Bruins Dip Into JC Ranks for 'Backer

Riverside (Calif.) C.C. linebacker Ryan Hofmeister committed to UCLA on Monday, and he'll have four years to play three seasons in Westwood...

Riverside (Calif.) C.C. linebacker Ryan Hofmeister was a big part of Vista Murrieta's season in 2009, helping lead them to the CIF-SS Finals as a senior.

But Hofmeister, who was about 5-11 and 190 pounds as a senior in high school, only had one D-I offer out of Vista Murrieta, to Navy, so he went the JC route, and ended up at Riverside City College, where he played for Tom Craft, the former San Diego State head coach.

Also, there was Darrin Chiaverini, a former Colorado player, who played under Rick Neuheisel in Boulder. Craft is also the father of former UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft, and his son's alma mater extended an offer to Hofmeister, who jumped on the offer from the Bruins.

"They had been recruiting me since the second game but I didn't go up there until yesterday," said Hofmeister. "They talked to me and got to know me a lot on Sunday and they offered me on Sunday. That was my first choice. I always wanted to go to UCLA so I jumped on it and committed."

After a senior year in which he had 126 tackles and nine sacks, Hofmeister thought offers would come, but they never materialized.

"I wasn't very heavily recruited out of high school, other than Navy and some D-II schools, so I went the JC route and one of my old coaches at Vista, Coach Silverman, told me RCC was where to go and I could get an offer there and maybe go to UCLA," said Hofmeister. "UCLA had been to our Golden West game and saw me."

So he stayed in the Inland Empire to play for Craft, who's had great success at the junior college level.

"A lot of our coaches knew them so I was getting recruited personally by Coach (Rick) Neuheisel and Coach (Frank) Gansz," said Hofmeister. "I thought I was just going to meet the coaches on Sunday and see the school, but then Coach Neuheisel offered me. I hadn't even been to UCLA before yesterday. I got to take a tour of the whole campus and it was really nice."

Hofmeister will sign next month with UCLA, and be able to enroll in time for spring football.

"I'm already able to transfer because I was a full qualifier," said Hofmeister. "Right now, I'm taking all the transferable classes and will enroll in January and be able to be there for spring ball. Right now, I'm 6-2, 220, and they still think I can put some weight on. It's up to them to see what I can do, if I'll play right away. If they want me to take a year to put the weight on, I'll prepare myself to play or redshirt. It just depends. They want me to play weakside 'backer and on special teams."

There are several familiar faces already on the Bruins for Hofmeister.

"I played against Ricky Marvray and against Richard Brehaut and with quite a bit of other guys," said Hofmeister. "When I was up there, I recognized a lot of them."

Since he was a 2010 graduate and a full qualifier, Hofmeister will have four years to complete his three seasons of eligibility with the Bruins. He'll take his official visit next month.

"I'll take my recruiting visit for the USC game," said Hofmeister.

Aside from UCLA, Colorado and Kansas State had offered, and USC and Washington had also been expressing interest, but his heart was set on the Bruins.

"I was just mainly focused on UCLA and that's where I really wanted to go," said Hofmeister. "I've always been a fan and it's close to home so it's cool."

Hofmeister put together an all-conference season in 2010, with 127 tackles and 10 tackles for loss and he also recorded three pass breakups, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.

His former teammate at Vista Murrieta, Derrick Brown, will also join the Pac-12 next year, when he goes to Utah.

"It will be fun to play against Derrick and I know UCLA is recruiting some other guys from Vista too," said Hofmeister.

Hofmeister and Riverside will play Los Angeles Harbor, who boasts another UCLA JC target, Byron Moore, in their season finale on Saturday.

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