#6: UCLA Gets Commitment from Lineman

He's a sleeper recruit from the San Diego area that has gone under the radar of most recruiting services. UCLA, though, found out about him, scouted him and offered him pretty quickly...

Nicola Dragovic, 6-4, 270, Vista (Calif.) Rancho Buena Vista, took one day to think over his scholarship offer from UCLA. After he did, he called coaches Mark Weber (offensive line) and Marc Dove (recruiting coach for his area) to let them know he was committing to UCLA.

"One of my wrestling coaches (Bill Halsey) went to UCLA, and he is a big UCLA fan," said Dragovic. "Coach Halsey always wanted me to go to UCLA. He called one of the UCLA coaches and told him about me."

Dragovic, who, by the way, is a state wrestling champion and two-time All-American at Buena Vista, said things were moving fast after his wrestling coach called UCLA. "Then UCLA told me to come up for the Stanford game," he said. "I brought my transcripts and tapes of my game film. Two weeks later they called me, this past Monday, and offered me a full scholarship. I called them back and committed on Tuesday."

Dragovic has a pretty interesting personal story. The Dragovic family is from the former Yugoslavia. He said, "We got lucky and left just before (the war). I was six years old when we came to the United States, and I spoke no English, just some Serbian. Then I learned English pretty quickly with a lot of my parents help. I started school here in the first grade." He now carries a 3.5 GPA and took the SAT for the first time on November 2.

UCLA wants Dragovic to play on the offensive line. "They want me to play center or guard. At Buena Vista I play both, and play defensive end as well. Offense or defense, it doesn't matter to me as long as I get to play." Dragovic did not have any offensive stats, but said he is averaging about eight tackles a game on defense.

The Longhorns have one regular season game left on Friday against Vista. "They are our top rival school. Its like UCLA and USC. We are 6-3-1 and qualified for the playoffs already. This is a big game for us. Last year the beat us pretty badly, and we just want them."

A family that has come a long way together couldn't be happier about their son's decision to stay close to home for college. "My parents are real excited. They wanted me to stay close to home and get a good education. It's a family thing. They don't want me leaving, and I think it is best for all of us because I'll be close to home. It is a good school. I never thought I would get the chance to go there, but it has ended up like this. When I was a kid I always watched them (UCLA). That was actually my favorite team."

Dragovic wasn't sure he would hear from UCLA at all. "When the recruiting process began I never got any calls from them, so I kind of gave up a little bit. Then after a while I got my hope back up, and that's when it happened. I got the call."

He and his parents will be taking an official visit to UCLA on the weekend of December 13


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