NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Iona Prep football star Justin Combs never had any doubt he wanted to play for UCLA.
“It was love at first sight,” Combs said. “When I stepped on the campus, I knew I was going to be a player there. I knew I just had to get there.”
Combs made that dream a reality Wednesday when he, and thousands of other athletes across the country, signed his letter of intent on National Signing Day.
Several family members joined Combs on his special day, including his father, rapper Sean Combs. The multi-named artist sat next to his son and applauded as he put pen to paper and put on his new UCLA cap.
Combs, an active user on Twitter, took to the social media site often on Wednesday as he waited eagerly to sign the letter and officially become a Bruin.
“I was very nervous. I couldn’t wait to get here and everybody kept congratulating me and it just made me just even more anxious and anxious so I just kept tweeting,” Combs said.
Several other Iona Prep athletes signed letters of their own on Wednesday, and Combs said he was proud to be part of the class.
“Our class had a lot of Division I athletes sign today, and I’m just happy to do it with them because we spent our four years together and it was only right if we all go out together,” Combs said.
Combs spoke to UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr. on Wednesday and said the coach is excited to have him join the team. Combs said he had to get his letter to Mora so the coach could officially name him at a press conference announcing the new players.
That reality was still setting in for Combs immediately after he signed the letter.
“I’m like, ‘wow, Jim Mora’s really about to say my name on the UCLA team,’” Combs said.
Combs will go out to UCLA on June 24. When he finally does step on the field in his first game for the Bruins, he knows the joy of the moment will briefly overtake him. But then, he said, it’s down to business.
“It’s going to be surreal at first but then at the end of the day you’ve got to go to work and you’ve got to get what’s yours and show why you’ve been working hard,” Combs said. “So I’m ready for that. I can’t wait.”
Here is the full list of Iona Prep athletes who signed Wednesday, courtesy of Thomas McGrath:
Cesar Ceja '12 (soccer) - Marist College
Justin Combs '12 (football) - UCLA
Matt D'Ariano '12 (baseball) - University of Connecticut (UCONN)
Vinny DeMaria '12 (baseball) - Iona College
Greg Gallagher '12 (pole vault) - The College of William & Mary
Alex Kapp '12 (soccer) - Boston College
Shane Fee '12 (lacrosse) - Bucknell University
Darin Gillenwater '12 (swimming) - SUNY Binghamton
Phil Logerfo '12 (lacrosse) - University of Scranton
Tim McCarthy '12 (baseball) - Temple University
Luke Wooters '12 (lacrosse) - Nazareth College