After spending much of 2015 committed to USC, Mique Juarez is set to play college football in Los Angeles after all. He's just going to do it at UCLA, having committed to the Bruins and head coach Jim Mora Jr. on National Signing Day.
Juarez is a fleet outside linebacker from North High School in Torrance who stands 6'2 and weighs 225 pounds. On the field, he's the sort of versatile player UCLA might use to replace NFL-bound Myles Jack, a menace to runners and receivers alike. Certainly, the Bruins could use a player like that right now. After holding opponents under 200 rushing yards in the first three games of the season, UCLA lost Jack to a season-ending knee injury, and gave up more than 300 yards on the ground three times, finishing the season ranked No. 98 in rush defense.
Juarez isn't a consensus five-star recruit, but he's close, and does merit a five-star rating in the 247Sports Composite. Rivals and Scout each consider Juarez a five-star recruit and a top-10 player in this 2016 class, but 247Sports and ESPN see him as a four-star player, merely within America's top 40. Juarez also participated in the U.S. Army All-American Game on January 6.
Juarez committed to USC in January 2015, and had plenty of pursuers when he decommitted from the Trojans in the wake of Steve Sarkisian's firing in October. He visited Ole Miss, Oklahoma, and Washington in the fall, then visited Alabama and UCLA this January. He also held offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oregon.
Watching this highlight reel of his top 10 plays as a high schooler, you can understand why.
You can follow Juarez's journey to Westwood on Twitter at @miquejuarez3.