Oatis Talks of UCLA Visit

Chino (Calif.) High safety <b>Shawn Oatis</b> visited UCLA this past weekend, and the #9 ranked safety in the nation said he has narrowed his choices to a pair of schools, one which is the Bruins.

The nations #9-ranked safety, Chino (Calif.) High's Shawn Oatis (6-0, 205), took what was likely his final trip of his recruitment.

Oatis had already made two previous official visits to a pair of Midwest powerhouses, going to Notre Dame and to Ohio State.

He wrapped it up this weekend when he ventured a few miles West, and took in his official trip to UCLA.

So how was the trip for Oatis?

"It was awesome," said Oatis. I had a great time. It's between UCLA and Notre Dame. They are both even. I'm making my decision this week. I'm just going to sit down and think about it."

Freshman receiver Marcus Everett was Oatis' host this weekend, and the closeness of the players was one of the biggest standouts for Oatis.

"The players, they really bonded together. I thought Notre Dame was a tight knit group too, but I didn't see that at Ohio State."

Oatis had his parents along with him on the trip.

"My Dad and Mom loved it. Right now, I'd say my dad is for Notre Dame, but my mom (who ironically, went to USC), is all about UCLA. She wants me to stay close to home and get a great education and be able to continue my career near by. I know she'll support me at UCLA."

Oatis has been to a couple of previous UCLA home games, but said this weekend's game really stood out to him.

"After the loss last week, they came out with fire. I think the loss woke them up. The safeties were awesome yesterday," said Oatis, who said he prefers to play strong as opposed to free.

He had a chance to meet with both defensive backs coach Gary DeLoach as well as defensive coordinator Larry Kerr.

"Yeah, I sat down and talked with him (DeLoach) and I enjoyed it. Coach Kerr, he is an awesome coach."

Oatis also got a chance to mingle with more players other than Everett.

"Chris Markey, I hung with him. I also got to meet both (Ben) Emanuel and (Jarrad) Page, though I didn't get to hang out with them.

Playing in the favor of Notre Dame is their tradition.

"Coach Willingham is an awesome coach. He's soft spoken and knows what he is talking about. Coach Dorrell, though, he is almost the same way. I like both of them.

Still UCLA could be the team to beat.

"Its close to home and they are a good program on the up and up. Being an hour away takes away the homesick factor. Guys out of state get that, and they are not able to perform at their top level cause they are not focused. Here, I'm an hour away from home and have a good support factor. It would be nice for my family to come out here and watch me, as well as my friends and coaches. I look at it as giving back to the people who've given me a lot.

Oatis has also been able to spend some time with some of the commits.

"I met Aaron Ware, and Osaar Rasshan, I played basketball with him growing up."

Oatis said the playing time issue would be something he seriously considers.

"There is the depth factor. Notre Dame is too deep in secondary, and they have a lot more guys, guys that are starting young. At UCLA, they start one senior and one junior, and he could go in the baseball draft. They are not that deep, and they run a lot of nickel and dime packages. There is just a better opportunity to play.

The building of the program, at both places, is something Oatis wants to be a part of.

"They are both on their way back. At UCLA, the defensive line its got the youth. Next year is going to be their year and its something to be apart of. I'm a safety that blitzes, and I'm much too aggressive to be sitting back there. UCLA does a lot of safety blitzes.

Oatis said he will now spend the next couple of days before deciding.

"Wednesday looks like decision day," said Oatis.

On the 2004 season, Oatis has helped lead the Cowboys to a 7-1 record, 3-0 in league, and has a pair of interceptions.

He has a 4.1 GPA and a 960 on his SAT, qualifying him for college.


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