Cornerback Priest Willis has received academic clearance from the NCAA, solidifying UCLA’s inexperienced secondary.
The Bruins heard the news at around 2 p.m., just a few hours before Thursday’s afternoon practice in San Bernardino. Arguably the most highly regarded of UCLA’s four freshman defensive backs, Willis has played well early on and should be a crucial piece of a secondary that returns no starters.
“He stands out,” head coach Jim Mora said. “He absolutely, positively can play corner at this level. He has the quickness. He has the burst. He’s got the length.”
– Safety Dietrich Riley is still working with the team as an undergraduate assistant. The junior had missed all of last season recovering from neck surgery, and took a medical retirement last month.
“I just think it’s important that we offer him that opportunity to see what he wants to do with his life,” Mora said. “For him to be out here with Tahaan (Goodman), with Tyler Foreman and some of those other (freshmen), it’s pretty selfless to me.
“He had big plans in terms of what his football career was gonna look like. It didn’t work out the way he wanted it. Rather than mourn, he’s just OK.” Continue reading