation for Sterling-Cole? Hardly. In fact, he took time out over the weekend to have a little fun with the masses regarding his recruiting status.
Truth is, Sterling-Cole still has a top eight, which he tweeted last week, of Arizona State, Boise State Florida, Houston, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, UCLA and Washington. Nothing has changed, and he's not expecting anything to change any time soon.
"There's no pressure for me, no pressure at all," Sterling-Cole said. "I'm just doing me. Everybody has thoughts of why I hadn't committed. I take whatever they say into consideration, but I just take the good out of it."
Sterling-Cole took a step in the direction of a verbal commitment Monday, as he visited the UCLA campus. He said he got some valuable time in with head coach Jim Mora as well as offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone.
"I had a great time there," he said. "It's a beautiful campus; they have a rich tradition in winning championships in all sports. I really hit it off with a few coaches on staff. They were really straightforward with me, which was good.
"I got a chance to sit down with Coach Mora and both Mazzones and kind of speak beyond the X's and O's, like the academic and business aspect of things. It really was a great experience not only for me but for my mother, stepfather and father."
Over the weekend, Sterling-Cole called this week "a business trip." Saturday and Sunday, he was at the Elite 11 semifinals, and Monday, he was at UCLA. On Tuesday, Sterling-Cole and his family hopped on a plane to Arizona for a campus visit to Arizona State.
Sterling-Cole said he's looking for a place that offers solid coach-to-player relationships, and he wants to be at a school that truly wants him. Playing time is a factor, as well, as he wants to compete for a starting job immediately, but staff relationship and being at a spot where he is most comfortable living will be the primary factors in his final decision.
The two schools many feel are in the driver's seat are Houston and Texas A&M. With Houston, the campus is minutes away from home, and with the in-city defensive tackle commitments of 5-star Ed Oliver and 4-star Jordan Elliott, the Cougars believe they can build a strong class featuring players literally within a 20-minute radius.
Although Houston has a solid quarterback pledge in 3-star Bowman Sells, Sterling-Cole can come in and compete for a starting job. Sterling-Cole is relying on the tutelage learned through Elite 11 experiences and what he'll learn at the Elite 11 finals in Oregon next month to help give him an edge as he enters his senior year and prepares for college.
And then, there's Texas A&M. Sterling-Cole's father is Chris Cole, a former receiver for the Aggies who went on to play with the Denver Broncos in the NFL as well as see time in the CFL. Texas A&M fans are hoping to have Sterling-Cole follow his father's footsteps—and the quarterback said it's a question he has to answer every day.
It doesn't make matters easier for Sterling-Cole knowing that the Aggies currently have 11 commits but still are looking to land a quarterback pledge.
"I think about it daily. My dad and I talk about it all the time," Sterling-Cole said. "I'm just enjoying the process right now. I know A&M is a great place to be, but at the end of the day, it's going to be my decision."
After Tuesday, Sterling-Cole said he has one more scheduled unofficial visit to Florida on June 16. After that, he said he will prepare for the Elite 11 finals. If anything, next month's trek to Oregon will be an extension of what he went through in Los Angeles—and he's excited about it.
"It's all been great, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "You get to not only showcase your talent but also learn a lot as a player and a young man."
Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles