Willie Mobley, the 6-foot-2, 263-pound four-star defensive end from Eden Prairie, Minn., is enjoying the remaining moments of his summer vacation in California where he has been the past week.
"I flew in last Monday and I leave on the 20th," Mobley said. "I have family in Orange County so I stayed with them, but I spent most of my time visiting UCLA. It's just so different from Minnesota. It's so diverse. That's probably the biggest difference between Los Angeles and the Midwest. L.A. is so ethnically diverse. I met people from Honduras and it was great getting to know about different cultures and stuff. I really like that.
"UCLA also has really good academics and are a well-respected school overall," said Scout.com's No. 19 defensive end. "I think they'll do well this year, but it's not about the record. That's probably the last thing I'll look at."
Mobley, ranked No. 24 in the Midwest by Scout.com, admits that playing time will be a more significant factor in his decision. "I want to have a chance to play as a sophomore," he said. "Playing as a freshman is like a "thank you God" thing, and that doesn't matter to me. But I want to work hard and get physically ready to compete and play my sophomore year."
Although Mobley denies a leader, he favors UCLA, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa, but emphasizes that's not necessarily his final list. "I hope to have my top five set by the middle of the season," Mobley said. "I should have my trips set up a couple games in."
Mobley has over 20 scholarship offers, however UCLA is still not one of them. "I'm going through the academic admissions with them right now," Mobley said. "UCLA is a little different from normal schools when it comes to that, but I'll know for sure within the next month."
Some of Mobley's offers include Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona, Kansas State, Hawaii, Iowa State, Kentucky and others.
Despite visiting the Bruins twice during the summer, Mobley says that Ohio State is recruiting him the hardest. "They are doing everything to the fullest," he said. "They are really open and down-to-earth. It's also a college town and I love their history and tradition."
The only other school besides UCLA that Mobley has visited is Iowa. "The coaches there are great and it's just a very laid-back place," Mobley said. "The people are really friendly and very supportive there. They have great fans."
While Mobley hasn't visited Wisconsin yet, he says he was really impressed by their 2006 campaign. "They did really well last season and are always a top team," Mobley said. "They have a great defense and I like their coaches a lot too."
Eden Prairie plays their first game on August 30 (Thursday) against Jefferson High School in Bloomington.
He reports a 2.7 core GPA and is retaking the ACT in September. "I'm fine, but I just want to keep my test score confidential. I'll take it again to see if I can do better."