Ten months ago, A.J. Greeley gave an oral commitment to play football at Fresno State.
But it wasn’t until Tuesday night — a couple of hours after speaking with a coach from a Power 5 Conference program — that the Edison High cornerback made up his mind.
Less than 12 hours after telling an Arizona State assistant he was considering joining the Sun Devils, the three-star recruit stayed true to his initial commitment and signed with Fresno State on National Signing Day.
“My ultimate choice was Fresno State,” Greeley said Wednesday. “I had bigger schools coming after me. But I had to think about my environment, where I really wanted to be and which school I connected with most.”
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Greeley will start off with the Bulldogs as a cornerback. He’s projected by some to be Fresno State’s top 2015 recruit outside of three-star quarterback Chason Virgil of West Mesquite High in Texas.
“I was happy about my decision, real happy,” Greeley said. “It took me a while to make it official, but it was easy picking Fresno State.”
Still, the months between Greeley initially committing and finally signing with Fresno State included some drama, some of it orchestrated by Greeley. Internet rumors swirled that he had de-committed from Fresno State to entertain offers from the likes of Pac-12 teams Arizona State, Oregon State, Utah and Washington.
Greeley received backlash on social media, as well as welcoming greetings from fans of the different schools.
Fresno State coaches grew concerned, too, fully aware of the common recruiting occurrence of players flipping on non-binding oral commitments.
“A lot of times, we use the word ‘commitment’ a little different than some recruits do,” Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter said. “A commitment to some of those guys means ‘I’m placing a reservation here.’ ”
Said Greeley: “Fresno State knew I was always going there; I was just having some fun.”
Even during Edison’s National Signing Day ceremony where Greeley and other Tigers players publicly revealed which university they’d selected, he pretended to waver a bit more — putting on an Oregon State hat with a big grin and drawing applause from some classmates and teachers while confusing others who had been informed he signed in the morning with Fresno State.
Greeley then took off the Oregon State hat for a red Fresno State hat and professed his allegiance to the Bulldogs.
“The process was hard in the beginning,” Greeley said. “After I committed to Fresno State, Arizona State and Oregon State started recruiting me hard. Oklahoma started showing interest.
“Arizona State was my team growing up. They were the first team to offer me back in my sophomore year. But at some point, they stopped recruiting me. Then a couple of days before Signing Day when they knew I was going to choose Fresno State, they wanted to recruit me hard again.”
Greeley added that he didn’t like that at all: “If they wanted me so bad, they would’ve kept showing me that they wanted me,” he said. “Fresno State always was on me. It made sense to me to go to Fresno State.”
DeRuyter said Greeley could be an impact player down the line, if not sooner. But mostly, DeRuyter was impressed with Greeley sticking to his initial commitment.
“He’s a tremendous talent,” DeRuyter said. “A.J. certainly was somebody who stood by his word. We’re really happy to have him and his family part of our family.”