Viney Ready To Make An Impact

Fresno (Calif.) Edison cranks out defensive backs more than just about any school in the country, and UCLA has had great success with a former Tiger in Ricky Manning. Now Courtney Viney is hoping to make the same kind of impact that Manning did, and early too, as he makes the transition to UCLA...

For Courtney Viney, the transition from Fresno (Calif.) Edison to UCLA may be easier than most. Its no secret that most of the former Tiger defensive backs have played early in their careers, including former Bruin Ricky Manning, who was in the starting lineup by the third game of his true freshman season and never came out of the starting lineup the next four years.

"I can truly say that if I were at any other high school I wouldn't be where I'm at right now," said Viney. "On top of that, I've been told by coaches, the things I'm coming in with, no other freshman has came in. Coach (DeWayne) Walker and Coach (Tony) Perry (Viney's position coach at Edison) have the same coaching style, so I'm a little ahead of the game."

Viney has been a consistent participant in the Bruins offseason 7-on-7 games, and he said that he's taken to it well.

"I'm loving it, its been all work and no play," said Viney. "I'm getting a good feel for the program and a good feel for the team. The players have really welcomed me with open arms and I cant wait until August 6th (when they begin practice)."

Viney said that several of the defensive backs have taken him under their wing, and a former Edison player who he looked up to is doing the same.

"Brandon Breazell, I went to high school with when I was a freshman and I already know him and we've worked out together," said Viney. "Of the DBs, Trey Brown, Alterraun Verner and Rodney Van have been showing me things. The other guys on defense who have been leading are our middle linebacker Christian Taylor and Bruce Davis."

Viney has also been showing the veterans that he's ready to contribute this fall, and because of a dearth of corners on the team, Viney could see himself seeing significant time this season.

"I've done pretty well in passing league, but I didn't really surprise myself," said Viney. "I have a few things to learn, but I'm picking it up quickly. I've had two picks that I took to the house and I haven't given up any touchdowns."

Viney is currently rooming with Brian Price, whom he met on the camp and combine circuit last spring and the two have talked with other freshman about what their role at UCLA will be.

"The whole thing is just coming in and show how we can help the team in the classroom and on the field," said Viney. "We want to win a national championship while we're here."

Of the players on offense, Viney said that a few players have stood out to him.

"Osaar (Rasshan) has made the transition to receiver and has turned his game up on that side. He's pretty legit. His hands are really good and he's pretty good there. He's going to make some plays. Joe Cowan and Chris Meadows have stood out to me too," said Viney.

In the meantime, Viney is working on every aspect of his game, and his classroom work, to make the transition even more seamless.

"I'm up at 5:30 a.m. working out until 7 a.m. and then I go to the field and work out with the rest of the team. On selected Tuesdays and Thursdays, we watch film with some of the other players. And besides that, my schedule has summer school, tutoring and mentoring. I can't wait until camp gets started so we can go full blast with the coaches there," said Viney.

Viney is no stranger to Walker. When Walker was coaching in the NFL, he ran offseason DB camps at Mt. SAC and Viney would attend with Perry, who assisted at the camps. Viney was Walker's first defensive back commit, and the hiring of Walker was a major reason that Viney committed to UCLA.

"Coach Walker knows what I can bring and he's seen me develop," said Viney. "His expectations are high. He wants me to do well. To me, it's a matter of how bad you want it. My speed is up to par and now it's a matter of me representing. I want to go out there and represent for Edison, for players of past years and players for years to come."

And Viney hopes to representing UCLA on September 1st.

"Hopefully you'll see me on the field for the opening kickoff at Stanford," said Viney. "And I hope I make that first tackle."

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