Ciaccio decides to walk-on at Pac 10 school

About a month ago, put out a profile of then-Saddleback S Michael Ciaccio (6-1, 200) and how the recruiting process was treating him. In our story we noted that Cal and UCLA had inquired about him leaving this summer and this week the athletic safety decided to leave and make his dream come true by playing Pac 10 football.

"I've decided to head to UCLA after I finish my classes this summer," Ciaccio told early on Thursday. "It all just felt right for me. From a football standpoint and from the academic standpoint it's just the best fit for me.

"Coach (Karl) Dorrell and I have been talking for the past four weeks and he said if I came in this fall and walked on, then next spring I will have a chance to compete for a scholarship and if I just keep doing what I've been doing for the past year then I should have a good chance at earning a full-scholarship."

As a freshman in 2006, Ciaccio put up outstanding numbers – starting every game and posting 75 tackles (third on the team), 11 passes broken up, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one sack. He was named to the All-Mission Conference team and was also named the Defensive MVP of the National Bowl (a 30-28 win over Palomar).

"Being a part of the Saddleback program was amazing and I'm so lucky that I had the coaches that I had here," Ciaccio said. "They are the best coaches I have ever had and they taught me so much about football and how to become a better player.

"Me leaving early isn't a reflection of how I felt about being here or that I hated my time here. Actually, it was the exact opposite because I loved my time here, but I just felt like I needed to get to UCLA as soon as possible to really have a chance to earn playing time."

In addition to the recruiting efforts of California and UCLA, Ciaccio was getting heavy interest from Kansas, Oregon, Arizona State, Nevada, Wyoming and Missouri.

"People have been sorta telling me I should stay because I could earn a bunch of scholarships with my play and what I can do," Ciaccio said. "But I just felt like none of them could really offer me what UCLA could from an academic and football standpoint.

"It's also close to home and my parents are really excited that I will be able to realize my dream and get to do it at such a fantastic school."

Ciaccio recently received his full acceptance to UCLA and will finish his three summer school courses in July and will then report to the Bruins on August 5th for the start of fall camp.

He'll have four years to play three and said he plans to major in Political Science with an eye on possibly attending law school down the road.

Michael Ciaccio Scout Profile

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