Bud Elliot, SB Nation
Jim Mora's recruiting machine continues to roll in Westwood as the Bruins pick up a blockbuster commitment from Priest Willis, 5 star defensive back - one of the best in the nation - from Tempe, Arizona.
A fantastic recruiting day for the Bruins just got even more amazing. Priest Willis, the 5 star (per scout.com) defensive back from Tempe, AZ (Marcos De Niza HS) continued the recruiting boomlet for UCLA by just committing to the Bruins. Brandon Huffman just tweeted the good news:
Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos de Niza five-star cornerback Priest Willis has committed to UCLA...— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) January 24, 2013
It's been an open secret in the recruiting circle that Willis has been a strong Bruin lean for a while. Nevertheless, his commitment has been much anticipated and will most likely serve as rocket boosters to UCLA's mounting recruiting momentum, which has been set up for a good explosion heading into NSD.
Willis is a physical specimen. Has the size/speed combo to play major college football. Currently plays corner where he shows tremendous tackling ability and has the size to mandhandle receivers. But as he continues to grow, he could transition into a safety.
FWIW Willis is rated as a 4 star per Rivals.com and ESPN. From our SBN recruiting hub:
Willis is listed as a five-star prospect on Scout, while garnering four stars on Rivals and ESPN. Scout pegs him has the No. 4 incoming cornerback and the No. 41 incoming freshman overall. Rivals believes Willis to be the No. 10 safety, and No. 59 overall, while ESPN has him No. 5 positionally and also No. 59 nationally.
To the YouTube we go for some highlights:
And some more:
As mentioned above - we have been anticipating Willis' commitment for a while, even though schools like LSU was going after him pretty hard. Not a surprise given he had an offer from number of elite programs around the country.
There is another interesting angle to Willis's commitment. He becomes another high profile elite recruit to commit to UCLA out of state of Arizona. Arizona has emerged as a special pipe line to Westwood sending guys like Kenny Lacy ('13), Jalen Ortiz ('13), Paul Perkins ('12), and of course Brett Hundley ('10) [I didn't count Javon Williams ('12), who didn't stick around due to academic issues but at the time was a big get for the Bruins].
Anyway, let's give a collective huge round of welcome to Mr. Willis from BruinNation. Hopefully he can emerge as the next generation of Kenny Easley, Marvin Goodwin, Eric Turner, Carlton Gray, Othello Henderson ATV and Rahim Moore out of Westwood. With the commitments of Willis, Goodman, Tyler Foreman, and Johnny Johnson, UCLA is once again in position to reclaim the title - "Secondary U."