The UCLA football team may be down a head football coach, but they have certainly elevated in star power.
Justin Combs, the son of rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, has committed to play for the Bruins next season. The future UCLA cornerback picked the Bruins on Tuesday, one day after the school announced it was firing coach Rick Neuheisel effective at the conclusion of the bowl season.
So for Combs, who starred on the football field at Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y., it was definitely about the school and the location. Combs had privately committed to the Bruins about a month ago but made his commitment public even though the coach he committed to will be gone.
"I was committed before and I just thought I'm still going to go with them because I have faith in the program," Combs told ESPN.com. "I have faith that everything is going to work out."
Combs has been adamant that he wants to make his mark outside of his father’s enormous shadow. And by most accounts he just may be able to do that on the football field. Most recruiting analysts give him three stars out of a possible five as a college prospect.
While the Bruins were the winners, Combs also received offers from Illinois, Iowa, Virginia and West Virginia.
"Most people think that he being my father, he helped get me the offers, but that's not true at all," Combs told the New York Daily News. "I went out the whole summer, I went to all the 7 on 7s, all the college camps and I competed my butt off. I made the most of the opportunity. I did this myself. No one did this but me."
That fact doesn’t stop Diddy from being a proud father, who will undoubtedly become a fixture at UCLA games the next few seasons.
"This is everything a father could want for his son, for him to excel at what he loves to do and is truly passionate about,” P. Diddy said in a statement. “Justin is a shining example of what hard work, determination and a strong mentality can achieve. I am honored to call him my son and am happy that he is fulfilling his dream."
Combs, who was once featured on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, won’t be the first rap star’s son to try to make it in the athletic world in Southern California. Master P’s son Percy “Lil Romeo” Miller was a USC basketball recruit in 2008.
Contact Terrance Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris.
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(Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Jackie Robinson Foundation)