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June 30, 2014

UCLA lands four-star running back

It took a few days longer than most had expected, but Monday morning, T.J. Simmons made it official: He's a Bruin.

The four-star Lakeland (Fla.) running back had said repeatedly leading up to his UCLA visit last week that if he enjoyed his Los Angeles trip, he'd make the Bruin commitment. While it took about five days longer than Jim Mora probably would have liked, Simmons is UCLA-bound now nonetheless.

"I am taking my talents to the University. Of California Los Angeles!!," Simmons tweeted Monday. "#Westwood #UCLA commit."

Simmons earned the UCLA offer from his main recruiter Taylor Mazzone back in the spring, and quickly, the Bruins became a favorite for the four-star.

Despite never visiting the school - or California for that matter - until last week, Simmons was always high on the Bruins. He said the staff, the weather, the academic program and the depth chart were all big factors for that early favoritism.

But his relationship with graduate assistant coach DeShaun Foster - and the comparisons between their two games - really may have sealed the deal for UCLA.

"I'm more of a bigger back, kind of like what UCLA used to have in DeShaun Foster," Simmons told BruinSportsReport.com last month. "He's an old UCLA running back that used to run the ball a lot. I kind of have his height and just a little more speed … We talk all the time. That's one of the reasons why I initially (liked UCLA)."

Simmons became the Bruins' seventh commitment in the 2015 class Monday, and he's now the third-highest-rated pledge, coming in at No. 220 overall in the Rivals250.

The four-star running back said he'll likely make his return trip to Westwood for an official visit on Oct. 4 for the Utah game.

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