Jim L. Mora’s first commitment came from 4-star cornerback Marcus Rios on December 18th, just a week after Mora was hired. Rios, a one-time Boise State commit, was a near lock to UCLA following his official visit in September and the Mora hire just solidified his decision even more.
Rios stands at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, so he will need to put on weight to compete at a Pac-12 level, but he is still one of the top-five corners on the west coast and is ranked as the No. 19 and 20 corner in the nation by Scout and Rivals.
He said he is planning to enter UCLA as an early entry student in March in time for spring practice.
Here is a quick chat that Inside UCLA Campus Correspondent Jacob Ruffman had with Rios, about his commitment.
Ruffman: You committed to Boise State in March, what was the decision to end the process so early?
Rios: “I was really comfortable with the people and the program at Boise. I actually trained with one of the cornerbacks there and it made it a little bit easier because I knew their technique and I knew what their DB coaches were asking for. I had already been down there about five or six times already and I was really familiar with them.”
JR: What made you want to look at other schools?
MR: “My dad told me that I should check out all of my options and all of my offers to make sure I was doing the right thing. Then I got to UCLA and I liked it a whole lot better and I just knew it was the place for me.”
JR: How did you handle all of the coaching changes going on at UCLA? Did that effect your decision?
MR: “The process didn’t really change. I was going to there whether Neuheisel was there or not. I wanted to go to UCLA no matter what, it didn’t really have a major effect on me.”
JR: So what are your thoughts on coach Mora?
MR: “I met coach Mora a couple of weeks ago and he seems like a really good coach. He’s coached in the NFL so I know that the program is going to change a lot and it’s going to become a lot stronger than it was in past years.”
JR: How did coach Mora and coach Martin say you were going to be used?
MR: “They want me to come in and be a major impact player at the corner position. I know that they have a few returning corners but I’m going to come in there and compete. I’m going to get there in March and work hard to earn a spot. I am open to redshirting though.”
JR: You were at the Cal State game recently, how much recruiting were you doing over there?
MR: “There were a lot of guys over there that were looking at UCLA and I was talking to Aziz (Shittu), Shaq (Thompson) and Nate (Iese) and they are all taking official visits in January.”
JR: What are you looking forward to most about getting to UCLA?
MR: “I just love the atmosphere around LA – that’s what got me the most. And school-wise, it’s a great school and a great area to live in. I know the football program is on the upswing and my family can hopefully come to every home game, so I’m just excited to be there.”