Powell staying close to home

It took a few more days than expected, but Upland (Calif.) athlete Christian Powell committed to UCLA on Friday.

“I just called up Coach [Jim] Mora and committed, I’m a Bruin,” Powell said. “I was leaning that way pretty heavily after visiting last week but just wanted to be sure. I’m very excited about this and it’s a great opportunity for me. I had a great visit and had all my questions answered, and I actually had a lot.

“I mainly wanted to know what my role in the offense would be. I know Coach [Noel] Mazzone has never used a fullback much in his offense before. I had people telling me that he didn’t use one at ASU, but they told me they’ll be running a lot of pro sets and run multiple offenses. The biggest thing Coach Mora told me was, ‘why would we want to use a scholarship on you if we didn’t plan to use you.’ That made a lot of sense to me and I’m ready to go.”

Powell took his official visit to UCLA this past weekend after also visiting Washington, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Colorado. It came down to the Bruins and Buffs, despite a late push from Powell’s early favorite, USC.

“I liked USC a lot early, I camped with them and everything,” Powell said. “They recruited me all year but with limited scholarships, I knew it would be tough to get an offer. They called my coaches earlier in the week and said they wanted to offer me at defensive tackle and wanted to see if I had any interest.

“I thought about it, but in my head, I had already decided on UCLA. I just felt a real good connection there with the players and coaches and I think long term, fullback is a better fit for me than defensive tackle. They don’t really even have a true fullback on the roster right now so I’m looking to come in and compete for playing time right away. This is a great opportunity for me and my mom is especially excited too because she loved UCLA and loves the academics of course.”