There was never much doubt that Wilde Lake High School linebacker Brent Guyton was going to the big-time collegiate football program of his choice.
During his senior season, one major college football coach after another came to his home and lavishly praised The Baltimore Sun's Defensive Player of the Year.
"A lot of the coaches who came through told me I'm the best in the area this year," Guyton said last night after making an oral commitment to attend UCLA in the fall. "It's a compliment."
Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall went a little further than the college coaches in his assessment of Guyton, 6 feet 2, 215 pounds, who led the Wildecats to a 37-2 record in three seasons as a starter.
"He could be the best ever to come out of the area," DuVall said yesterday. "I think he'll play in the NFL someday. I rate him with Jamal Cox, who came out of Gilman last year and started as a freshman for Georgia Tech."
Guyton, who had 247 total tackles his senior year, said UCLA coach Terry Donahue told him: "I'll take you as the only linebacker we sign this year if you sign with us."
Guyton said he believed Donahue's pitch because "everybody [in the UCLA football program] is like one big family like we are at Wilde Lake."
Guyton had five schools on his final list: Syracuse, Penn State, Miami, UCLA and Michigan State.
He said he chose UCLA because the "linebacker situation was good there for me, and I liked the coaches, the school and the weather. I felt comfortable out there."
Not hurting the UCLA cause was that Guyton's sister, Remi, is a junior at the school and his uncle lives in Los Angeles.
"But I would have gone there even if they hadn't been out there," he said.
So what makes Guyton such a hot commodity?
"He has great field presence, speed and can hit," said DuVall. "He helped us win two state championships [2A and 1A] and we lost only two games in the three years he started."
Guyton said his success has come from being "real intelligent on the field." But he said it didn't come without a lot of work.
"I study film a lot and the plays," he said. "I decided to concentrate on football after my sophomore year at Wilde Lake. I gave up basketball even though I made the all-star team at the Five-Star basketball camp in Pittsburgh and the varsity at Wilde Lake my sophomore year."
According to Guyton, he was able to work on his time in the 40 after giving up basketball and dropped his time to 4.65 seconds.
He said he gave up basketball for a full-time football commitment because he probably would have only received a basketball scholarship to a Division II school as opposed to a football scholarship to a top-flight Division I-A program.
The decision to give up basketball wasn't too tough for Guyton because he said he has always loved football first and basketball second.
But it wasn't the same story for Wilde Lake basketball coach Paul Ellis, who received a lot of calls from college basketball coaches who wondered what happened to the hot shot from Five-Star camp.
"He was disappointed when the calls came in from the basketball coaches," said Guyton.
Now it's on to UCLA -- he will make it official Feb. 5 when he signs a national letter of intent -- for football, where Guyton said he plans to redshirt his first year and start as a redshirt freshman.
"I could go out and make the travel squad my first year," he said. "But I plan on redshirting as a freshman. It's probably best for my academics. I'm going to major in business."