John Abbot College (QC) kicker J.J. Molson has been committed to UCLA since June and has visited the school a couple of times.
But the four-star was still eager to get on campus last weekend for his official visit.
I definitely had a great, especially just getting to spend time with all the players and coaches," said Molson. "My previous visits at the university I never got a chance to be with the players. So spending time with them, watching them practice, staying at the hotel, being in the meetings, getting a feel of what they go through. That was the biggest thing that stood out."
Molson was hosted by Dylan Luther, but spent a lot of time with Jerry Neuheisel, who holds on kicks.
"Dylan is an awesome dude and it was great being able to start building that friendship with my future teammates," said Molson. "Jerry and I are really close too. When we were eating at the dinner table, he and Josh Rosen and the quarterbacks were sitting next to us. It's good he's back next year and I'm excited for him to be back."
Molson also talked with Ka'imi Fairbairn, the Bruins four-year kicker he's slated to replace.
"I talked to Ka'imi in the locker room, at practice, when we were with all the specialists and I'm just happy he's doing so well," said Molson. "His mind is in a special place right now. He's having so much fun, he's loose around the guys, cracking jokes. It was awesome just being on the field and watching him kick in pregame. Seeing what he does best."
Molson said the Bruins' tradition of stellar kickers played a big role in his decision and said Fairbairn is continuing that and he hopes to do the same.
Without a doubt, that's what came in to my decision, that I could continue that tradition and become a part of that historic program," said Molson. "But not only just for football, but to represent the whole school. It's very special and such an honor to be able to be a part of their football team. I'll get to kick in front of a great fan base.
Molson got to talk with a number of Bruin coaches while on the trip.
"I talked to Coach (Scott) White, Matt Bernstein, Pat Girardi, those were the ones I spent most of the time with," said Molson. "Coach (Tom) Bradley too, he's been recruiting me the most and we've been talking. I love Coach Bradley, we have a lot of things in common. And I love Coach (Jim) Mora too. On the official visit, I got to talk with him and he's a father figure who views you not just as a football player, but almost as a son. From the first time I met him, I felt so comfortable around him. He treats all the players with such great respect. I'm thankful for him to be my head coach."
Molson has earned a reputation from other commits in the class as one of the unofficial leaders and chief recruiters for UCLA. And Molson has embraced that role.
"Everyone sees kickers as the guys in the back or the guys who don't fit in to the team," said Molson. "I'm just another player, but I want the best team possible and I want to be part of a winning team. I want to be a difference in how guys view UCLA. It's something I like doing. It's rare that you see kickers trying to recruit. I think it's just something that came natural to me, talking to recruits. Being committed this summer, having recruits that are committed to UCLA, we've been speaking to uncommitted guys."
Molson will be playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, only the second Canadian player ever invited to San Antonio.
"I'll be playing for the East being selected to this game means so much," said Molson. "The history of playing for the men and women in the military, even being from Canada, it doesn't mean I can't represent them. Being a Canadian in this game means so much, but just being able to represent and play for the men and women of the military is awesome. You could be from Canada, the U.S. or Mexico and you're representing the soldiers. It's excitement. I'm excited for this opportunity. Johnny (Den Bleyker) and Breland (Brandt) will be there as a part of the West and there will be some guys over there that we'll talk to."
Molson is recruiting uncommitted tight end target Thaddeus Moss himself.
"The biggest recruit I'm after is Thaddeus Moss," said Molson. "He was supposed to come out this weekend but they found it would be better for him to come a different weekend, so I hope he comes in January when I'm there."
Molson will enroll at UCLA not long after the Army Bowl and with Fairbairn's graduation, he's in line to take over immediately on all the kicking duties.
"On my visit, I was dying that I couldn't put on the uniform," said Molson. "I'm so excited to play at UCLA. Johnny and Bailey (Raborn, UCLA's committed punter), we've all gotten to know each other pretty well. I think it's every kickers dream to have opportunities to make a difference in a game. So being presented those opportunities, I'm excited to take on the challenge. I know I'll be prepared for when the challenge comes. I'm up for the challenge."
Molson said that Bradley will be out after the regular season for his in-home visit.
"Coach Bradley said he's going to come up in the first week or two in December for the in-home so I'm excited for that," said Molson.