UCLA landed a defensive tackle prospect out of the state of Oregon in February and officially joined the chase for another in this cycle on Wednesday night, extending a scholarship offer to Brandon Pili.
The Bruins became the latest program to offer the three-star from Portland (Ore.) Westview after the likes of Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon State and USC did so earlier in the season. Pili, the No. 2-rated defensive tackle in his state behind Marlon Tuipulotu, officially visited the Beavers last weekend.
"The UCLA offer means a lot," Pili said. "It's a great feeling to know you can play at the next level and know coaches believe in you.
"With the UCLA offer, I've grown up watching them play but I don't know much about them right now. I talked to coach Angus McClure and he told me he liked my versatility. He came out to my game this past Friday and was on the sideline watching me play. I played both ways -- center and defensive tackle -- and he liked my versatility, motor and athleticism."
The Bruins signed Osa Odighizuwa out of Oregon as part of their 2016 recruiting class. Pili said he was familiar with his game and, despite having some versatility at the high school level, knows he'll be inside in college.
"Defensive tackle, no doubt, with my body type, height and build," the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Pili said. "I like to play defensive end once in a while to shoot up field, but I'm definitely going to be a defensive tackle."
Pili had been planning an official to USC for Thanksgiving Day weekend when the Trojans host rival Notre Dame, but he said that's not completely done.
"I don't know yet what my visit plans are," Pili said. "I've got seven other siblings, so we've got to figure out if we can get babysitters and stuff.
"I went to Oregon State this past weekend for an official and it was great. With USC, they wanted me to graduate early and be ready for spring ball, but with the way my credits are it wouldn't work out. Colorado is another school I'm in the process of scheduling for an official."
Though the relationship with the Bruins is relatively new, Pili does know he is intrigued by the location and ability to stay on the West Coast, which he said is something he's hoping to do.
"I'm also looking for a good program that has had success," Pili said. "Another thing that is most important to me are the coaches. I'd love to continue to meet coaches and find out what type of people they are since I'll be spending my time with them over the next four or five years. And then I'll also look at the environment. I want a team that is family oriented, with players and coaches getting along."