Hilliard Visits UCLA, Gets Offer

The 5-11, 195-pound running back prospect from Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou, Dalton Hilliard, talked about his official visit to UCLA last weekend, and that -- with one official visit left -- he "kind of knows" where he wants to go...

Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou running back Dalton Hilliard (5-11, 195) had been waiting for a UCLA scholarship offer for some time.

This past weekend, as he took his official visit to Westwood, he finally got that offer.

"Coach (Rick) Neuheisel pulled me aside right before the (Stanford) game and told me he was offering me," said Hilliard. "I was pretty excited and I called my family and let them know."

That was just the start of what Hilliard called a "great weekend" on his visit to UCLA.

"My trip was great, I really liked it out there. The weather there was great and I got to finally go see the Rose Bowl and see the campus some more," said Hilliard. "I had a really good time there. I went to a camp there (before his junior year), but I got to see a lot more this time."

Hilliard had two players act as hosts on his visit, first being hosted by freshman running back Aundre Dean and then being hosted by freshman safety E.J. Woods.

"I talked with Aundre quite a bit because he's from Texas and he went a long way from home. He was saying how comfortable he was at UCLA and that they were a school he really felt at home at so that's why he picked them," said Hilliard.

Hilliard said while UCLA's offer made a big impression, and while at times he felt like committing to the Bruins, he held off.

"I want to wait until I'm completely sure and I'm going to talk about it some more with my family. I'm going to Arizona this weekend and I want to be able to compare the two schools, so I'm still going to take the trip. I see myself making a commitment sometime right after the trip," said Hilliard.

Hilliard said that UCLA made a big jump in his opinion of them, especially considering they offered him. After having already visited Nebraska, and planning to visit Arizona this weekend, he indicated he has a good enough idea of where he wants to go.

"I wouldn't say that those are my top three, it's just that I'm starting to know where I want to play," said Hilliard. "I've got some other offers (including Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington), and Coach (Charlie) Weis came and watched us play this weekend, so I have some options. But I kind of know."

Hilliard said he spoke primarily with Neuheisel, Offensive Coordinator (and Punahou alum) Norm Chow, as well as Defensive Coordinator Dewayne Walker.

He said: "UCLA offered me basically as an athlete. They said they didn't know yet where they want me to play. I appreciated their honesty in saying they want me, they just don't know yet where they want to put me. I remember talking to Coach Walker on the phone a while ago and he said that he was going to be pushing for an offer for me. I went to that camp there and wanted an offer, so it was exciting and it was a relief when they finally offered me."

While on his visit, Hilliard got to meet a pair of UCLA commits, quarterback Richard Brehaut and linebacker Todd Golper. He also saw fellow Hawaii native Stan Hasiak on the visit.

"Richard was really cool, I got to meet his family and we sat next to them on the trip. I talked to Stan on Saturday night before he committed and he was just telling me why he was committing. Richard was saying that the program is on its way up and they need guys like me to get there," said Hilliard.

Hilliard has been able to discuss his recruitment with his teammate, and close friend, Manti Teo, who is one of the elite linebacker prospects nationally.

"It's funny, when we started intermediate school, we weren't really friends, but as we went to school together, and played together, we've become close friends and we've been able to go through the process together and talk about it with each other. It would be cool to play with him in college, but we know we've got a great future either way," said Hilliard.

So now Hilliard returns to the Islands with another week before his impending decision, and one final trip.

"I've enjoyed the process but I'm getting ready to get it over with," said Hilliard.


Bruin Report Online Top Stories