Whittier Christian defensive tackle Jeff Worthy was one of the premier players at UCLA’s camp on Sunday, and one of the few who will get serious looks from the Bruins.
Worthy, at 6-4, 270 pounds, was a specimen compared to most of the linemen in attendance, and his power and technique is surely something Todd Howard covets. Worthy was bullying people around – in the mode of his favorite Bruin, Brian Price – and he performed well enough to receive a scholarship offer last night.
“It was a good camp; I learned a lot,” Worthy said. “The coaches seem like they were riding me a lot harder than most of the players, and it gave me the feeling they were caring about me. It was a productive camp.”
Worthy welcomed the extra criticism, knowing full well what was at stake on Sunday. While he has some impressive scholarship offers – Nebraska, Oregon State and Boise State to name a few – he desperately wanted a UCLA offer.
He was willing to scratch and claw for it.
“The fighting aspect, the competition is crazy,” Worthy said. “You’re trying to earn a scholarship – it’s like in college, the spring practices, they’re all trying to earn a spot. They’re competing so hard, some are even fighting. Going against guys as big as me or even bigger, I had to work a lot harder. I was trying to work on my technique, because that’s what it’s all about in college.”
Worthy’s primary technique, he said, is brute force. His numbers last season – 137 tackles, 19 sacks – show, however, that he bring versatility to the table. He said he’s not really a speed guy but is quick, and he knows that’s what let Price camp in opposing backfields last season.
“I’m a different kind of player; I bring a lot of technique and strength to the table,” Worthy said. “Defensive tackle is an important spot, every play he might get a one-on-one chance. He needs to make the big plays. I think that’s saying a lot when UCLA recruits me for that position. Theyre expecting me to do a lot.”
Now he expects them to do a little more.
Worthy said he does not have a final three, but that his top three at the moment are UCLA, Nebraska and Boise State. He plans to wait until the end of the season to make his decision, and the potential conference realignments could play a factor in his, and every other recruit’s, decision.
But he’s very clear about his top priority.
“The biggest thing for me is playing time,” Worthy said. “I want to play early. Maybe my sophomore year I want to start on the team. That’s the thing I’m looking for. I just want to play.”
Here’s his profile: Jeff Worthy