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August 22, 2011The Bruins were able to take a good long look at fast rising cornerback Justin Combs (5-9, 170) from New Rochelle (N.Y.) Iona Prep. Combs took an unofficial visit to UCLA on Wednesday stuck around until Saturday and took in UCLA's scrimmage. He left the scrimmage extremely excited.
"Today (August 20) I went to the UCLA scrimmage and it was great," Combs said. "I talked to the head coach and just gave me the great news that I was being offered.
"I just felt blessed and thankful because it is something that as a kid I wanted to be able to play big time football," Combs said. "It's like a blessing to be able to go to school for free and actually be able to play football at the same time so I am blessed for all of my offers.
"This one (UCLA) is special," Combs said. "It's near my dad, he lives out there, so it was good and I was very excited.
"The campus was great," Combs said. "I went on my tour on Wednesday and went on it with the head coach (Rick Neuheisel).
"I loved it," Combs said. "The campus is just amazing.
"Coach Neuheisel is awesome," Combs said. "The way he interacts with the players and the way he is as a person.
"We were able to talk on the tour and I was able to get to know him a little bit better over the past week and I went to the scrimmage, so I was able to spend time with him" Combs said. "He's a really good person, we get along great."
As a junior, Combs earned all-league after accounting for three interceptions. His overall stats were unavailable, but tape shows a player who is not afraid to mix it up in run support and makes plays on the ball while it is in the air.
A hard worker, Combs put in the time this offseason to improve his game and not only has his recruitment move upward, but he just earned a spot in the initial U.S. Marine Corps All-Star game to be held in Arizona this January, a testimony to his rising stock.
"It's just a blessing," Combs said. "I have worked very hard this summer going to different places training and now everything is coming back full circle. I'm just blessed at this point."
Besides UCLA, Combs has offers Illinois, UAB, Virginia, Mid Tennessee, Tennessee Tech and Wyoming.
UCLA is all the way cross country from where Combs calls home. Will distance from home be factor when he makes his decision.
"I still have to talk to my mom," Combs said. "Just let her know and she will be a little sad that her baby is going to move away if I went to a school like UCLA.
"At first she kind of wanted me to go to a school near home," Combs said. "Now it doesn't really matter, but that's going to weigh into my decision when I make it."
What is Combs looking for in a college?
"Academics, great football tradition, great campus, great people and somewhere I can live," Combs said. "When you think about it, you're going to be there, all of your summers and four to five years of your life. You have to be able to live there and be able to deal with the people for that time.
"So somewhere I can live, like I said a good football tradition and a good coaching staff, great players," Combs said. "Just a good environment to learn and play football."
UCLA offensive coordinator, Mike Johnson has also had a hand in Combs recruitment for the Bruins.
"Coach Johnson is great," Combs said. "He's very enthusiastic and a great coach.
"I watched him in action," Combs said. "He's just a great coach."
Combs likes every school that has offered him and he has some things to think about. He wants to sit down and talk to his parents so there is no exact time table when Combs will make his decision.