One of the surprises on National Signing Day for the UCLA Bruins was in who didn’t sign with them as much as who did. Yes, Eddie Vanderdoes ended up signing with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but safety Priest Willis was a more surprising non-committal on Wednesday leaving many to speculate on the safety’s future. The speculation is finally over, though, as Willis has officially committed to play at UCLA next fall.
Willis decided to hold off on signing his letter of intent, but didn’t give a lot of information as to why at the time. Many people thought it was a sign that Willis was reconsidering his decision to sign with UCLA, which would have benefited one of the several other schools pursuing the No. 5 rated safety. Most figured that if Willis flipped on UCLA, he would end up with the LSU Tigers.
However, it turned out that Willis’ delay had nothing to do with hesitation on his decision to become a Bruin, but rather a matter of waiting on his mother to get back into town to sign his LOI. Willis’ step-father confirmed this to local papers and said that Willis would sign and fax in his letter on Friday or Saturday when his mom returned and he came through this time, putting his name to paper and officially committing to UCLA.
While Jim Mora and his staff was never worried about Willis coming through on his commitment, it’s likely reassuring to get him officially in the fold. The Bruins now have just one last holdout in their 2013 signing class in four-star running back Craig Lee still pending. Lee still plans on committing to UCLA, but has some academic issues that he has to fix before he can become eligible.
Willis caps off a very solid recruiting class for Mora and will answer some of the deficiencies in the secondary which the Bruins were determined to patch with this class. It didn’t go down exactly how Willis or the Bruins thought it would, but all that matters at the end of the day is that it got done and the talented defensive back will bring his talents to Westwood next fall.