ATWATER — Aaron Cochran showed up to the Buhach Colony-Atwater girls basketball game on Tuesday night wearing a Cal beanie.
The Buhach Colony senior will be wearing plenty of more Golden Bear gear in the near future after Cochran verbally committed to accept a football scholarship from Cal this week.
The 6-foot-8, 350-pound offensive lineman phoned other schools on Monday to let them know of his decision.
"That was hard," Cochran said. "I didn't want to do it, but I knew I had to. I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to disappoint people."
"I was surprised that all the other coaches understood and thanked me for being up front with them."
For Cochran, it came down to Cal, Oklahoma and Nebraska.
The Sooners actually were at the top of Cochran's list until Cal made the coaching change. Cochran felt an instant connection to Cal's new head coach, Sonny Dykes, and his staff.
"I felt the old coaching staff at Cal felt like they owed their seniors and I wouldn't get a fair shot right away," Cochran said. "I would have to wait my turn, even if I was better. I'm not saying I'm better.
"The new staff seemed like nice, genuine people. They're from the South and I'm from the South. I know Berkeley better than they do."
Cochran spent nine years in Alabama and four in Texas before moving with his family to Atwater.
Cochran joins his older brother, Matthew, at Cal, but he says that didn't factor in his decision.
"He told me to do what I want to do," Aaron said. "He told me this has to be the most selfish decision I have to make. He told me don't go anywhere but where you want to go.
"I know what the football team at Cal is capable of and it's something I want to be part of."
Cochran officially will sign his national letter of intent on Feb. 6.