- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
Fresno (Calif.) Central is making a name for itself by producing multiple big-time defensive backs, but there are some big boys on the Grizzlies defense as well. One of those talented linemen is junior defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood, who holds an early offer from Nevada, but was blown away by a visit Saturday to UCLA.
"I've been to Cal and USC, but by far UCLA was the best game," Smallwood said. "The atmosphere was different. I liked it way more than the others."
Smallwood said the fans at the Rose Bowl were one of the biggest factors in making the trip a success, though the time he was able to spend with the coaches made an impact as well.
"I went into the locker room after the game and was introduced to the defensive line coach," Smallwood said of meeting Angus McClure. "They said they're going to go over my film and they said they were going to be coming after me. I asked about that [a potential offer] and they said to be patient. They have to see my grades and they want to get to know me as a person."
Smallwood was able to meet up with teammate Johnny Johnson Jr., as well as several other Fresno-area recruits, and said the visit did plenty for the Bruins in his eyes.
"UCLA has always been one of the schools I'd like to go play for," he said. "Going there for the game bumped them up a little bit. They were already one of the top choices for me and a school I'd like to take an official visit to next year."
In addition to the offer from Nevada, Smallwood said Boise State, California, Oregon State, Texas Tech and Washington are schools that have shown interest in him.