Long Beach Poly (Calif.) receiver Terrence Austin chose the Bruins over Notre Dame and Oregon on Saturday, making his selection early in the third quarter on national television.
"I just felt comfortable with UCLA," Austin said. "It never was a factor for me in staying home, but my family was there and they wanted to see me play real bad. What made it was my grandma said she wanted me to be close to home, and that was a big part of it," said Austin.
While the Bruins maintained the top spot on Austin's list for the majority of his recruitment, Austin said he was still serious about his other options. "I really thought about the opportunities that I had outside of UCLA. It was either UCLA, Notre Dame and Oregon. The situation at Notre Dame was tough to pass up. I felt that UCLA was the best fit for me so I went ahead and grabbed it," said Austin.
Austin was able to speak about his decision with UCLA assistant coach Jon Embree, who had handled his recruitment. He said, "I talked to Coach Embree on Friday. Coach Dorrell left me a message too, and they wished me good luck and just told me to come out here and do my best and represent. They told me to forget CaliFlorida and to come out here and make plays."
While the West lost 27-16, Austin had a pair of catches including a 9-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter when he made a good adjustment in the end zone to record a touchdown. Of the experience of scoring a touchdown in the U.S. Army Bowl, Austin said: "My feeling was that if I scored a touchdown in this game, that means a lot because you're playing against the top-rated players in the country, so that means you did your job. Everybody is the real deal and not hype. So when I scored the touchdown, I let it all hang out and I was real excited about it. I don't care that it wasn't a breakaway, man, it was a score. Doesn't matter."
It was the first of what Austin hoped would be many touchdowns on national television over the next four years. "I plan to score a lot more in college," said Austin.
Joining Austin when he made the decision was his father, Larry, as well as his coach at Long Beach Poly, Raul Lara. "Having my dad there with me was great because he has been there with me from the start. And then Coach Lara and my receivers coach, they were all there. I was just happy that they were here. It was a big decision in my life, and I'm glad that they were all here with me to make it," Austin said.
After a long process and four recruiting visits, Austin said he was happy to have the decision made. "I enjoyed the whole recruiting process. It's an once-in-a-lifetime. When it came down to it, if I could make a decision now, then I was thrilled to," said Austin.
Now, he will spend the spring observing practice in Westwood and preparing for his arrival at UCLA in the fall. In addition, he's ready to face a pair of Poly teammates who he will go up against in practice, Rodney Van and Byron Velega. "Right now, its going to be time hang back a little bit, then when the spring comes, I'll catch up on some plays. Then they're going to have to be ready for me in the fall," said Austin.