National signing day went pretty much as expected for dozens of East Bay athletes -- with one exception.

After originally committing to Utah in October, El Cerrito cornerback Marcellus Pippins made a last-minute choice to sign with Washington State instead.

Pippins took an official visit to Pullman late last month and decommitted from Utah last week.

"Why not take another one to see if I was making the right decision," Pippins said about his reasoning for the trip to Washington State. "What really attracted me was the people at the school, the players. ... It felt like a college town. It's a growing program, so I felt like a great contributor there."

After he returned from Pullman, Pippins said that Utah asked him to grayshirt.

From left, football players D.J. Moffitt, UNLV, Austin Hooper, Stanford, Michael Hutchings, USC, Xavier Banks, Southern Oregon, and soccer player Andrew
From left, football players D.J. Moffitt, UNLV, Austin Hooper, Stanford, Michael Hutchings, USC, Xavier Banks, Southern Oregon, and soccer player Andrew Konstantino, Saint Mary's College, wait to begin the signing ceremony at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. It was national signing day for high school student athletes making a commitment to attend specific universities. (Dan Honda/Staff) (Dan Honda)

"I didn't like that too much," said Pippins, who added that he committed to Washington State on Saturday.

Meanwhile, four-star prospects Michael Hutchings and Darrell Daniels stayed true to the college choices they made last summer.

Hutchings, a linebacker from De La Salle, inked his letter of intent with USC, and Daniels, the most heralded football recruit in Freedom history, made his decision to attend Washington official.

"Everyone has their second thoughts in the beginning, but I just stuck with my commitment," said Daniels, who will play wide receiver for the Huskies. "I just thought it was a great fit and great opportunity, and I feel great about my decision."


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Hutchings didn't waver from his pick, even after the Trojans failed to meet expectations on the field, then lost their defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in the offseason.

"(USC) did have a rougher season than expected," Hutchings said. "I second-guessed a little bit, but after sitting down with the coaches and with my parents again it was an easy decision and why I chose the school in the first place. It's just a great combination of academics and athletics."

In all, five players from a defense that keyed De La Salle to an Open Division state championship signed with four-year schools.

Austin Hooper heads to Stanford and linebacker D.J. Moffitt will likely grayshirt at UNLV. Defensive end/linebacker Victor Egu turned down scholarship offers from several Pac-12 schools to play at Yale, and defensive tackle Xavier Banks is bound for Southern Oregon, an NAIA school.

Hooper will play tight end at Stanford, though most schools recruited him at defensive end.

"It was the school and the program more than anything," Hooper said. "The school is the best one in the Pac-12 (academically) and has the Pac-12 championship. With the best school and best football it couldn't be too wrong of a decision."

James Logan's Warren Miles Long, who earned East Bay Player of the Year honors as a two-way standout, made his commitment to Northwestern official. He's expected to play running back in college.

Ten East Bay football players signed with Pac-12 schools.

Cal landed a solid local haul that includes defensive end Takkarist McKinley (Kennedy-Richmond), tight end Ray Hudson (Foothill) and wide receiver Caleb Coleman (St. Mary's). Kicker Matt Anderson (San Ramon Valley) graduated early and already has enrolled at Cal.

McKinley, who is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds and one of the state's top sprinters, orally committed to Cal last summer but explored his options after coach Jeff Tedford was fired.

He took an official visit to Washington State last month but ultimately decided to stay local.

"It's been stressful, real stressful. I'm so glad signing day is done with, but it was worth it in the end," McKinley said.

Hudson said when he took his official visit to Cal on Jan. 25, he mainly wanted to get to know new coach Sonny Dykes and the other members of the Bears' coaching staff.

Hudson was excited once Dykes told him how he would be utilized in Cal's up-tempo offense.

"I was not promised anything, but if I come in there, keep playing, keep working, there's a good shot I could play as a true freshman," Hudson said.

Bishop O'Dowd defensive back Kevin King (Washington) and San Ramon Valley linebacker Ryan Dunn (Arizona) are also bound for the Pac-12.

Olito Thompson, a running back from Concord, had committed to Washington State but didn't sign Wednesday. He still needs to go through the NCAA clearinghouse.

Clayton Valley's Joe Protheroe, the East Bay Offensive Player of the Year who rushed for more than 3,000 yards this season, signed with Cal Poly. Freedom's Dante Mayes signed with Nevada on Wednesday and is thrilled to play in the Wolf Pack's pistol offense.

Online extras
For more signing day coverage, visit www.contracostatimes.com/high-school-sports, www.insidebayarea.com/high-school-sports or the East Bay Prep Corner blog at www.ibabuzz.com/prepcorner