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Football prospect Arlis Boardingham eager to meet with USC’s Lincoln Riley

Arlis Boardingham of Birmingham leaps to catch touchdown pass against San Pedro.
Arlis Boardingham of Birmingham leaps to catch touchdown pass on Saturday night against San Pedro.
(Craig Weston)

Arlis Boardingham, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound senior at Lake Balboa Birmingham, just led his team to the City Section Open Division football championship on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, the undecided college prospect was informed by USC recruiters that a new coach would be announced, but they didn’t know his name.

Then came word Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is the new USC coach.

“My initial reaction was shock,” he said. “My next reaction was what’s going to happen and thinking about my decision. There’s going to be a lot of confusion for people. Those SoCal kids committed to Oklahoma, those who decommitted from USC. It’s a blur for me right now.”

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley already has made inroads in Southern California football recruiting, which should help him bolster USC’s talent pool.

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Boardingham has purposely taken his time in deciding on a college, electing not to make an early commitment because of exactly what’s transpiring in college football — the annual coaching changes. It has left him with options and opportunities.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I felt waiting was the best decision viewing my options. It always gets hectic around here and I seem to be correct.”

Boardingham made it clear his decision won’t be just about who the head coach is. He’s interested in building relationships and understanding where a program is headed. He’s also being pursued by Notre Dame and Texas and still hasn’t limited his list to five schools, though USC has certainly moved up.

“When I got informed, my mom was a bit shocked,” he said. “My dad was a bit shocked. The first thing they were telling me is we have to take a deeper look into USC. I was already invested.”

Boardingham was being wooed by the current USC coaching staff. He has to see if the incoming staff will also view him favorably and what position they want him to play.

Patience and a well-timed recruiting pitch helped USC lure Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma, sending shockwaves through the college football world.

Boardingham is the likely City Section player of the year. He caught two touchdown passes in a 24-14 win over San Pedro. He’s also a standout on defense, playing middle linebacker this season after previously playing defensive end. USC was recruiting him as a linebacker.

His coach, Jim Rose, said, “It took him three years to want to do it. Now he doesn’t want to play defensive end.”

Boardingham is hoping he can visit USC and meet with Riley to see about building a relationship, allowing Riley “to see the type of person I am.”

Another prospect, Santa Ana Mater Dei running back Raleek Brown, has been committed to Oklahoma but could end up at USC.


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