Oatis Talks About Commitment

The newest Bruin, safety prospect <b>Shawn Oatis</B> from Chino (Calif.) High, says that after his official visit last weekend, he knew where he wanted to go. He now says he'll start recruiting other prospects himself, including one specifically...

After spending the past three days stewing it over, the nations #9-ranked safety, Chino (Calif.) High's Shawn Oatis (6-0, 205), knew it was time to end his recruitment and make the decision he had felt was right since his officlal visit to UCLA last weekend.

"I knew it when I went there that it was going to be the place I went," Oatis said. "The opportunity to play at UCLA and to get a great education, I really feel like I am making a great decision."

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

He wrapped up his official visits last weekend when he tripped to Westwood. That was enough to seal the deal. "I talked to Coach (Dino) Babers this morning (Wednesday) and told him that I was coming. Then I talked to Coach (Karl) Dorrell when I got to school and, you know, he's a real mild-mannered guy. But when I told him I was committing, he got pretty excited, like I'd never seen before. It kind of got me excited," said Oatis. "I talked with most of the staff and they were all pretty excited."

The recruiting process was beginning to wear on Oatis, which is one reason why he decided to end it. "It just feels right. I really felt like I made the right decision. The recruiting process was long and I'm happy to get it over with. I wanted to think about it the last couple days but I knew. I wanted to let some other coaches know who were recruiting me."

With his commitment to UCLA solid, Oatis said his next job is to begin recruiting for the Bruins. "I'll be going to the game on Saturday (against Washington State) and I'm really looking forward to it. I know there are going to be some important recruits there and I am going to do my job to recruit them."

One of those is quarterback target Ben Olson, and that wasn't lost on Oatis. "I know that the quarterback (Olson) is back from his mission and is going to be there on Saturday. Well, I want to be surrounded by good guys when I'm at UCLA and he was the best in his class. So I'm going to do my job to get him to join us. Me and the other (committed) guys will. I've been recruited. Now it's my time to recruit other recruits."

Another deciding factor in Oatis' decision was UCLA's proximity to home. His mother was firmly behind the Bruins, but his father was leaning towards Notre Dame. However, since the trip, his dad was starting to lean toward UCLA. "My dad really thinks it's the right decision too. He was happy I decided to stay close to home and made my decision now. He gets to see my face now for another four years. My mom, she was just ecstatic. Absolutely ecstatic. My coach told her that if he had to choose between two schools to send his kid, it would be Notre Dame or UCLA, so that means a lot."

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. They face Ayala this weekend in a game that could clinch a league title for the Cowboys, positioning them for a solid seeding in the CIF Playoffs.

A good student, Oatis has a 4.1 GPA and a 960 on his SAT, qualifying him for college.

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