Lopez Winding It Down

The long recruiting process for UCLA commit John Lopez, the Orange (Calif.) Lutheran offensive lineman, is coming to a close...

The first time that Orange (Calif.) Lutheran offensive lineman John Lopez stepped foot on the UCLA campus, he was finishing up his freshman year in high school.

Not long after being at the Bruins' camp, Lopez was offered by UCLA.

That was nearly three years ago, and a coaching staff ago.

But the one commit to UCLA who's been recruited longer than anyone in this class was one of the last official visitors to make his way to Westwood.

"It's been pretty crazy," said Lopez. "I've been there a lot the past three years. It was three years ago that I got offered and started the recruiting process. It's finally coming to an end but it's been a long time coming."

Lopez was offered by Rick Neuheisel and Bob Palcic that spring of 2010. Now, Jim Mora and Adrian Klemm have those respective roles.

And plenty of time this past weekend was spent with that pair.

"I had a lot of time to talk with Coach Klemm about stuff and football and school," said Lopez. "He's a great coach and a great person. He was just talking to us about football and said that there are spaces completely open. He said the only guaranteed spot is Xavier Su'a-Filo's, because he's the best lineman in the country."

Lopez also chatted at length with Mora.

"I got to hang out with the whole staff but I had a good long talk with Coach Mora and he's really excited about me coming in," said Lopez.

Lopez was hosted by Albert Cid and was one of three visitors on the weekend, and one of two lineman, Poasi Moala the other.

"Poasi had Xavier as his host and I had Albert so we were just hanging out and it was a lot of fun," said Lopez.

Lopez had double-digit offers and interest from around the country. Even after he committed to the Bruins, schools kept coming in on him.

But Lopez never waffled in his decision.

"I had some schools that wanted me to come visit, and I always thought about taking official visits," said Lopez. "But I didn't feel the need for messing up a good thing with UCLA. That's where I was going no matter what."

Lopez said he's pretty much seen it all at UCLA in past visits, but this trip still gave him some good insight.

"I've always liked the campus and it was always cool coming, but I was coming for so long that things always seemed like it was under construction," said Lopez. "So it was cool seeing it and seeing the facilities and everything there. It's really nice."

Lopez has also been to the Rose Bowl plenty of times, but said the trip there on Saturday was one of his best.

"It was really cool having breakfast in the press box," said Lopez. "Then we went into the locker room and they had all the gear in each locker. They had my high school number, 76, in my locker."

Lopez has seen the up and down past few years of UCLA football, the offer coming before a miserable 4-8 season, the commitment coming before a nine-win season.

"You could just feel it all year that the energy is perfect with the coaches and the team and you can feel the change in Los Angeles," said Lopez. "Everyone is getting on the UCLA bandwagon now. But I already was on with them before. It's exciting."

Brandon is in his eighth year with Scout.com, currently as a National Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Manager. Prior to joining the Scout.com Recruiting Team, he was a team recruiting writer.  He's been covering recruiting for the Scout.com network since 2003.
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