4-star offensive tackle Kenny Lacy has made his decision to verbally commit to play football for the UCLA Bruins, and for all intents and purposes, it appears as if he has made the right decision.
First, let's see the announcement from Lacy himself via his Twitter account:
I HAVE OFFICIALLY COMMITTED TO UCLA ON A FULL RIDE FOOTBALL SCHOLARSHIP!! BEYOND BLESSED & I THANK EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED ME THUS FAR!! 🏈🏈🏈— Kenny Lacy 7⃣6⃣ (@theREALklacy) September 10, 2012
This is a huge decision from the 6'6'', 270-pound offensive tackle, and for now it appears to be an even bigger commitment for the UCLA Bruins. Lacy is a big player, and he's sure to be a huge part of their offensive line moving into the future.
Now, I've been pretty adamant about the fact that I feel the biggest and best recruits in the nation usually make their decisions on a few key factors—the biggest factor being winning. Nobody likes to lose, especially elite competitors, and there's no doubt in my mind that any 4-star or 5-star athlete is indeed an elite competitor.
Based off that criterion alone, I didn't agree at first with Lacy committing to UCLA, especially with teams like Nebraska and Arkansas also on his list. I would generally see an SEC or Big Ten school as the better option than UCLA as far as having a chance to win big is concerned, but after this weekend I have to wonder if the tide is indeed changing.
Arkansas took a huge loss at the hands of Louisiana-Monroe and isn't even ranked now, and Nebraska went into UCLA and got beat 36-30. Talk about timing, eh?
While I still question the long-term success for UCLA with a powerhouse like USC in the Pac-12 South and Oregon and Stanford in the North, one could say the same for Arkansas in the SEC and Nebraska in a resurgent Big Ten.
Perhaps my views of UCLA football are swaying a little, but what really got me was this quote from Lacy via Greg Biggins of Scout.com:
“It was everything, I can’t name just one thing I loved about the place,” Lacy said. “The game atmosphere was great and I really like the direction the program is going in. I have a real good relationship with Coach Klemm, the OL coach, and I know he’ll push me to make me the best player I can be.
“Academics are big to me as well and UCLA has a great academic reputation. My parents came out with me too and they loved it there as well. I never expected to commit but everything just felt right there and I didn’t see the need to put it off. I’m very excited right now, I feel like there’s a weight off my back lifted and I’m excited to be a Bruin and start recruiting some other players.”
It's easy to forget, but choosing a college is much more than just football.
Lacy is going to be spending at least a few years at UCLA, so it's important that he likes the place and people around him, right? Academics are also a huge draw for many players, and that's something else we forget in today's college football environment.
As hard as it is to admit sometimes, college football is much more than winning. Check that—it should be much more than winning, and a commitment like this from Lacy proves this.
Actually, it proves that it could be a little bit of both.
It is important to note that Biggins did also report that Lacy will still visit Nebraska and Arkansas, so there's a chance they could win him back over, but for now it appears as if he has made his decision.
Believe it or not, I think it was the right one.