Cope-Fitzpatrick Visits UCLA

Rocklin (Calif.) tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is committed to USC but visiting UCLA this weekend...

Rocklin (Calif.) tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is taking the opportunity of a new coaching staff at UCLA to give the school another long look on an official visit this weekend.

"I really only got to talk to the new coaching staff a couple of weeks ago. That's why I'm taking a visit, just to really get to know them and see what kind of changes they're making there. I visited UCLA a lot of times, and I was interested in going there, but the coaching staff there and some things didn't work out between us, and I moved on. But now that they've made coaching changes, I'm willing to take a second look.

"I've always like the campus and the academic side of it, it's just the football part that I didn't really like so much."

Cope-Fitzpatrick still considers himself pretty solid to USC, but wants to take the next couple of weeks, with visits to UCLA and Colorado, to make sure that he's not passing up a better opportunity.

"I'd say I'm about 98% committed to USC. If there's a better option for me at another place, I'll definitely take it. But as of right now, I don't see any other schools that fit me better, or that I fit better."

As for the visit this weekend, Cope-Fitzpatrick is scheduled to arrive tonight around 8 pm, and scheduled to leave in the afternoon on Saturday. He said there was little chance of him switching his commitment this weekend.

"The only chance I'd switch my commitment is after the USC trip. It's kind of hard not to get wowed after any official visit. They're pulling out all the stunts, taking you to the nicest restaurants in town, paying for me, and whatnot. Really you just have to sit down and see through that almost and see what life is going to be like after signing day and when you get there on campus. So I'm really just waiting until after my visit to USC to make my final decision."

While there has been talk of him potentially being a defensive or offensive lineman in the future, he says that he's being recruited primarily at tight end and that's where he expects to play. For UCLA, that's going to be one of the primary questions he has, given Noel Mazzone's offensive style.

"I understand that Coach Mazzone is from Arizona State, so I want to talk to them and see what kind of offense they're running and what not, and if they have a tight end implemented in the offense, or if they're just recruiting me and looking at me to play d-line, something like that. Those are just some questions I'm going to ask this weekend."

Although UCLA doesn't have much in the tight end depth chart, Cope-Fitzpatrick claims that playing time isn't hugely important to him immediately and that he's more looking for a good fit.

"Playing time, I'd like to play as early as I can. But at the same time I want to play when I'm ready to play and I don't want to be forced to a spot where I'm not ready to play. I want to be confident, and have my teammates confidence, and have my coaches be confident in me and what I'm doing on the field. If there's one guy there, three, four guys there it doesn't matter. I'd just like to play when I'm ready."

He did say that he plans to make his decision very soon after his USC trip the weekend of the 21st, so as not to drag out the process through signing day.

"I don't want to waste anybody's time and draw things out longer than it should be. So I'm going to make my decision right after my USC trip after I've made a full evaluation of all schools, and like I said, not waste anybody's time, because this is a lot of money that coaches are investing in me and I don't want to waste that."

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