Dickerson Talks About Flip to UCLA

There had been some whispers for the last week or so that San Mateo (Calif.) Serra defensive lineman Matt Dickerson was considering backing off his commitment to Notre Dame to staying closer to home. Thursday, the athlete did just that and committed to UCLA...

Matt Dickerson committed to Notre Dame last August after taking an unofficial visit to the campus. UCLA was the runner up at the time but Dickerson never wavered and looked locked in with the Irish.

Then three weeks ago, Dickerson's father Clarence was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. After meeting as a family, the decision was made for Dickerson to stay closer to home and the athlete announced on Thursday he would be going to UCLA.

"Calling Coach Denbrook (ND recruiter) was a really, really hard thing to do, but it was the right thing," Dickerson told Mitch Stephens of MaxPreps. "I looked so forward to playing for the Irish. But I'm doing what's best for my family and I. I need to stay close to home.

"It's so hard because they stayed so loyal. They stuck with me through the injury. I love that guy (Denbrook). But it's my decision. My life. It's hard."

Serra coach Pat Walsh said he could tell it was an agonizing decision for Dickerson.

"It was very tough but I was proud of how he handled himself," Walsh said. "This was different than your average de-commitment, Matt wanted and needed to be with his family. It was really that simple, he wanted to be close by his family and UCLA is a school that had stayed on him all year and he felt comfortable with them.

"Notre Dame was great with Matt and we have so much respect for Coach Kelly and Coach Denbrock. Notre Dame is an incredible program and has been great to us, I know this was difficult for them but in the end, Matt had to what was best for him and his family and I think everyone will respect that."

Dickerson missed his entire senior year with a small fracture in his lower vertebrae but Walsh said it's not something that will linger or keep him out of action at the next level.

"He hurt in the pre-season and didn't tell anyone," Walsh said. "He said his back hurt and the next day, he could barely move. That's when we found out what happened. It's basically like breaking a bone in your body but for him, it was in his back.

"He'll be fine though, it's not anything career ending and he's already running around and doing well. He's an incredible player, one of the best I've had but what separates him from just about anyone else I've coaches is his motor and work ethic. He's the most incredible practice player I've seen, he just goes so hard all the time and he makes everyone around him better.

"He's 6-5 and now up to 280 pounds and might still be growing. I think he projects as a great fit as a tackle in a 3-4 scheme. He's too tall to play nose guard and doesn't have that kind of frame but he can take on blocks, has long arms and strong hands and does a great job getting up the field. I really think he has the potential to play not just on Saturday's but Sunday's as well."

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for almost 20 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext.
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