James chooses UCLA over Cal, Arizona

After narrowing his choices to Arizona, Cal and UCLA, Under Armour All-American running back Jordon James (Corona, Calif./Corona) announced on ESPNU Thursday night that he'll play for the Bruins.

James, who's earned a four-star rating, is ranked 19th in the ESPNU 150 and is the fourth-ranked running back in the country

"UCLA always felt like home for me," James said. "I've been leaning to UCLA for awhile but I wanted to take all my visits just to make sure it was the right place for me. Coach (Rick) Neuheisal was great to talk with and whenever he called, we didn't even talk about football, I could tell he cared about me as a person, not just a football player.

"I got to know Coach (Wayne) Moses, the running backs coach, and Coach (Norm) Chow as well and they all contacted me regularly. That meant a lot to me and my family. Playing close to home was never that big of a deal to be honest. I mean, it's definitely a bonus but I would have picked UCLA no matter where it was. It was just the best fit for me."

James, 5-foot-11, 188 pounds, is truly one of the elite running backs in the nation this year. He has been one of the state's top backs since his all-state sophomore year when he rushed for over 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns. He rushed for over 1,200 yards in five games in an injury-shortened junior year. This season, he's averaging over 100 yards a game.

"I'm hoping to come in and compete for playing time right away," James said. "The coaches told me if I work hard and come in ready, I'll have a chance to play and that's what I'm looking to do."

Along with his current finalist, James also took official visits to Washington and Notre Dame and pulled in scholarship offers from Florida, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Miami, Tennessee, Arizona State, Stanford and several others.

"Right now, I'm relieved and excited to have this decision out of the way. I know UCLA has been down for a bit but I'm ready to go in there and help them win some games," James said. "My goal is to put UCLA back on the map and back on top where they belong."

The commitment is big for the Bruins as it gives them their second ESPNU 150 running back commit as James joins four-star power back Malcolm Jones (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian).

"I'm excited to play with Malcolm," James said. "When he committed, I was excited and I think we'll complement each other well. We're different types of backs and having him will definitely make our team better."

Greg Biggins writes the West recruiting blog for ESPN.com.