January 7, 2008

Stevens down to three

The recruiting process is nearing an end for Hemet High School star Hamani Stevens, a Rivals250 member who is the No. 1 ranked offensive center prospect nationally and No. 19 overall recruit in California.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder has one more official visit to take, set for this weekend, and soon thereafter he'll decide which of the three finalists will secure his future services.

Stevens will be tripping to BYU on Jan 11, and he plans to announce his intentions within a couple weeks of that trip, most likely at the Jan. 26 Southern California Bowl for regional high school prospects.

He is now focused on just three schools: Arizona State, BYU and Oregon.

"Right now it's looking like just those three and once I take this last visit I'll sit down with my family and weigh all the pros and cons of each school and decide," Stevens said.

For months, internet reports have indicated that Oregon is leading for Stevens, but he said that is currently not the case.

"I would say Oregon and ASU are at the same level and BYU could be there too, we'll see after my visit," Stevens said.

"Oregon is a good football program with a lot of talent and stability with coach (Mike) Bellotti. ASU is an up and coming program that had a great season and they have a lot of guys coming back and should continue to do good things. At BYU this is a family tie, my brother went there. It's a good solid program."

Stevens said the dead period over the holidays gave him a chance to do a lot of thinking about and research on the three schools and their respective programs. His decision will ultimately be based on his level of confidence in the coaching staff, the family atmosphere at the school and how good the football program has been and can be into the coming years.

"Location doesn't matter and the weather doesn't matter either," he said. "I just want to find the best fit for me with football and school and overall life."

Stevens is being recruited to play offensive center by ASU safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick.

"He came (for an in-home) to visit last month and we just had a good time talking. We had a little dinner and he's always had a lot of good things to say about the program and what type of player they think I can be for them and [beyond]."

Although Stevens is of LDS faith, he said that all three schools he is considering have told him that if he decides to go on a church mission, it would be fine with them, and he said it will not impact his decision. He currently has not decided if he will go on a mission, but if he did it would be right after high school.

Overall, Stevens said he's enjoyed the recruiting process, as all of the coaches he's interacted with have been enjoyable to speak with.

"It's been great actually," Stevens said. "My older brother went through the process and I learned a lot from him. He had a lot of good tips. So I haven't been stressed out about it or anything."

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