Edison: More On Commitment

Justin Edison, the 6-4, 225-pound defensive end prospect from Los Angeles Verbum Dei who just verbally committed to UCLA, talked more about his commitment, how it happened this week, the influence of Akeem Ayers and Glenn Love, and more...

When Akeem Ayers attended UCLA's home contest with Arizona back in October, the Verbum Dei star brought along a teammate, Justin Edison, to watch the Bruins play.

Little did Edison know that just a few months later he'd be making a commitment to essentially spend the next 4-5 years playing his home games on the same field.

"I went with Akeem when they played Arizona," said Edison. "At that point, I had no idea I'd even be recruited by UCLA. The coaches didn't even know who I was. Akeem just introduced me to them. I never pictured that they were going to want me to go there."

Fast forward into January, and Edison, who had committed to Oregon State, is suddenly pursued by other Pac-10 schools. But after taking his official visit to UCLA last weekend, Edison still didn't know if he'd get a chance to play for the Bruins.

"When I left UCLA, we were left with this scenario: either (Long Beach Poly cornerback) Donovan Warren was taking a scholarship, or I was getting a scholarship. They were actually going to call us Wednesday morning to let us know where they were at with who to offer," said Edison.

On Tuesday night, though, things moved quickly. Warren called the UCLA coaches to let them know he had eliminated them from consideration.

"I didn't think it was going to happen that night," said Edison. "Cal came to the house that night and when they left, my dad left, too. Coach Walker called about 9:15 and he called my dad, and told my dad he wanted to offer me. Of course, when I got the news, I told my dad that I wanted to commit right then."

So Edison called the Oregon State coaches and told them of his decision, then called Walker and let him know he would be coming to Westwood. "I'm just real excited to be going there," said Edison. "It feels great, everything just hit me at once. It was overwhelming coming into the month of January but now everything is coming to an end and I'll be signing with UCLA on Wednesday."

Edison said that he and Ayers had long discussed playing together but even when Edison told him that he had committed, Ayers didn't believe him. "Akeem's first initial reaction was ‘No, you didn't,'" said Edison. "He was surprised, it was hard to believe that we were actually going to be playing together. He was shocked and excited at the same time. We talked about it since we had both been offered by Cal, but we knew it wasn't a possibility, because he was real solid to UCLA. I didn't know if I was going to get the scholarship but then the opportunity presented itself."

A big attraction to UCLA for Edison was how quickly he became a fan of defensive line coach Todd Howard, whose first year in Westwood, you'd have to say, was as productive as any position coach in America, coaching a pair of all-Americans.

"Coach Howard told us about how before he took the defensive line coaching job at UCLA, people were saying that the UCLA D-line was pretty bad," said Edison. "He came in there and proved to a lot of people that he could coach. Justin (Hickman) and Bruce (Davis) both had 12.5 sacks and were all-Americans. That was big. Just how he coaches, his coaching style, that's what I liked."

Also drawing him to UCLA was a more obvious reason. "I get to play in the Pac-10, for an L.A. school and all of my family will get to come to the home games," said Edison. "That's a real big bonus right there."

Edison said on his trip to Cal he met Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton safety Glenn Love, who the Bears were recruiting. The two started a friendship that weekend that will grow over the next four years. "Glenn is a real cool guy and we had a lot of things in common. We both want to major in Engineering. He had visited UCLA with Akeem and he was just comparing the two and I was listening to him, but I wanted to see for myself. Everything he said was true and I see why he picked UCLA, too. I'm really looking forward to playing with Glenn," Edison said.

A workhorse in the weight room, Edison said he's taking a week off but that come February 12th, it's back to the grind. "The Monday after Signing Day I start working out at 5 a.m.," said Edison. "I want to get up to 245 pounds by early June and go through camp and do my best, and we'll see what happens by end of the summer if I play or not."

In the meantime, Edison said he's going to relax and watch the Super Bowl on Sunday with his Verbum teammates. "I'm shutting it down and just getting ready to sign with UCLA," said Edison.

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