He was at several UCLA games this fall. As a committed recruit.
Lake Arrowhead (Calif.) Rim of the World defensive tackle Jess Ward (6-4, 260) was offered at the end of the summer by UCLA after doing well at the Bruins camp, and committed back then. Only now has it become public knowledge.
"Coach (Karl) Dorrell offered me back in August, and I committed to them after that. I did real well at the camp, and when I was at the school, we shook hands on it and I accepted," said Ward.
In addition to the Bruins, Ward also had offers from California, UTEP and Fresno State. He also said USC was recruiting him after a solid performance at the USC Camp. "I was one of the best defensive linemen there and at the UCLA camp. But I always wanted to play for UCLA," said Ward.
Ward played middle linebacker for Rim of the World this year, starting out in the middle of the line, but shifting back when too many plays were being audibled.
"That allowed me to still make the tackle," said Ward, named the League Player of the Year, and a first team selection to the San Bernardino Sun All-County team.
Ward will be taking his official visit to UCLA this weekend. "I meet Coach (Dino) Babers (his recruiter) on Friday, then we get to watch practice on Saturday before they go to the bowl," said Ward.
Aside from the UCLA and USC camps, Ward attended Fresno State's camp as well as a camp in Hawaii with players from all over North America, where he was named MVP.
He was at three or four UCLA home games this year, and said the Rose Bowl is unlike any place he's been. "I love the Rose Bowl. It's a great place," said Ward. He is fully qualified.