It was the commitment of Crenshaw receiver Kemonte Bateman (6-1, 175). It was believed that Bateman would have to improve his academics before he received a UCLA scholarship offer, but Bateman explained the situation.
"I went up there with everyone else and they offered me verbally and so I committed because that is where I wanted to go all along," said Bateman. "It wasn't an official offer because they have to wait until my school year is done to get my grades. But E-Scott (UCLA wide receiver coach Eric Scott) said they're counting me as a commit."
Though the semantics of the commitment remain muddled, Bateman made it clear that his loyalties lie with the Bruins. "I know that's where I'm going and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I can go there," said Bateman. "I'm working real hard right now and I'm going to take care of everything so I can go to UCLA."
A heavy lean to UCLA for much of the past nine months, the Bruins hiring of Scott all but sealed the deal. "E-Scott is a big reason," said Bateman. "I mean, I like all of the coaches but E-Scott was my coach at Crenshaw and I learned a lot from him. He's been telling me to take care of my business so I can play there."
Bateman talked a little more about Saturday's events, where he was one of eight players to commit to the Bruins. "It was real cool, all of us being there," said Bateman. "We talked with the coaches and they didn't put any pressure on us but we all decided we wanted to play together and committed then. I'm real cool with all of those guys. Rahim Moore, Johnathan Franklin and I have been talking about it since last summer."
One of the top receivers in the West, Bateman is potentially a Hot 100 player. Next month, Bateman will be at the Scout.com Combine to strut his stuff. "Oh yeah, I'll be there," said Bateman. "I always want to compete with the best."
Last summer Bateman first showed signs that he would be one of the elite receiver recruits in the West after he earned MVP honors of the B2G Elite Football Program over a star-studded field. Bateman plans to camp at B2G again this summer.
An all-City Section First Team pick in 2006, Bateman had 46 receptions for 836 yards and nine touchdowns during his junior year for Crenshaw.