"It is my dream school. I always wanted to go to UCLA," Lombard said. " I used to watch my brother (former DT Kory Lombard) play there, and he was there when they were always winning, and I wanted to follow him and play there as well."
Lombard caught the attention of the UCLA coaches at the four-day camp in June, where he was easily one of the best defensive linemen there. He also knew Coach Johnson from his brother's day and had a good rapport with him, which helped. "Coach Johnson was Kory's position coach his senior year, and he really liked him and all of the players there love coach Johnson and respect him. It made it easy to play for him. He demands respect, but he is not a dictator and players love playing for him."
When the offer came, Kenneth gave his commitment, and immediately told Kory. "I know he is real proud of me. When Kory was there, they were 2 minutes away from playing for the national championship, they won 2 Pac-10 championships, and were beating SC. Now I want to help them get back to that level. He is excited I am going there. My sister went there too, and so did some cousins. Our family is all Bruins."
Lombard comes from a St. John Bosco program that has strong ties with the Bruin program, with five current Bruins on the roster (Paul Mociler, Marcus Cassell, Riley Jondie, Joe Cowan and Derrick Williams). "Our program here is committed to winning, and Coach Mendoza does a good job getting us prepared. It helps that so many guys from Bosco have gone to UCLA. I know Joe and Derrick are real excited to be going there and playing. Coach Bieniemy was recruiting Derrick and I met him and I can see his committed to winning."
Lombard also is looking forward to the chance to play for Coach Dorrell. "When I met Coach Dorrell, I saw someone who can bring UCLA back to where they should be. He is calm, but has a fire. He knows what he is talking about. He is going to do a great job." Along with the Bruins, Lombard was also getting attention from Arizona State, Kansas, Utah, Fresno State and San Jose State. But all paled in comparison to the Bruins. "Going to the Rose Bowl for five years to watch Kory, going to practices, hanging out on campus. I knew that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to play at a big-time program. And UCLA is that. I set a goal that by my third time at the UCLA camp (Lombard attended in 2001 and 2002 as well), that I would get an offer and I was going to do everything I could to earn one. To have it happen is awesome."
Amazingly, Lombard has already sensed some detractors. "I know there are people saying ‘He doesn't deserve a scholie. Who is this guy?' But I will prove myself, prove to them that I deserved it, and that they hopefully will think I did a pretty good job playing for UCLA. I want them to say in a few years ‘UCLA is lucky they got that kid.' And I am going to work hard to show them."
Now, Lombard will focus his attention on St. John Bosco's season, one which ended abruptly in the CIF Playoffs following their first league title in years. "We have the talent to win our league again and do some damage in CIF. We want to have Bosco's name be mentioned with the great ones. At the same time, I am going to be at all of the home games at the Rose Bowl, recruiting guys to come and be a part of something great at UCLA. I don't compete with my brother, but I do want the national championship he was close to getting."