Aaron Ware Is His Own Man

He's the younger brother of Bruin Matt Ware and the son of passionate UCLA alumni, but elite junior prospect <b>Aaron Ware</b>, while being a brainwashed Bruin, says he's going to make his own decision when it comes to college...

Aaron Ware, 6-0, 180, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, is probably the most familiar to UCLA fans than any junior recruit at this stage of the recruiting process.

He is, of course, the younger brother of Matt Ware, the standout junior cornerback who just recently opted to forego his senior year at UCLA for the NFL draft. The Ware boys, of course, are the sons of two very passionate UCLA alumni, Bernie and Julie Ware, who have had a strong presence on the Bruin Report Online message boards over the last several years.

It has seemed like UCLA fans, at least those who read the site, have watched Aaron grow up, intently following his high school career. It's a bit frightening, even to Aaron, that it is now his turn in the recruiting limelight.

"I was just talking to Matt about that," Aaron said. "He said it all goes so fast he still feels sometimes like he's in high school. I sometimes still feel I'm in middle school. But now Matt's career is already over at UCLA and I'm in the middle of my junior year in high school and about to start the recruiting process. It all goes so fast."

The younger Ware, though, is also probably one of the savviest high school junior recruits. "I've seen it all," he said. "Even though Matt committed to UCLA early, I'm very familiar with the entire recruiting process. I know it can be tedious and over-bearing at times. I also have a pretty good grasp of what it's like being a college football player because of Matt. So I know about the experience, which will really help me in so many ways."

Ware, who plays running back and will do double-duty next year at cornerback, is considered one of the elite prospects in the 2005 class in Southern California. He ran for around 1,800 yards and 22 touchdowns for Oaks Christian last season, often times, though, being pulled early in games because the Lions were so far ahead of their opponents. He's considered a very good athlete, running a 4.45 40 at the Nike Camp last spring and posting a personal (and family best) 10.6 in the 100 meters. He says he's still uncertain as to which position he'll play in college, tailback or cornerback. "Most schools so far are recruiting me as an athlete. The position I'll play in college is up in the air. A lot will depend on what college I go to. For instance, Colorado likes bigger backs so I possibly wouldn't be a running back there. I really don't have a preference. I've been playing running back since I was eight years old, but I love playing corner and being physical. It really is 50-50 which way it could go."

Of course so much has been made of Aaron being a Bruin by family, and whether going to UCLA was an inevitability since birth. Matt announced his commitment to UCLA very early, in fact, the day after the signing day for the recruiting class that preceeded him. But Aaron said that, while he bleeds blue and gold, his situation is different: "For Matt, it was an easy choice. It was different for him since, at the time, UCLA was a powerhouse. There weren't many things to really consider. It's different now. I also want to possibly consider making my own way, making a name for myself at another school. I really want to take my time, see what's out there. I don't think I'll commit early, but wait until I'm pretty certain about what I want to do."

Aaron has yet to receive a scholarship offer, but said he's been getting the most early interest from Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA, USC, California, Washington, Northwestern and Boston College. "I've been getting probably a letter a day from each of those schools," he said.

Right now, though, he has a pretty solid list of favorites. "It would be UCLA, Washington, Colorado and Cal. It's really early and things could change. But I want to be on the west coast. I'm not much of a cold weather guy. I'm mostly a Cali boy. Those schools aren't too far away from home."

His parents, even as true-blue Bruins, have given Aaron their blessing to go wherever he wants to college, but there is an exception. "Well, except to USC," Ware said. "USC has been sending me letters. They talked to my high school coach and said, ‘We know he's a Bruin but we think we could have a chance with him.' But there's no way. They really don't have a chance. I'd puke if I went there. It's not just that my parents would murder me, it's that I couldn't go there. Nothing against the school. It's a good school and they're a powerhouse. But I've been brainwashed. It'd be torture to listen to that fight song."

Getting back to that blue and gold brainwashing, Aaron said his parents really did an effective job on him as a child. "By the time I could speak, my first phrase was ‘UCLA is number one.' I knew the fight song when I was two. As a baby they took me to football games. At one UCLA/USC game, I got on TV. I was wearing my UCLA helmet, and the camera caught me picking my nose. It was pretty hilarious. The announcer said, ‘We know which side he's picking.' Matt and I grew up like that. It was pretty much all we knew. That and to hate USC."

Aaron said that his brother going to UCLA even made him more of a Bruin fan. "It got me into it deeper. With Matt playing there it got even more personal."

Being such a deeply engrained Bruin legacy, you would think Aaron might feel pressure to go to UCLA, pressure from just not his parents and his brother but from the UCLA community. He said, "My family will support me no matter what I choose. They have said they'd be comfortable if I went somewhere else. And pressure? I love pressure. I don't feel any anyway. I look at pressure as nothing more than incentive to do well."

Ware, who maintains a 3.2 GPA and scored a strong 1150 on the PSAT, said right now he's concentrating on his school work, football and also his brother. "With Matt possibly leaving the area soon, I want to try to spend as much time with him as I can. Like I said, it's all gone so fast. Plus, even though we haven't yet talked about my recruiting, I think he'll play a pretty large role in where I choose to go. He's been through it all."

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