The UCLA Bruins may already have had seven commitments along the offensive line, but that didn't stop 2013 Katy (TX) Seven Lakes offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch from announcing for the Bruins in a Monday ceremony at his high school.
There were no hat games for the 6-6, 320-pounder, who chose the Bruins over his other three finalists -- Baylor, Oklahoma, and Texas.
More than all the other commits along the line, the decision from Benenoch was a little bit surprising because he had only made one visit out to California to visit the Bruins. Though it is hardly an absolute fact in recruiting, prospects that have made multiple visits to schools are generally more likely to commit to those schools than a school they have only visited once on an official visit.
In the end, though, UCLA simply stood out above the rest ($) for Benenoch:
I bought into everything they're doing up there. For me, personally, it came down to if football wasn't involved at all and I was going to have to be at that school, where would I go? That's what made me decide.
The late surge from the Bruins landed the Seven Lakes product, who had committed to Michigan State in March before opening up his recruitment again in June. Offers from Texas and Oklahoma followed after he performed well in camp settings and the Longhorns led throughout most of the time between the offer and Benenoch's announcement.
Texas was the childhood favorite for Benenoch, but there were rumors that the Longhorns had backed off in recent weeks after telling Waco (TX) lineman Andrew Billings that he is the top high school target along the offensive line. However, Benenoch had denied those rumors and Texas area recruiter Major Applewhite had recently been by the school.
In any case, the recent struggles for Texas may have played a role for Benenoch:
It surprised me a little bit since, for a long time, it was about me trying to see what schools could compete with Texas. But the more I looked at it and the vibe I got, it just wasn't where I wanted to be.
And, in fact, it was Benenoch who told the Longhorns that he was no longer interested in going to Texas.
As for Oklahoma, the Sooners had fallen behind due to Benenoch's emphasis on quality of education. It's another big loss for Oklahoma in a class that has been full of them.
The Bears had a chance in recent weeks, having received the final visit from Benenoch and having the advantage of Benenoch's older brother on campus.
But the final visit wasn't the difference-maker, as Benenoch had already decided to commit to UCLA after his visit.
With senior guard Jeff Baca graduating, the athletic but raw prospect is hoping to compete for a starting job immediately.