Anaheim (Calif.) Esperanza center Carl Hulick has had his recruitment come full circle.
After camping on the UCLA campus at the B2G Elite Camp back in June, Hulick had always hoped for an offer for the Bruins.
While one never materialized, Hulick instead got an offer from SMU, and committed a short time later.
The coach recruiting him to SMU, Adrian Klemm, played a huge role in Hulick's commitment.
But when Klemm was hired at UCLA, Hulick wondered what would happen with his future.
"I was all set to be a Mustang, and wanted to be a Mustang," said Hulick.
Then Klemm and new UCLA head coach Jim Mora made an in-home visit on Thursday night and that changed everything for Hulick. The Bruin coaches told him to take an official visit on Friday, so Hulick woke up Friday morning with the thought his future might change.
"It was surreal, I woke up on Friday, had my bags packed, and started thinking I could be driving to my school at UCLA," said Hulick. "When I met with Coach Mora and Coach Klemm on Thursday night, I just saw how fired up Coach Mora was to make changes and with Coach Klemm, we have such a good relationship that I started to feel like playing for them a few years was what I wanted to do."
So when Hulick was on his visit, he started thinking that was where he needed to be. But he had matters to take care of first.
"When I left my visit at UCLA, I called SMU and told them I was decommitting and that was pretty rough. Texas would have been cool, but I would have experienced life by myself," said Hulick.
Then Hulick made the final decision with his father.
"I talked about it with my dad when I got home and I just knew I wanted to be a Bruin," said Hulick.
So Hulick called Mora and Klemm and gave them the news.
"Coach Mora was all fired up. I've never met anyone like that before. You can tell he's going to make major changes and turn things around there," said Hulick. "And Coach Klemm, my relationship with him is like I'd give my all for him, I'd play hurt for him. His demeanor, his Super Bowl rings, I feel like I've played for him for a couple of years already."
But Hulick hadn't told his teammates yet, so he surprised them all with an announcement at his football banquet on Sunday evening.
"I was at our football banquet tonight and I got to talk about my offensive
line coach, and I said 'if it wasn't for Coach Pete, I wouldn't be going to UCLA
to play football," said Hulick. "I kind of made an announcement there and
everyone was so stoked. I was kind of hesitant at first, but my two closest
friends were both like "dude, it's UCLA."
Hulick said the proximity to home played a huge role in his decision to switch.
"Getting on campus, it was reassuring for me. I want to be able to enjoy time with my family and with a Pac-12 school like UCLA, it just sells itself. My uncle and aunt live within walking distance to the Rose Bowl and have season tickets and can just walk down to games. That drive there, I realized that I can make that drive home if I want to go to dinner at my house on a Sunday night. Or if I need something, my parents can come up or I can come down. If they had to do that if I was in Texas, it would cost a lot of money for them to fly down. Now I'm within driving distance."
While touring the UCLA campus, Hulick started getting more confirmation that
Westwood was where he needed to be.
"Something just clicked, and while I once thought, 'I'm a Mustang', during the visit, I realized 'I'm a Bruin," said Hulick. "It was just awesome to see the pride in my parents eyes, knowing that I'll be playing in the Pac-12."
And Hulick praised Mora.
"With Jim Mora there, I get to be right there helping him build something," said Hulick. "We went on our campus tour, I saw a lot of cool things, and for Coach Mora, it was his first chance to see them too. He was just as stoked as the recruits are. Its an exciting time to be a part of things at UCLA."
Now Hulick said he's turning his attention to a couple of other UCLA targets.
"I've been texting with Kache Palacio (who UCLA offered last week) and told him to get on board," said Hulick. "We both had a bad experience with the previous staff but things are different now and we both got that offer. Kache is a baller. He's a football guy. And hopefully we can get him. And I was also texting Colby Cyburt and was like 'come on, let's go, let's be Bruins."
Hulick said Klemm told him they want him as a center or guard, with his first shot at center.
Now Hulick will continue to recruit for the Bruins.
"I'll probably shoot up and meet some more guys this next weekend unofficially," said Hulick. "UCLA is a nice place to be, with how close it is. It's real nice to go to a university that is right there."