JC Athlete Hoping To Come To UCLA

After missing out on a D-I scholarship as a high school senior, a former Long Beach (Calif.) Poly athlete is hoping to catch UCLA's eye this time around...

UCLA has stocked up recently at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Is there room for another Jackrabbit on board? Long Beach City College receiver/kick returner Khalid Abdur-Rahim, 5-10, 180, certainly hopes so.

The former Jackrabbit receiver, who played in the shadows of fellow pass-catchers Marcedes Lewis and Derrick Jones, has surfaced at LBCC, with hopes of putting a bitter NCAA decision behind him and a chance to play at UCLA in front of him.

The speedy receiver originally committed to San Diego State in February of 2003, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible because of a mix-up in his transcripts. Unmoved, Abdur-Rahim moved on to Long Beach City, where as a freshman, he led the Mission Conference in return yardage (28.7) and had 22 catches for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Now, Abdur-Rahim is spent on trying to get back to the I-A level, and he makes no secret where he wants to play.

"UCLA is my school. I have liked them ever since I watched Cade McNown there. I'm a Cowboys fan too, and Troy Aikman was one of my favorite players too," said Abdur-Rahim. They and San Diego State are my top two, really."

Abdur-Rahim is hearing from the Aztecs, New Mexico State, Oregon and Arizona, and San Diego State has already offered him a second chance to end up on Montezuma Mesa. But he has plans on ending up in Westwood instead, where there is no shortage of former teammates.

Already, the Bruins have three current Poly players on the roster: TE Marcedes Lewis, DT Kevin Brown and DT Junior Lemau'u, as well as three incoming players, CB Rodney Van, CB Byron Velega and QB Brandon Brooks (who will walk-on). And Abdur-Rahim's relationship with all of them is something he hopes pays off.

"Rodney is my best friend. He and Derrick (Jones), those are my boys. Derrick told me he would talk to USC, but I would rather go to UCLA. I met the coaches when they were recruiting Kevin (Brown) and Junior (Lemau'u) last year, and though it was too late, they said they would keep an eye on me. I hope to go to some of their spring practices and I am putting together a tape for them," said Abdur-Rahim.

Abdur-Rahim is one of the faster JC football players in the region. As a senior, he was a member of the 3rd ranked 4x100 relay team in the nation, along with Van, Jones and Kevin Massingale.

"My speed is my best thing. I can catch, and make moves, but my speed is where it's at," said Abdur-Rahim, who also runs the 100m, 200m and the 4x400m.

Another factor working in his favor is current LBCC coach and former Poly head coach Jerry Jaso.

"Coach Jaso is a UCLA guy himself. He has been talking with the coaches there and I hope it works out for me. I am getting attention from Coach Embree, and I would love to go there. I could even walk-on if I really had to, but I think when they see my tape, three will be no need to walk-on."

Abdur-Rahim's versatility will be on display this next season, when he will also mix in some nickleback for LBCC, while staying at WR/KR.

"I want to have more chances to show what I can do. If I had to redshirt (in 2005), I'd do it. But I can be ready to go by next Spring, and then the next season."

Abdur-Rahim says his academics are in fine order, and says his AA should be earned by the end of the season, in time to transfer wherever by Spring Football.

"I already have some trips that I am setting up for the next year. I'll just show what I can do this season. I'm already a preseason All-American, but I'm ready for more."

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