- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
Missouri City (Texas) Thurgood Marshall outside linebacker Deon Hollins Jr. has been committed to UCLA since March.
And while the Bruins coaches might not be thrilled with the ESPN 150 prospect's decision to take other visits, Hollins said they understand how important it is to him.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Hollins did that this past weekend, as the four-star linebacker officially visited Utah.
"I liked it a whole lot," Hollins said. "It exceeded my expectations just as a place in general. Their emphasis in terms of the professors and how nice they were...that's the first place that I've gone to that the professors seemed really down to earth. I liked that a whole lot."
Hollins was hosted by fellow Lone Star State product Jacoby Hale, a sophomore defensive end from Beaumont (Texas) Central. Hollins also got to visit some more with a coach he has established a good relationship with, Utah safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Morgan Scalley.
"He's a real energetic guy," Hollins said. "I don't think I've ever met anybody like him before. He's different but he's just an absolute joy to be around."
Now Hollins will turn his attention to the school he's committed to, UCLA. His official visit there is scheduled for this upcoming weekend and he would like to get to know some of the players in his class that he's not as familiar with.
"Just go out with some of the other players, talk to some more players on the team and see how they are," Hollins said.
UCLA envisons Hollins competing for playing time early, he said.
"They intend for me not to redshirt," Hollins said. "They want me to come in with the mindset to compete for time right off the bat."
That's something that Hollins likes.
"I would like the opportunity," he said. "I would like to know that there's an opportunity."
After the UCLA visit, Hollins said he is considering visiting either Notre Dame or Arizona State on Jan. 25.
"The players at Utah just reiterated what I had already said," Hollins said. "A lot of them took a lot of trips just to make sure that place was right for them. You can't be sure unless you have something to compare and contrast. A lot of times coaches get mad at players that take other visits but I think it's a necessity."
Hollins also said Utah helped itself in his eyes during his visit.
"I think they really did," he said. "There's not a whole lot of places that I would actually considering going to college. I'm not taking a visit just to take one. But I really think Utah showed me a whole lot and I really liked the visit."
545dSam Khan Jr. and Max Olson