Stephens is Pumped Up

The sleeper recruit from Torrance Bishop Montgomery, <b>Jimmy Stephens</b>, is pumped about his recent commitment to UCLA. He talks about how it all came about in a recent whirlwind, and his history with USC...

Jimmy Stephens, 6-3, 230, Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery, said he has verbally committed to UCLA and he's pumped up about it.


"I committed on Saturday on my official visit," Stephens said. "There were so many things that sealed the deal for me.  Numerous things. UCLA is a whole package. When I was on the campus tour on my visit, it was such a beautiful campus. The new coaching staff is great.  When I was there, I just felt at home."


Stephens tells a pretty astounding, last-minute story on how this one-time USC fan came to be a UCLA committed prospect.


"I was a big-time USC fan," Stephens said. "I was getting recruited by SC. Then they stopped. It was right before the Notre Dame game. And the thing is, my dad is an SC alum.  So many people I know have gone to SC, or are going.  There are guys there now, like Eric Torres and (basketball players) Errick and Derrick Craven that I know from my school.  My family are SC fans, and family friends are SC fans. When they stopped recruiting me I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I was pretty mad and upset with SC at that point."


Stephens tripped to Boise State, but he said, "I kind of realized I wasn't an Idaho kid and that I wanted to go higher."


So, the tight end/h-back was then pretty resigned to going to a JC, put in two years there, and try his luck again at recruiting then.  "But about a week later, my coach, (former UCLA linebacker) Arnold Ale, asked me, ‘Would you be interested in going to UCLA? After he said that, I was hooked. I said, ‘Hell yeah.'"


Ale sent UCLA a highlight reel of Stephens' senior season, and Stephens said that UCLA told Ale they were knocked out by the tape and couldn't believe Stephens hadn't been recruited heavily.


So, it then happened pretty quickly after that. "Coach Ale, last Wednesday, asked me if I could go up to UCLA after school. I practically wanted to leave during school. But I went after school and  met coach Embree. He said that he was impressed with my highlight tape and wanted me to take an official visit. The biggest irony is that, when Toledo was coach at UCLA I received one piece of mail from UCLA. Just one. Then, they get a new coaching staff, and about two weeks ago this starts, and now it's done. It's great."


His parents, even his Trojan alumni of a dad, are very excited about their son being a Bruin. "There was no problem with me going to UCLA.  They were happy and had no reservations about it. I have to say, they've been great through this whole process."


One of the things that "sealed the deal" for Stephens on his official visit was head coach Karl Dorrell. "I was really impressed with coach Dorrell. As I was going into a meeting with him, having never met him, we started talking. And just getting into the conversation in the first couple of minutes, I knew this was a man I could have profound respect for. Even though it was the first time I had met him. That's the kind of guy he is. You can see why UCLA hired him. He's the kind of person I want to put out an effort for. You'd do the most for him."


Stephens said that UCLA mentioned how they liked his versatility, having played tight end, h-back, fullback and linebacker. "I never came out of the game this year," he said. UCLA will bring him in as a tight end. "But I could end up anywhere and that's fine with me."  Stephens measured 6-3 and weighed 230 when he was at UCLA. He said he runs a 4.7 40.


Stephens is pumped about playing at UCLA -- literally. He's already on a strict workout regimen. "I'm lifting crazy right now. I've stuck to my workouts and I'm going to even step them up.  I really want to go in to UCLA next year and be able to produce. Coach Ale and I are going to get on a workout schedule and field work. I'm going to be ready."


Stephens said he has a 2.94 GPA and scored a 1070 on his SAT.


When asked if he's going to be pumped up whenever he plays against USC, Stephens said, "It's going to be an extremely big moment in my life. It will be a real personal game."

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