The Bruins got their man. Longtime target Priest Willis from Tempe (AZ) Marcos De Niza committed to UCLA on Wednesday to not only end a courtship that’s been taking place for quite some time now, but also give coach Jim Mora & Co. a signature recruit for the Class of 2013.
There were plenty of potential suitors for Willis. And it comes as little, or no, surprise considering the 6-foot-2 and 200-pound cornerback is one of the nation’s premier prospects. In the 247Sports Composite Rankings, he is No. 6 in the country at cornerback and No. 39 overall.
Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Texas were among the powerhouse programs that expressed varied levels of interested in Willis in the not so distant past. A bit closer to home, seemingly every Pac-12 Conference school put a scholarship offer on the table for him.
Apparently, there was something about Westwood that stood out for Willis. Also worth noting is the fact that LSU and Arizona State were among the finalists for his services.
A bit earlier in the afternoon, his friend and fellow senior defensive back Tahaan Goodman from Rancho Cucamonga (CA) committed to the Bruins. The decision was a sign of good things to come. Then again, Willis and Goodman figured to end up at the same school. It was a no-brainer.
UCLA has done a good job of assembling of a well-rounded group of players during this recruiting cycle, make no mistake about it. You can’t knock the hustle of the coaching staff.
With Willis in the mix, the Bruins are in business. So much so, in fact, they will likely go from a program in the middle of the pack, in terms of team rankings, to a unit that must now be considered one of the country’s best around. The impact of the Willis commitment is undeniable.
Click here for some highlights of the press conference that Willis held.
Sean Ceglinsky has covered prep and college sports on the West Coast for the better part of the past 15-plus years. Follow him on twitter: @SeanCeglinsky