Elite junior corner Chris Steele committed to UCLA back in January. After taking a handful of unofficial visits over the spring and summer, Steele decided to open things up.
“I wanted to be fair and respectful to UCLA,” Steele said. “They’re still one of my of top schools and I told coach Meat (Demetrice Martin) that when we talked earlier in the week. I’m still very interested in them and still want to build that relationship with him and the rest of the coaching staff moving forward.
“I just didn’t like the idea of taking all these visits as a committed player, it didn’t feel right. I committed so early in the process and never looked at any other schools. That’s why I decided to take some unofficial trips and when I did that, people would question why, since I was already committed somewhere. I just felt it was more respectful to UCLA to back off and take visits then take them still committed.”
Steele visited Stanford and USC multiple times and also checked out Alabama. He said he’s hoping to visit Michigan and Oregon during the season for a game weekend.
“I’ll be going to UCLA games too, like I said, I still have high interest there,” Steele said. “I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing here, this is obviously a huge, life changing decision for me. I learned a lot on some of my other visits and I just want to take a little step back and evaluate everything moving forward before making a final decision.”
Academics and life after football will be key for Steele moving forward and a big reason he enjoyed his visits to Stanford. He was just there last Friday with a few of his Bosco teammates before attending the Bruins BBQ on Sunday.
He has also developed a good relationship withe USC head coach Clay Helton in recent months. Tosh Lupoi at Bama is pushing hard for him, as are several other programs across the country.
“It was stressful,” Steele said. “I didn’t think it was going to be like this when I first committed. I’m not saying I rushed in to anything or made an emotional decision. UCLA was my childhood favorite and the school I always wanted to go to. I didn’t see any need to delay a commitment but looking back, I think I did rush things a little so that’s what this is about.
“I want to take my time this time around, take a few more visits and keep an open mind to everyone. I could have done that and stayed committed but like I said, that just didn’t feel right. It felt like I was disrespecting UCLA by talking to other schools and I didn’t want to do that any more so this just feels like the best thing for me to do for all the party’s involved.”
Steele is among the nation’s top corner prospects and has a big upside. He has a safety frame but corner skills and can run. He’s a physical kid who’s strong in run support, has a tremendous work ethic off the field as well and has the academics to play for anyone.