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August 22, 2011
P Diddy once sang "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" and it seems as if his son, Justin Combs, could be following in his father's footsteps.
The New Rochelle (N.Y.) Iona Prep cornerback was recently offered by UCLA, which means one of entertainment's biggest moguls could have his son playing college football in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
"(Saturday) I went to the UCLA scrimmage and it was great," Combs told BruinBlitz.com. "I talked to the head coach (Rick Neuheisel) and (he) 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. 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 is special. It's near my dad, he lives out there, so it was good and I was very excited."
Sean "Diddy" Combs is the well-known and ultra-successful rapper, record producer, actor, fashion designer and entrepreneur who earned fame in the 1990s and early 2000s alongside Notorious B.I.G, Mase, Lil' Kim and other rap artists in New York. Since then he has expanded his brand to achieve worldwide fame.
He has since turned that notoriety into an estimated worth of about $475 million, according to a survey by Forbes magazine this year. It now seems his son, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound prospect, has started on his own successful journey as well.
So far, UCLA, Illinois, Virginia, Middle Tennessee State, UAB, Wyoming and Tennessee Tech have offered Combs, who impressed Rivals.com Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt at the BadgerSport 7-on-7 tournament last spring in Pittsburgh.
"He showed good speed and athleticism but what really stood out about his game was the intensity with which he competes," Helmholdt said. "At 5-9 and 170 pounds, Combs is undersized, but he is always willing to stick his nose into a play and does not back down against bigger receivers.
"Combs has good ball skills and came up with three or four interceptions over the course of the weekend. Most impressive was his attitude and work ethic. He was constantly being targeted by opposing players because of his father's notoriety but kept his mouth shut and let his play do the talking."
As expected, Combs' unofficial visit to UCLA last weekend did not go without fanfare. NBA players Baron Davis and Russell Westbrook, along with Diddy himself, were photographed by Kevin Love on Twitter in a UCLA classroom.
UCLA freshman wide receiver Devin Lucien posted a picture on his Facebook page of Combs and his famous father taking a picture with players on the team. Lucien, a former four-star receiver from Encino (Calif.) Crespi, said he was "star struck" by the experience.
"Also got to have a full conversation with Baron Davis, Keyshawn (Johnson) and P. Diddy about UCLA and coming along as a freshman," Lucien wrote. "When you see three people who are huge celebrities call you over to talk to you is when you are star struck. I honestly couldn't blink. (It was a) great experience."
The fanfare surrounding Combs' visit was understandable but since he's lived the celebrity life - in a similar way to Master P and his son Lil Romeo, who played basketball at USC - Combs also wanted to see if UCLA would be a good fit for him. He wanted the real-life recruiting experience.
A chance to talk with Neuheisel during the school tour could help Combs, who had three interceptions in his junior season, with his decision-making process.
"I loved it," Combs told BruinBlitz.com. "The campus is just amazing. Coach Neuheisel is awesome. 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. He's a really good person. We get along great."
Before Combs makes his decision, he said he'll have to sit down with his parents to talk things over. For everyone else, sitting down with P Diddy could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For Combs, it's simply talking to dad.