Berkeley High football player Michael Lazarus experienced a feeling earlier this year that many recruits can understand -- the joy of a first offer.
"I was at work at Berkeley Bowl," Lazarus said. "At first when (Cal defensive coordinator Andy Buh) called me, all I heard was Cal. I got stuck and kind of lost. It felt like a joke, like someone was playing me on the phone.
"He said he wanted to offer me a scholarship. As soon as I heard that, a whole new world went through my head. I felt great."
Lazarus, a three-star inside linebacker according to Rivals.com, has had five more offers besides that one, including from Arizona State and Washington State. He is a member of a top-notch senior football class in the East Bay this season, experiencing a recruiting process that remains traditional in some ways but is evolving in others.
Through social media, players can quickly share their college decisions and interact with fans all over the country. It seems fans everywhere know a lot about a player before they even arrive on a college campus.
Freedom running back Joe Mixon -- a five-star recruit out of a possible five -- is the undisputed social media king in the East Bay. Mixon, the No. 10 overall recruit in the country according to Rivals, has tweeted nearly 23,000 times and has more than 6,000 followers.
He had everyone's attention on Monday as he announced his top five college choices in no particular order -- Florida, Cal, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Oregon -- on Twitter. He did the same for his top 10 picks earlier this month.
"I already know that people follow me and look at everything I do and say on there, but at the same time, I write to have fun," Mixon said about his use of Twitter. "I interact with a lot of people on there, but I watch what I say."
Lazarus also is careful about how he uses social media.
"I don't necessarily throw my ideas around. I want to keep my recruitment to myself and my family," he said.
Yet, social media has played a big role in Lazarus' recruitment process.
"I don't think I would be where I'm at without it," he said. "You can be connected with everything. I wouldn't have known about camps my sophomore year, seeing the big seniors ahead of me."
Players can also easily reach out to other players across the country through social media. "It's just a good way to connect with others and socialize," Lazarus said.
El Cerrito has two players who have orally committed to Pac-12 universities -- outside linebacker D.J. Calhoun to USC and wide receiver Jalen Harvey to Cal. Gauchos cornerback Adarius Pickett is another coveted recruit.
De La Salle has three players who are Division I-bound in cornerback Kevin Griffin to Washington State, defensive end Sumner Houston to Oregon State and safety/linebacker/running back Dasmond Tautalatasi to Arizona State. Others, such as senior lineman Larry Allen III and junior Khalil McKenzie, are assuredly on that road, and this list certainly isn't exhaustive regarding the talent in the East Bay.
Of course, social media also can be used by college coaches to reach out to recruits, although the NCAA Division I board of directors in May suspended rule changes passed in January that would have allowed unlimited electronic communication -- including text messaging -- from college coaches to football recruits.
"Through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, I've been contacted by a number of coaches," Pickett said. "I have 21 offers right now, so it's going pretty well."
Harvey made his oral commitment to Cal by phone on April 16, well before the summer camps.
"The recruiting process was fine, but at the same time, I don't like being in the spotlight," Harvey said. "Plus I wanted to stay close to home. No reason for me to go that far."
Pickett, on the other hand, is waiting to make a decision.
"I'm going to be looking for the best fit for me overall, academically and football-wise, how I fit in with the players and the coaches. That's why I'm kind of taking my time right now," said Pickett, who is visiting UCLA this Saturday and plans to take a trip to USC soon.
Mixon, Lazarus, Pickett and Harvey don't have horror stories about recruiters.
They agree that overall, the recruiting process has been positive.
"To be honest, it's all in my favor," Mixon said. "I do what's best for me and try to make the right choices, college-wise. I try not to worry about it too much."
"I'm having fun with it," Pickett said. "I'm enjoying the process."