Bud Elliott, SB Nation
Top safety prospect Priest Willis needed a few days, but his commitment never wavered: he's officially inked to join a bunch of strong secondary players at UCLA.
After some signing day drama turned into signing day non-drama, elite safety prospect Priest Willis has finally signed with the UCLA Bruins' top-10 recruiting class.
Willis scared some UCLA supporters with the news that he wouldn't be signing to the Bruins on Signing Day. A modest amount of panic ensued: was he headed to LSU? Was he a signing day surprise? Would Lane Kiffin steal him?
No, it turned out: his mom was just out of town on a work assignment, and he wanted to wait until she got back to sign his letter of intent. He even showed up at his school's signing ceremony in UCLA gear just to let everybody know he was still headed to Jim Mora's squad:
Priest Willis has arrived at the Doubletree Hotel for Decision Day 2013.. Check out his outfit: twitter.com/InnaLazarev/st…— Inna Lazarev (@InnaLazarev) February 6, 2013
The Tempe, Ariz. native is ranked as a five-star cornerback by Scout, but most services project him as developing the size to move to safety, since he's already considered to have the tackling ability to handle the position. Here's what SB Nation's recruiting expert Bud Elliott had to say while scouting Willis and others at the Opening.
The uncommitted Arizona recruit was playing out of position in the slot, but did show off nice physicality. His change of direction was also impressive for a corner of his size.
The Under Armour All-American had visited schools such as Virginia, Nebraska, Florida State, and LSU, but had always been considered likely to go to UCLA. Willis had discussed the idea of going to school together with his friend Tahaan Goodman, also a four-star safety. So when the pair coordinated announcements on the same day, it seemed like both would go to UCLA. Sure enough, everything fell into place: first, Goodman committed, then, later, Willis followed suit. Needless to say, the development was well received by the crew at Bruins Nation.
Willis and Goodman aren't the only elite secondary prospects coming into UCLA: they're joined by Tyler Foreman, another four-star safety, and Johnny Johnson, a four-star at cornerback. They'll be needed: the Bruins graduate three of four starters in their secondary, including both cornerbacks and starting safety Andrew Abbott. Besides that, many of their backups were freshmen this past season, meaning that Willis, Goodman, Foreman, and Johnson will likely have opportunity to contribute off the bat.
Ratings: Scout, five stars (No. 4 cornerback), Rivals, four stars (No. 6 safety, No. 56 nationally), ESPN, four stars (No. 5 safety, No. 59 nationally)
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, 4.42 40
Other offers: USC, Virginia, Nebraska, LSU
Twitter: Willis tweets at @Pwillisjr3.
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