DANVILLE — With two parents who attended Cal, Monte Vista High football player Drew McAllister grew up a dyed-in-the-wool fan of Golden Bears football.

But, when faced with the choice of where to continue his football career, not even a childhood full of Saturdays spent cheering in Strawberry Canyon could sway him from the allure of the bright lights of Los Angeles.

McAllister said Monday that he has orally committed to play at USC. He said that he chose the Trojans from a final list that came down to USC and Cal, and said that he informed USC coach Pete Carroll of his decision on Sunday night.

"Both my parents went to Cal, and my dad played at Cal," McAllister said. "I have a lot of family in Los Angeles. Both my aunts, both my grandparents, both my godparents live there, so it's an area I'm familiar with. I like the school, I like the coaches and the way they coach, and their enthusiasm."

McAllister was already a top recruit as a quarterback, but said that he intends on playing safety at USC. McAllister said he decided to make the switch after several schools started looking at him more as a pure athlete than a quarterback in camps.

"A couple of the schools and Cal and USC were looking at me and wondering if I could play defense," McAllister said. "I decided to make the switch when they started looking at me at that position."

As a quarterback, McAllister has put up impressive numbers in just three years at Monte Vista. In his junior season alone, McAllister completed 156 of 260 passes for 2,119 yards and 21 touchdowns. He was intercepted 11 times. McAllister was named as the first-team all-EBAL quarterback as a sophomore and was second team as a junior.

"He's a Division I quarterback if that's what he decided to do," Monte Vista coach Craig Bergman said. "Is he a Division I quarterback at USC? I don't know. I think it's a perfect place for him to go. He knows he's our quarterback, and he knows we're only going to go as far as he takes us."

Had he joined the Trojans as a quarterback, McAllister would have had to compete with a potential group of quarterbacks in 2008 that should include former Mission Viejo quarterback Mark Sanchez and Arkansas transfer Mitch Mustain.

"He's got such a good head on his shoulders that there's not much you need to do other than be a sounding board," Bergman said. "I thought he did a good job evaluating what he had."

Both Bergman and McAllister said without hesitation that the senior will continue to play quarterback for the Mustangs this fall. They both added that he will begin to work more in the defensive backfield than he has in the past. As a junior, McAllister played sparingly at cornerback, and shifting to safety will be a new experience.

"I'm going to go both ways, and we're going to make it work, but I'm still the guy under center," McAllister said. "Coach (Bergman) is very understanding and very supportive."

Bergman said that there will be times when McAllister is strictly a quarterback but added that having one of his best athletes go both ways certainly isn't a bad thing.