Five-star running back Soso Jamabo committed to UCLA on National Signing Day, picking the Bruins over Texas.
Jamabo, the No. 1 player in Texas and No. 22 overall player in the country, according to Rivals.com, is a huge get for UCLA coach Jim Mora. The running back joins Josh Rosen, Rivals.com’s No. 1 quarterback in the country, and defensive end Keisean Lucier-South as the Bruins’ trio of five-star signees.
Jamabo told ESPNU his relationship with UCLA’s other blue-chip prospects -- specifically Rosen -- helped solidify his commitment.
“I text him on a weekly basis,” Jamabo said of Rosen. “He’s obviously the best quarterback in the country, and I’ve developed a great relationship with him.”
Jamabo picked UCLA over Texas, which serves as a big blow to head coach Charlie Strong’s second recruiting class in Austin. Strong has been working to rebuild the program’s reputation in the state, so losing out on Texas’s top prospect has to hurt. Reports this week indicated Jamabo was leaning towards the Bruins, though he sent out a tweet that seemed to offer a bit of hope for Longhorn fans.
Haven't answered to reporters in weeks but they still have stories on me...Funny how that works— Soso Jamabo (@Soso_Jamabo1) February 3, 2015
Nevertheless, Jamabo opted to leave the Lone Star State, becoming the second marquee prospect of the day to pick UCLA (No. 1 tight end Chris Clark chose the Bruins earlier Wednesday morning). Jamabo is a much-needed addition to Mora’s latest class as rival USC is set to secure a top-five class in the country. He fielded offers from national powers like Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon and Michigan while also dominating interest from his home state schools. Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor all offered the 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete, who runs a 4.55 40-yard dash.
Jamabo will join a Bruins offense that loses only one starter (quarterback Brett Hundley) and returns running back Paul Perkins, who rushed for 1,575 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014. Though Rivals.com lists Jamabo as a running back, the recruit told ESPN that he’s open to other options at UCLA.
“Wherever I fit best,” Jamabo said. “A lot of people think I can be a receiver, a lot of people think I can be a running back.”
Jamabo should be fun to watch during his UCLA career. He jokingly listed University of Phoenix and ITT Tech among his list of finalists in recent weeks. For now, he’s the next big building block for Mora and UCLA as the Bruins work to contend in the Pac-12.