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.”