"I'm really excited about this offer," Sterling-Cole said. "I've been hearing from UCLA for almost a month, and then earlier (Friday) I heard that I should call Coach (Taylor) Mazzone and when I did, he told me I had an offer."
Sterling-Cole was particularly excited about the offer because, not only does he have legitimate interest in leaving home for college, but he actually has some family in the L.A. area.
"Going to school in L.A. would be great," Sterling-Cole said. "I have family out there in California, so I'd have that comfort factor as well as the ability to play for a great program like UCLA."
He hasn't yet visited the UCLA campus, though, and he said that would definitely be on the agenda in the coming months.
"I'm going to try to get out there within the next month," Sterling-Cole said. "It'd be great to see a spring practice, but I'm not sure if that's going to work with their schedule. I'm also planning to visit Arizona State and Oklahoma State soon, so I'll have to figure all of those out."
A big part of the increased interest in the last couple of months has to do with Sterling-Cole earning an invite to the Elite 11 Finals in Beaverton during the week of The Opening in July. Since then, he's been getting attention from many more college coaches throughout the country.
In describing his game, Sterling-Cole said that he prides himself on his ability to play with poise and make things happen with his legs. He said one thing he'd like to work on is refraining from trying to do too much in the passing game, and instead take what the defense gives him a bit more.
As for a decision timeline, with The Opening coming up and more schools calling every day, Sterling-Cole said he's still fairly uncertain about the exact date for his announcement.
"I just know I'd like to get it done before the start of my senior season," Sterling-Cole. "If I know sometime before then, I could make my decision earlier. I wish I could take official visits now so I could look at schools more in-depth, but I'll still be able to get a good look at schools as it is."
Sterling-Cole said that Houston, Oklahoma State, and Arizona State were the schools recruiting him hardest heading into the UCLA offer, but he said he expects to hear a lot more from UCLA going forward.
As for what he'll look for in a school, Sterling-Cole is focused on a few big things.
"Academics are really important to me," he said. "Football is only for so long, and I'll have the ability to get a great college education, so I'm going to really look at a school's academics. And then relationship with the coaching staff will be big. I want to make sure I'm comfortable with the staff wherever I end up going to school."