Monte Parson, JC DE, 6-3, 270, Los Angeles Harbor College, unofficially visited UCLA on Monday.
"It was cool," the highly-rated JUCO player said. "I've been there before, living in the area, but meeting coaches was nice."
Parson is a pretty interesting story. He went to Carson High School and graduated in 1994. Out of high school he was considered a good prospect, and was about to commit to Kansas when the offered was pulled. According to Parson, Kansas had determined they couldn't get Parson in because of his academics.
"When I was a kid in high school, I didn't get it," Parson said. "I would barely stay eligible just to play in high school. I didn't understand how important school was as kid in high school just barely eligible."
So, Parson signed up for the Navy that next spring and spent four years in the military. He said, "It taught me a lot. More than anything else, it made me grow up." So, Parson, who is a week away from turning 25-years-old, then was released from the Navy after four years in 1999. Inspired, with his head on straight, Parson then enrolled at Los Angeles Harbor College with a different attitude. "I knew I wanted to do well in football, but I now realized that I had to get it done in the classroom. I really turned it around academically. It's a whole different ball game now. Now I'm a football player, but I'm also a bookworm. I know now that it's impossible to make it to next level, or to really get anywhere, without applying yourself in school. I'm now so much more mature and I don't take any of it for granted." Parson said he now maintains a 3.67 GPA at L.A. Harbor. When he visited UCLA on Monday unofficially, he was in a coat and tie.
The bookworm is now ending what many believe will be his second consecutive all-conference season at Los Angeles Harbor, leading the team's defensive line in tackles and sacks. In his last game against Compton, he had six tackles, one for a loss, 4 pressures on the quarterback, one knockdown and one sack.
His play has gotten him ranked the #14 overall JC player in the country by JCFootball.com and the attention of many college coaching staffs.
"Right now I'm hearing a lot from the Pac-10," Parson said. "Which is a change. I always used to think of the Big 12 and other conferences. It seems the Pac-10 is opening up for me."
Parson said he's considering mostly UCLA, Cal, Washington and Oregon from the Pac-10, as well as South Carolina and Iowa State. As of right now, Cal and Oregon have offered from the Pac-10.
"If UCLA offered, they'd be up there," Parson said. "I'd be a fool not to consider UCLA. But right now, I really don't have a favorite. There are so many good schools out there and I can't say I like any one more than the other. I'm waiting to see who will offer and which school can give me the best opportunity. As a junior college player, I don't have a lot of time, so I want to go somewhere I can make an impact pretty quickly."
As of right now, Parson said he's supposed to take an official visit to Iowa State December 7th, and has talked to Oregon about setting up a visit. He said he'll try to fit in as many as possible before the signing period for JUCO players begins December 19th. It runs through January 5th, so it doesn't give Parsons many weekend opportunity for official visits. "I need to get some trips in and I'm waiting for offers. I've gotten offers, but I'm still waiting for it to firm up with others and get them all on the table. Right now it's a bunch of talk."
When it comes to UCLA, he's still in waiting mode. "I'm talking to UCLA a lot, but I haven't talked to them about setting up a visit. They said they had to evaluate my academic records. I could find out soon from them."
Parson would enroll at the school of his choice in time to participate in spring practice. His scholarship would go against last year's count and not the current recruiting class. He also has three years to play two.