Shortly after committing to UCLA this weekend, four-star JUCO OL Jermaine Eluemunor spoke with BruinSportsReport.com about his pledge.
Can you explain why you decided to commit to UCLA?
Eluemunor: "Well, I was in Cali and Westwood this weekend for my official. And I went down there and I just expected to be amazed really. I went down there and it was really cool. The campus was everything I expected and more and the coaches were everything I expected and more. But a big reason for me committing is because the players. Just seeing how close they were and how cool they were with each other, and like how the people on campus treated the athletes, they were really cool and were really friendly. It's just a really friendly environment down there. I liked it a lot."
What role did Adrian Klemm play in this commitment?
Eluemunor: "The way he coaches - it's one thing to coach the O-line, but it's another to have actually played the position and play it at the highest level for a long time. And he's young too. He really knows what to do and how to develop linemen. I'm guessing that's why he's getting all the best linemen in the country. It's really cool, he knows everything and he knows - when he came to my spring game, I'm still raw, and as soon as he spoke to me over the phone, he told me right away the things I was doing wrong and the things he can help me develop. That was really cool.
"Another big reason I committed to UCLA was Xavier Su'a-Filo. From what I heard, he's really good, and it'd be great to learn from him because he's one of the best linemen in the country. Just to play next to him and learn from him while I'm playing, that's cool too. I'm a quick learner, but then to have someone with the amount of experience he has and the amount of talent he has playing next to me will make me a better player."
What was your favorite part of the visit?
Eluemunor: "My favorite part was probably going to the Rose Bowl. I liked a lot of things, but I think the best thing was the Rose Bowl. Seeing how beautiful that was and the area, and going inside the stadium and walking around - it was crazy. I liked that a lot. I kind of knew before I went on my official that I wanted to go to UCLA, so I just went up there and I needed to see if it was the right fit for me and if it felt like home, and it was perfect."
What was Klemm's reaction when you told him you were committing?
Eluemunor: "It was a funny thing. We were driving to the airport and he didn't know I committed. I had told coach Courtney Morgan that I committed. And coach Klemm didn't know. So we were getting up to the airport, and he was like, 'I hope it works out. If it doesn't work out, then that's still cool, you can come over and we'll still talk and I hope it works out.' And he was real sad and stuff because he didn't know if I was going to come there. And then he said coach Mora was real stressed out because he didn't know if I was going to come there. And then he dropped me off and he was like, 'All right I'll talk to you soon.' And then I'm going in there and getting my plane ticket in the airport, and he hits me up and is like, 'Did you commit?' With a high-pitch voice. And I was like 'Yeah, you didn't know that? You didn't get my text?' And he was like, 'No, I didn't get it. Wait, wait, wait, you really committed?' And I was like, 'Yeah.' And he was like, 'I didn't even know!' He was all excited and stuff."
Could you summarize how and why you came over from England a few years ago?
Eluemunor: "I came over to America because I wanted a change. I always wanted to come over here and play football, and I just wanted to move. In England, I didn't think there was anything for me. But America had everything I wanted. So when I moved over, I literally started from the bottom. I had nothing. I didn't have a house - I just lived with my aunt and I was like an outsider. And it was difficult at first. But I started playing football. And in high school, I had big dreams and big expectations for myself and I knew what I could do. But I didn't have any offers coming out of high school, and it was really hard. I at least expected to get one offer. I didn't have anything.
"So my coach found Lackawanna C.C. for me, so I went to Lackawanna and people were still doubting me. They were saying I wasn't going to do anything and it was a waste of my time and I wasn't going to do anything up there. They were thinking I was going to be a bust - I was going to be a disappointment and things like that. So I worked my ass off during the summer with my coaches at my high school during the summer and then I went up there and worked my butt off too. And I'm happy where I'm at right now, but I know that this is just the now. As soon as I get to UCLA in January, this is all going to start again. I'm going to have to start from the bottom and work my way to the top. Because my goal is to be the best lineman in the country after my first year. That's my goal. I'm going to work my butt off to do that."
Are there any players you try to model your game after?
Eluemunor: "I try to model myself after Joe Thomas, Joe Staley, Johnathan Ogden, Orlando Pace; I try to model myself a lot after current guys like Trent Williams and Russell Okung. I try to model myself after them. Their technique is perfect and they're some of the best linemen in the NFL, so I try to model myself off of them."
What are you better at, pass block or run block?
Eluemunor: "I would say run blocking right now. But I like pass blocking more than run blocking because I get to - it's more competitive. I'm always going against a really good outside rusher and a quick guy. So it's more fun for me to pass block. I'm better at run blocking, but I have more fun pass blocking."
Will you be taking more visits, and if so, how solid is your commitment to UCLA?