Ishmael Adams on his commitment to UCLA

Just got off the phone with new UCLA defensive back commit Ishmael Adams, and the intelligent – and highly talented – young player had some interesting things to say about his decision to commit to UCLA on Monday.

JG: What made you decide to verbally commit to UCLA today?
Ishmael Adams: “I prayed about it, talked it over with my family, and weighed the pros and cons about the two schools – Cal and UCLA. It just felt right to go with UCLA. I did it early to see if I can convince some players to change the program around with me.”

JG: Halfway through your senior year, UCLA switches coaches on you – how did that affect your recruitment?
Adams: “My uncle has a great connection with Keyshawn Johnson, and he’s close with Jim Mora Jr.; he knew aout him,and gave my uncle some good feedback. Coach (Bill) Redell knew Jim Mora’s dad, and he’s known Jim since he was little. I got good information and feedback from Coach Redell, and those are people who really helped me make my decision. It wasn’t too big of a difference with the coaching staff – it was the players they have. I made connections. Those connections helped me make the decision, and they’re excited about building the program up and making changes and building a class now to help.”

JG: You are very active on Twitter discussing your recruitment, especially vocal with other uncommitted players; how has that kind of communication changed just in the few years of your recruitment?
Adams: “You really, truly want to have a great class. Those are the guys you’re playing with for four years. If you don’t feel comfortable with them now, how are you supposed to for four years? Making those bonds you make during trips, during the summer – those really help, especially if you make connections with top players. Bryce was always in my ear about going to Cal which had some influence. It really comes down to where a few players are going, and does that program also fit you? It’s really changed a lot even since the very beginning for me.”

JG: Does your role change now that you’re committed?
Adams: “I’m looking to help change the program around. It was on a downfall, but I’m looking to bring it back up with this recruiting class. We have a chance to come in and showcase our talent and our coache’s talent . I’m really excited about thsi oportunity i have and the opportunity I’ll have to play early.”

JG: Was that a big factor for you?
Adams: “My brother is in college, he’s worked for everything he has. That’s where I get my strive – I always want to compete with my bro. Competing with the other guys will push me to play harder.”

JG: You’re committing at a time when UCLA only has about half of its staff complete; what about the current coaches made you comfortable enough to commit without a defensive coordinator?
Adams: “I just saw the opportunity under Coach Martin, who was my second offer, and to play under a head coach who has coached defensive backs. Those two right there – a guy who had great success with players and putting them in the draft, and with Coach Mora having 25 years of experience not only as a head coach but with defensive backs – that was enough. One who knows the college realm very well. The other with the NFL technique and knowing what it takes to get there. Everything falls in its place.”

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    Welcome Ishmael! Sounds like he is going to be a great addition to the Bruins. I love his attitude and mindset. LET’S GO BRUINS!

  • Vin

    Good questions Jon – good glimpse into what motivates what seems like a really good kid.

  • 909Bruin

    jon, can you do a similar interview with Marcus Rios????

  • Bruin Gold

    Having Jim Mora as a coach is very attractive to college recruits WITH TALENT who want to enter the NFL. Those are the type of players we need to have to be successful.

    Coach Mora’s 25 years of NFL experience is a great talking point to the serious college player.

  • ucla-of-the-rockies

    One key to a true turnaround in our football fortunes lies in whether CJM plays this kid — and others who may also prove so deserving — as true freshmen.

  • bruinbiochem06

    This is a huge pick-up that I was not expecting! Go Bruins!

  • cfcfan


    Spot on. Based on RN’s track record at UC, UW, and UCLA he either is very poor at recognizing talent or developing talent. His passion for UCLA would be better served as the AD, IMO. I’m hoping, as an NFL coach, CJM will be a big improvment in recognizing talent. That will lead to PT for the most deserving whatever year they’re in.

  • I’m excited about the current recruiting class, especially with the commits the past week. Marcus Rios and Ishmael Adams seem like two of the best additions of this class. Marcus Rios, is in Dallas right now for an All-star game and he’s vowed to continue talking up the UCLA program and will try to recruit more talent for the Bruins. This is getting very excting. UCLA, please renew my season tickets.

  • Battanpocket

    @cfcfan and @ucla-of-the-rockies Agree I remember years ago when Wooden was asked about starting young players. Wooden said, Better to have talent with no experience. Then experience and no talent. RN never understood that logic. And talented players never saw the field. I said it before. This is the best hire at UCLA since Dick Vermiel.

  • Bruintx

    I agree with much of the “spot on” comments of Rockies and others. I dont think CRN ever played the best (most deserving) players. I, along with others, heard comments over the years that the most deserving players were not always given their earned playing time. CRN put so much emphasis on experience that the most deserving players werwen’t always given their fair share of playing time (especially at WR). CRN for years made excuses that “so and so” just didnt have the experience to receive (more) playing time. That just wasnt right. I coached Little League for over 20 years and even parents had no problem with my starters if they were the most deserving players… regardless of age (9-12 years age difference). Players know those who are deserving of playing time and those who arent. I hope CJM just plays the best players regardless of age or experience.

    I know many people were not happy with the hiring of CJM, but I think even the most ardent naysayer must agree that he has pushed all the right buttons so far!

    Keep kicking ass coach JM!

  • MichaelRyerson

    Jon, I just want to know if you left him a message that said, ‘Call me, Ishmael’? What an opportunity!

  • cfcfan


    Lol, as a person whose first name is Scott I believe it is withing my rights to commit bodily harm to anyone who says “beam me up, Scotty…”. I would imagine there is some type of legal loophole for Ishmael as well!

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    This is great news!

    Battanpocket: Yes I do remember your support of the Mora hire and calling him the best since Vermeil. I was right there with you in support of Mora.

    UOTR: I hope you are feeling a little better about the hire! Still haven’t played any downs but you have to admit things are moving in the right direction, right? šŸ™‚

    MichaelRyerson: Very funny!

  • ucla-of-the-rockies

    Lifelong: Right direction? Yes, or so it seems. Appreciate your optimism during these last few weeks of football/hoops. I’ve never seen both in such a state together at the same time … I miss the Reeves who, simply put, was Pac-12 MVP-caliber after what he unleashed at Pauley vs. Arizona last year. Hell, in some crazy way, I even miss CRN, as it’s hard for me to separate the guy who needed to be fired from the guy who once walked on and become Rose Bowl MVP.
    Time always tells.
    I’m still behind CBH. And I’m looking very forward to rooting Bruin football on at Folsom Field next fall.