"The fact that I got offers from all of those California schools showed me I had to get out there, so I made the whole California trip into one big swoop," said Brendel. "The rank of the schools, they are all really high. I was intrigued by those schools, their location and I love the weather, I mean, who doesn't? And the academics were excellent."
From those three schools, Brendel set a pecking order.
"UCLA out of the trip, was the best out of the three," said Brendel. "Cal was second and Stanford was third. It was a really hard decision to pick between Cal and UCLA, but there was a big difference in location, and secondly, in the head coach. Coach (Rick) Neuheisel is very passionate about what he was doing."
Then came Brendel's interaction with UCLA offensive line coach Bob Palcic.
"Coach Palcic definitely played a big role," said Brendel. "He came by the school during the spring when all the coaches made their big swing. And when he recruited me, he did it differently than everyone else. He told me, ‘This is what we have, this is what we can offer you, if it doesn't interest you, we'll move on to the next guy.' And I thought, ‘It does interest me.' He was really straight forward and I liked that."
So Brendel initially committed to UCLA last week when he spoke with Palcic then sealed it with Neuheisel earlier this week.
"I actually committed last week to Coach Palcic," said Brendel. "It was official then, but just due to Coach Neuheisel being out of the country, I couldn't get a hold of him until he came back. So I finally got a chance to talk with him about it."
Brendel emphasized his relationship with Palcic as being a big reason the Bruins secured his verbal.
"I'd been recruited mostly by Coach Palcic and I'd call him up a lot and see what was going on," said Brendel. "It's really been a nice few months that I've known him."
Brendel said his future position with the Bruins will keep him inside.
"It's kind of either guard or center, they just don't know yet for sure, but they know I can snap," said Brendel.
Brendel said his mother was fully on board with UCLA.
"She just wants me to go to the school that I like, that fits me best," said Brendel. "She was with me when I visited them and she said it herself ‘I like UCLA.' So that's something that always helps, to have an open-minded mom."
Brendel said he doesn't plan to take any official visits, yet, but things could change.
"Right now, no, I'm not planning to visit anyone officially. I'm pretty much going to take my official visit to UCLA and that will be it. I leave on Thursday to visit my dad who lives in Wisconsin and he'll take me up around the Big Ten area but it's really pointless. Honestly, unless someone like Texas offers me, I'm not looking around. And even that, I don't want to be a little fish in a big pond. I mean, if they haven't offered me yet, and I wasn't on their list, I would be a back-up plan at best. I really don't want to be that guy, that's just 'Well, this guy is ahead of you, and he went to Oklahoma, so we had to offer you.' I want to go where I'm their priority," said Brendel.
Brendel said he's hoping to see the Bruins when they come to Austin this fall to play Texas and wants to do his official visit during the season. He admitted that he was disappointed the potential Pac-16 never happened, but that did pique his interest in the California schools.
"I'll probably get tickets for the UCLA-Texas game, and it will be really interesting to see how they both are this year," said Brendel. "All the talk about the Pac-16 and the Big 12, that helped me out with the whole traveling thing, even though it didn't happen. The Big 12 thing is a whole mess."