Justyn Martin is headed to his dream school.
The senior quarterback recruit, ranked within the top 10 at he position by SI All-American, announced his commitment to UCLA Thursday evening. Before going public with the pick on CBS Sports, the Inglewood (Calif.) High School star detailed why he picked the Bruins over Michigan and Ole Miss.
It was Chip Kelly's race to lose heading into a weekend official visit to Los Angeles, his second trip of the month, and the trip went down without a hiccup.
"It's a dream come true just to be able to play for my city and play where I’m from," Martin told Max Torres. "It’s a great opportunity and I'm glad I get to do it.
"I kind of saw everything I needed to see on the visit and felt comfortable. It really just wrapped everything up for me. I just feel like if football doesn't work out I'll still have a great spot to land on. The academics are good, the offense fits me and I like what I see."
Playing for Kelly was a big part of the pick.
"He really puts his players in a position to be successful," Martin said. "He knows how to run an offense. That’s what I'm there for and that’s what I like. His track record shows he’s successful with it."
The Bruins have had high highs in 2021 on the field in an offense long commanded by Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The potential future face of the program sees himself in the thick of the race to replace DTR when the time comes.
"Dorian’s been pretty successful against high-level teams," he said. "That’s pretty much all I need to see is that the quarterback in that system is successful. He’s projected to be gone next year so there’s gonna be a competition.
"I’ll play when I'm ready and be in a good offensive system."
In addition to the Kelly pitch in Martin's recruitment, quarterbacks coach Ryan Gunderson has developed a strong relationship with the newest Bruin passer. He was recently in to see the senor in action, one of the final coaching visits received before the decision.
The relationship between the two precedes their paths crossing in Westwood, however.
"He had offered me at San Jose State when he was there," Martin said. "He saw me at school my sophomore year. I kind of had a connection with him already and it carried over to UCLA."
Staying local will allow the new Bruin class headliner to continue playing with multiple Inglewood Sentinel teammates already committed to UCLA like defensive back Clint Stephens in the 12-man class.
"I get to play with my running back, TJ (Tomarion Harden), Jaydn Marshall, got two really good tight ends (Jack Pederson, Carsen Ryan)," he said. "It's a pretty solid class."
Of course Martin was set to be a member of the Cal-Berkeley class before opening the recruiting process up this fall. He was committed to the Bears for more than eight months but the change had a lot to do with the ability to get out and see campuses following the pandemic-laden restrictions in place when he made the initial decision.
"I really realized I should take this time to just look at everything thoroughly and see everything before I just make a decision," he said. "When I made my decision the first time it was during COVID, I didn't even get to see the coaches in person. Now I get to see everybody in person, see how they practice and play. I just wanted to take everything from there."
After having the chance to take in UCLA football firsthand this past weekend, in addition to an unofficial trip for a game visit a few weeks earlier, the trajectory of the program has his attention.
"I see a program going in the right direction," Martin said. "They have a pretty extensive schedule and they play pretty good teams and are successful against those teams. Only going to get better from here."
The 6'4", 210-pound signal caller took an unusual path towards his final collegiate destination, but isn't looking back. He is clear about what should be vetted by a prospect with such a critical task at hand.
"Take everything into account," Martin said. "Take as many visits as you can, see everything in person. Really just try to get as much out of the recruiting process before you settle down and make a decision."
After he finishes up his senior season with Inglewood High, Martin plans to sign with the Bruins in December and enroll at UCLA in January. He has led IHS to an 8-0 start in 2021, scoring more than 37 points per game along the way.
Select quotes courtesy of Max Torres of Ducks Digest on the Fan Nation Network