CLOSTER, N.J. -- After rushing and passing for more than 10,000 total yards for Old Tappan High School, Devin Fuller announced at his 18th birthday party in front of about 100 of his family and friends at a restaurant in Closter, N.J., he will be headed to UCLA next season.
“I felt like it was the best fit for me, with the offense they run, the coach, coach (Jim Mora) believes in me a lot,” Fuller said. “I have family out there and the last thing was the beautiful weather.
“I just felt most comfortable there. I felt like I was already part of the family.”
In choosing UCLA, Fuller passed up on 31 other scholarship offers including Rutgers and Arizona, the two other schools that he narrowed his decision down to. Afterward Fuller explained that Rutgers was his favorite school for a while until head coach Greg Schiano left the school.
“I don't know what the new coach is going to run,” Fuller said. “Me and coach Schiano talked about offense and incorporating stuff that I do best in it. When coach Schiano left, I didn't know if my job as the quarterback was still in play. I couldn't talk to the head coach about what he was going to do because they didn't have one.”
Fuller went on to explain he had considered waiting to make his announcement until Rutgers’ coaching vacancy was filled, but ultimately decided that UCLA had too much to offer.
“At Rutgers, they didn't have a coach and at that point they were out,” he said. “So it came down to UCLA and Arizona, and I have family 10 minutes away from UCLA, so in the end that's what it came down to.”
It was also important for Fuller to grow as a quarterback. He has a good arm, but he rushed for nearly as many yards in the past two seasons, 3,632, as he did passing, 4,091. He believes UCLA will be the best fit for him to be able to avoid getting trapped as a one-dimensional quarterback.
“(UCLA’s coach Jim Mora) is really the guy that can develop Devin as a quarterback,” Devin’s father Bart Fuller said. “He does a lot of stuff out west with prep of NFL guys, preparing them for the combines. He picked the right teacher and educator to help him.”
Fuller also talked about getting a chance to prove himself. With a pair of senior quarterbacks, he likely won’t start for UCLA next season, but as he understands it, he will be given the opportunity to try to win the job as a sophomore.
After finishing rounds of interviews with reporters, Fuller was more relieved than anything that the process is over. He explained that this recruiting process was hectic. Not only did he get offers from 32 schools and spoke with dozens more, but coaching changes at UCLA and Rutgers as well as controversy at Penn State, another school he strongly considered, meant that this was not a typical recruitment process.
“The intensifying of phone calls over the last 30 days and then two weeks, he just wanted to get it over with,” his father said. “I can see it now. It's a weight off his shoulder.”