SALT LAKE CITY — Three years after taking an official recruiting visit in Utah and then opting to go to UCLA, Mique Juarez has decided to play college football in the Beehive State after all.
Instead of heading to Provo, where the Cougars hoped to persuade the five-star athlete and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to play after a stellar high school career in Torrance, California, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker has committed to the University of Utah.
Juarez is transferring to play for the Utes after graduating from UCLA. He announced that decision Tuesday morning on Twitter.
"Thank you Utah coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to continue playing ball," Juarez wrote. "And for also giving me this time to also take care of my family and to graduate from UCLA. I'm not just blessed, I'm thankful for this amazing opportunity. Trust in God and family."
Juarez suffered three concussions with the Bruins, limiting him to playing in just 14 games with three tackles in his first two seasons.
Juarez had hoped to continue playing for UCLA, but a coaching change and the program's strict concussion policy forced him to change schools, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.53 comments on this story
Neurological tests, MRIs and CAT scans have returned with positive results and Juarez was informed he has no brain damage after going through the concussion protocol, the Daily News reported. Though doctors couldn't advise him to continue playing, Juarez has decided to continue his career with Kyle Whittingham & Co.
"I just want to play football for myself," Juarez told the Southern California paper.
As a grad transfer, Juarez will not be forced to sit out a year. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.