Griffiths Talks About UCLA Decision

American River (Calif.) College offensive lineman Casey Griffiths, who committed to UCLA earlier this week, talks about how the process moved so quickly with the Bruins...

American River (Calif.) College offensive lineman Casey Griffiths (6-5, 295) was fully set on returning to ARC next fall, playing his sophomore season, and seeing what colleges came by and expressed interest in him.

A full qualifier out of Roseville (Calif.) Woodcreek, Griffiths was lightly recruited out of high school, so he went to American River to try and get some exposure.

"My plan was to go there for one year, and since I was fully qualified, leave after one year," said Griffiths. "But I didn't have any offers because most schools thought I was coming back."

A visit from UCLA in the spring to the school got things rolling, slowly, but then a road trip down to Westwood with some friends picked the interest up.

"Two of my coaches, Coach (Jerry) Haflich and Coach (Mike) Black, played with Angus McClure (UCLA's Director of On-Campus Recruiting) and told me to call them up and visit the school. It all ended up happening so fast. I came home and talked about it with my parents, because after I didn't have any offers, I was planning to come back for my sophomore year."

Surprisingly, the decision wasn't as easy as it would appear.

"I'm a really loyal guy and I'm a captain of our team, so I thought it was important to come back," said Griffiths. "But after talking it over with my family and my coaches, they said this was a great opportunity for me, so I committed to UCLA."

And now things will really pick up, with Griffiths planning to get into his car on Monday and drive down to Westwood and start working out with the players, ready to participate in fall practice.

"They had some of their scholarships open up with some injuries to their offensive linemen, and they needed someone to come in," said Griffiths. "Right now, they're telling me they want me to play guard. I played tackle in high school and guard last year, so I can play both, but they want me as a guard for now."

Schools like Notre Dame, USC, Hawaii and Oregon came by during the spring to check out Griffiths, but it seemed like another year of JC ball was on the agenda.

So even he was surprised with how the UCLA recruitment worked out.

"I was kind of a late bloomer and was only really recruited by Sacramento State and Montana State out of high school, so I thought I'd play another year but I ended up having a good season and UCLA liked what they saw. I never expected it thought. It was something I had hoped would happen, but I never expected it."

Griffiths said he's not familiar with any of the current UCLA players, but is very familiar with fellow JC transfer Darius Bell, who American River played against in December in their bowl game.

"Knowing how good our secondary was before that game and then watching the way he tore them up, I have nothing but respect for what he can do," said Griffiths. "He's a great player and I look forward to playing with him."

Griffiths said he's eager to get situated at UCLA.

"They sound like they want me to come in and play right away, so I'm going in with that mindset," said Griffiths. "It will be fun, playing Texas and some of those other games. I'm looking forward to it."

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