Hinder chooses California

Local football player verbally commits to west coast university

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Steamboat Springs High School junior quarterback Austin Hinder verbally committed to the University of California-Berkeley on Monday.

Hinder, who had narrowed his list of schools to Cal, UCLA and the University of Notre Dame, said after sitting on the decision during the weekend, he knew Cal was where his heart was.

"I just decided I wanted to get it over with," Hinder said. "Once I did, it was the way to go for me. It just was the day. I said 'what am I waiting for? I need to get this done.'"

Hinder spurned offers from some of the top programs in the nation. The 6-foot-5 Hinder said a big part of his commitment was his ties to the Cal program.

His grandfather, Jim Hanifan, played and coached at Cal before entering the program's Hall of Fame.

Hinder - listed as the second-ranked quarterback and No. 84 prospect overall by www.rivals.com - also said Cal coach Jeff Tedford played a big role in him committing.

Before his junior season, Tedford watched Hinder throw and became the first coach to offer him a scholarship.

Tedford has an extensive resume with quarterbacks, including making five of his pupils into first-round NFL draft picks.

"It's the way he puts things," Hinder said. "I sat in a meeting with him and it's how he teaches his quarterbacks such a complicated offense. He makes it easy. He's definitely a guy that can make a quarterback successful."

The toughest part for Hinder was telling the other schools that had offered scholarships that he wouldn't be attending their school. He said he spent the past couple of days calling coaches and telling them about his decision.

"I just called up other coaches and told them I wasn't going to their school," Hinder said. "It was the hardest part. You build a relationship with them and then you have to tell them."

Hinder said he's now focused on finishing high school and working out with high school teammates throughout the summer. He said he'll take one official visit to Cal later this year but emphasized his recruiting is officially done.

"Cal is always a top-25 school," Hinder said. "You have a chance to win a national championship while getting a great degree. Plus you get to play (University of Southern California) : It's 100 percent. I'm definitely going to Cal. I'm done. I'm going to Cal."

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