Aldine (Texas) Eisenhower safety Craig Loston is the best defensive back in the Lone Star State for 2009, and his growing list of scholarship offers supports that title.
At 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, Loston is a hard hitting safety who can cover like a cornerback. Those skills made Loston district 19-5A Defensive Player of the Year.
Just one of many honors for the four-star safety, who holds written scholarship offers from the likes of Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Miami.
And while USC had been in contact with Loston for months, Friday was the day the Trojans officially entered the race for the nation's No. 30 ranked player for 2009.
"I called up coach (Norton) to see what he was doing, and he said that today was a special day," said Loston. "He said that I was a hard guy to catch up with, so we talked for a little while. He said that they had offered Russell (Shepard) on Wednesday, and that today they decide to offer me."
Shepard, rated as a five-star athlete for 2009, is Loston's cousin. While Shepard spoke in-depth about his scholarship offer from USC, Loston is keeping his thoughts about the recruiting process to himself.
"It was just something new for me," said Loston. "I'm interested in USC, but I'm still open with recruiting. I have my pick of schools, so now USC is one of those schools I can compare with the others."
At this point, Loston's interest in USC evolves around a single factor.
"I like their tradition of winning," said Loston. "I haven't been down there yet, so I can't really get too specific."
Brief and to the point, Loston has already had his share of trails and tribulations with the recruiting process. Last year, he made an early commitment to Texas A&M with teammate Rod Davis.
However, after Aggie head coach, Dennis Franchione, was forced to resign in wake of a recruiting scandal, Loston de-committed.
"I liked everything about the coaches and the players at Texas A&M, but I had to open things back up," said Loston. "The Franchione thing with the e-mails was something I had to look at.
"I don't see myself going to a school that has anything to do with any type of violation with the NCAA. That made me kind of back off A&M."
Any scrutiny that resulted from his de-commitment went unnoticed.
"I didn't feel like I was being criticized for it, but honestly, I don't know what people thought," said Loston. "I really didn't care."
With his eye on graduating from high school in December, Loston wants to make his final decision on a college before September.
"I'm going to get some top schools together pretty soon an just talk to them," said Loston. "Then, before the season starts, I'll commit to the school I want to go to."
While Shepard and Loston share many of the same scholarship offers, the two cousins haven't discussed going to USC together.
"We've talk about recruiting, but not recently," said Loston. "Last time we spoke about it was before we played each other last season in the playoffs. It was just a general conversation."
Which is to say, Loston and Shepard haven't spoken about recruiting since Cypress Ridge beat Eisenhower in the 5A state playoffs, 35-28.
"To me, it wasn't a big deal," said Loston of the game. "We played each other in little league, but when you get older things change. I know how my teammates can play, so I wasn't really worried about it.
"Our offense got started kind of late in the game, so we weren't able to come back. We ended up losing by one touchdown. We ran out of time on the 1-yard line. But (Russell) isn't bragging because he knows what was supposed to happen."
With Cy-Ridge and Eisenhower in different playoff brackets this year, Loston may only get the last laugh if both teams make it to the state championship. After last year's finish, recruiting fans can only hope that happens.
USCFootball.com will continue to bring you the latest on Craig Loston throughout the spring.
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