Elite D-End Prospect Has Leader

The #5-ranked defensive end in the nation, Keenan Graham from Las Vegas (Calif.) Nevada, revealed to Scout.com that there is a team involved in his recruitment that has moved into the lead for him, and he talks at length about why...

Keenan Graham, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound four-star defensive end from Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nev., has scholarship offers from all over the country (32 total).

Born in Maryland, Graham says he grew up following the Terps. "I lived there for about six years and I grew up following them," Graham said. "I liked watching them play and they have a solid defense. I liked how they used Shawn Merriman and they talked about using me that way."

Although Graham doesn't count out the Terps, they don't make his top seven. Neither does hometown favorite UNLV - who gave Graham his first offer in March. Instead he says he now favors UCLA slightly over Michigan, USC, Wisconsin, Colorado, Tennessee and Virginia Tech, all of whom have offered.

"I visited UCLA this summer and it was great," Graham said. "Coach Rick Neuheisel himself gave me a tour of the campus and showed me around. It's a beautiful campus and I love the area."

Graham, who wants to major in engineering, also liked Bruin academics. "They have a good engineering program and the engineering department is conveniently located next to the practice field," he said.

"Coach Neuheisel is great," Graham said. "When I first met him, I felt like I had known him for a while. He's easy to talk to and I like how serious he is about getting things going there."

"I think within the next few years UCLA will be real good and will be able to challenge USC," he said. "With (offensive coordinator) coach Norm Chow there too, that definitely gives UCLA a better chance to compete against USC."

Graham adds that UCLA is the team that he's the most curious about this season. "I normally watch college football any way, but this year it's gonna be different," he said. "I'll be watching these teams and thinking about where I want to go.

"I really want to see how UCLA does because I think they can have a pretty good year even with some of their injury issues," he said.

While in Los Angeles, Graham also visited USC, but says he didn't really get to tour the campus at all. "I went to USC for the spring game and it was awesome," he said. "The players are so good and it really showed me the level they are at and how hard they worked. It was eye opening."

Although he says that UCLA, Wisconsin and Colorado are recruiting him the hardest, he says that the Bruins are at a totally different level. "They are all sending me letters and emails everyday," he said. "But at UCLA all the different coaches are involved and coach Neuheisel is very involved and sends me personal notes too. They've made me feel like they really want me."

Graham, Scout.com's No. 5 defensive end, has already scheduled an official visit to Wisconsin on Oct. 11 for the Penn State game and Colorado on Oct. 18 for the Kansas State game. He's also in the process of scheduling a trip to Tennessee.

"When it comes to football, Wisconsin has it all," he said. "They have great tradition and a great defense. They are also recruiting me real hard and I could tell the coaches are sincere and want to go there and see what it's like.

"Colorado has also done a great job recruiting me," Graham said. "They've been after me hard and I wanted to show them the same respect and decided to take a visit there.

"I like Colorado because they have great coaches and they are still a young team," he said. "It's an up-and-coming program."

The only other school that Graham has already visited is Michigan and he says the Wolverines impressed him immensely. "Michigan was a great experience," Graham said. "It was just awesome. When I got back from Michigan I really thought that maybe they were number one and even above UCLA, but I was just acting in the moment and decided to take time and let everything settle down."

Graham says that the Ann Arbor stadium is what stood out about Michigan. "I loved the Big House," he said. "Coach Rich Rodriguez told me about all the renovations they are making to the stadium and facilities. It's going to be even better."

Don't expect Graham to make a decision anytime soon. "I'm gonna wait," he said. "I want to take all five of my visits and probably won't decide until late December.

"I want to live in a good environment," he said. "Hopefully the trips will open my eyes even more and I'll be able to find what I'm looking for. I want more than a good football program. I want to feel at home and be happy where I'm living."

Graham finished his junior season with 72 tackles and 15 sacks.

He says he can bench 340-pounds, squat 435 and claims a 32-inch vertical jump.

"I have great speed," Graham said. "That's my number one thing. I shoot the gaps well and do stunts well. I have a great pass rush and a good move off the edge. I love getting after the quarterback on third and long.

"But I still want to improve my moves and not rely on my speed so much," he emphasized.

Graham reports a 3.2 core GPA and a 1320 SAT.

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