Derrick Coleman the 6-foot-0, 220-pound three-star fullback from Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif., has been committed to UCLA since June but has had an eventful past few weeks.
After the firing of UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell, Coleman said he backed off his commitment slightly. "That's when I really started looking at USC and decided to visit them," Coleman said of his Dec. 8 trip to USC.
"It was a real good trip and I was seriously considering switching to USC," he said. "It was a little weird to be at USC as a UCLA commitment because the guys kind of looked at me like 'Why are you going there? You know we win here' - but at the time I really thought about decommitting and going to USC instead."
Deciding not to pull the trigger quite yet, Coleman decided to give UCLA another chance and visited Westwood on Dec. 14. "It was a great trip," he said. "It was pretty similar to USC, but after taking the visit to UCLA I decided to stick with them.
"I think the crop of recruits coming in are gonna be great and I want to have a chance to get UCLA back on top," he said. "I really got along great with all the players there and they really made me feel at home. My host was (senior tailback) Chris Markey and I liked just chillin' in their dorms and messing around like real college students. It's gonna be fun playing against those guys (at USC) in the future. It'll be like high school because I had a lot of friends on rival teams. When you play the game it's all about business."
Although the Bruins haven't named a new head coach yet, Coleman hopes they hire from within and move defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker to head coach. "I think he'd be a great head coach," he said. "He's really well-respected and the defense is the best thing about UCLA. I think that if they can keep the defense strong, the offense will only improve and they'll be a top team.
"Now that their bowl game is over, they said they hope to name a head coach in early January, but right now I'm not really in a rush," he said. "I know whoever they get will be pretty good and they'll have a lot to deal with. I'm strong with my commitment and looking forward to playing for UCLA."
Coleman, ranked as the No. 3 fullback in the country by Scout.com, says his other "backup" schools were San Diego State and Oregon.
Coleman says that as a youngster he never followed college football. "I didn't really start watching college football until I saw Reggie Bush play," he said. "Then I started watching USC and soon I was watching everybody and became a big college football fan."
Coleman finished his senior season with 1,200 yards rushing for 21 touchdowns. "I consider myself a power runner," he said. "I'm not super fast (claims a 4.55 forty), but I'm strong and always keep my feet moving. I can get people off me pretty good too.
"But I still want to improve my quickness and be more explosive."
He benches 315 pounds and has a 37-inch vertical jump.
He reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 22 ACT.