Willis officially sends letter of intent

Defensive back Priest Willis officially joined UCLA’s 2013 recruiting class Saturday, calming anyone who worried about a last-minute defection. A star at Marcos De Niza High in Tempe, Ariz., Willis is the Bruins’ most highly rated recruit: Scout.com has him as a five-star prospect and the fourth-best cornerback in the country, while Rivals.com ranks him as a four-star safety and No. 56 overall in the country.

He had committed to UCLA in a press conference on Jan. 23, just hours after his friend Tahaan Goodman — a four-star safety out of Rancho Cucamonga — had done the same. However, Willis’ mother left town for a few days this week and had neglected to sign his National Letter of Intent; that left his paperwork out of the 23 faxes that the Bruins received Wednesday.

UCLA should now vault back into the top 10 of the Rivals.com rankings; the site had dropped the team to No. 11 because Willis didn’t send his letter in on National Signing Day.

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Priest Willis commits to UCLA

UCLA could have its best recruiting class in at least a decade. Defensive back Priest Willis, ranked a five-star cornerback by Scout.com and a four-star safety by rivals, committed to the Bruins this evening — giving the team two elite additions to its secondary in one day.

With defensive linemen Kylie Fitts and Eddie Vanderdoes still on the horizon between now and Feb. 6, UCLA could easily have a top-five class. The Bruins reeled in Scout.com’s No. 5 class in 2009, but Rivals.com had that haul at No. 14. That ranking also hinged on five-star tight end Morrell Presley, a bust who was later arrested for burglary after leaving the team. None of the recruits this year have that sort of baggage.

Scout and Rivals haven’t both doled out top-five rankings to UCLA since at least 2002, the end of their recruiting class archives. The Bruins were ranked seventh and ninth that year, with the biggest haul being Marcedes Lewis.

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Defensive back Priest Willis announcing tomorrow

Elite defensive back Priest Willis will announce his college decision Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT. The press conference will take place at Marcos De Niza High in Tempe, Ariz., with UCLA being the presumptive favorite over LSU. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound prospect is rated a four-star safety by Rivals.com and a five-star cornerback by Scout.com.

Willis was on campus with four-star safety Tahaan Goodman this past weekend, which bodes well for the Bruins’ chance at getting the Rancho Cucamonga prospect too. Goodman originally planned to visit LSU.

UPDATE: Goodman will also announce tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. In less than 24 hours, UCLA’s top-10 class could vault past USC’s on both Scout.com and Rivals.com for the first time since 2002, when the Bruins landed Marcedes Lewis. UCLA is currently No. 9 and 10 on Scout and Rivals, while the Trojans are No. 10 and 7, respectively.

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