REDLANDS, Calif. - Shopping for dormitory items, ready to start his college experience, Kylie Fitts received a phone call from his father saying there was bad news.
The message was this: The USC coaching staff could not allow Fitts to enroll early, as had been planned and why the Redlands (Calif.) East Valley four-star defensive end was out at the stores.
Instead, Fitts would have to wait until June to enroll, something that did not thrill him, and soon after the 6-foot-4, 260-pound prospect decided to reopen his recruitment.
That's when UCLA defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Angus McClure reached out even more seriously. The two had a good talk, Fitts took his official visit there and the Bruins emerged as his favorite.
During a ceremony on National Signing Day eve in the football office at his high school, Fitts committed to UCLA over USC, Notre Dame, Utah and others.
"My mom and I were out shopping for dorm stuff," Fitts said. "My dad calls and said, 'I have some bad news for you,' and after that it really hurt inside but I believe everything happens for a reason. They told me I couldn't come early. Coming in early was really big for me to start spring ball and earn my respect right away.
"I didn't believe [my father] at all. I said, 'Are you serious?' and my heart dropped but I'm excited right now and I believe UCLA is the best place for me. I'm excited to enroll and get ready."
UCLA is currently ranked eighth in the Rivals.com team rankings, the top team in the Pac-12, and things could get even better Wednesday when five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, another former USC commit, and four-star quarterback Asiantii Woulard among others make their decision. UCLA is in the thick of their recruitments.
For Fitts, though, USC was being considered all the way up to last weekend, not eliminated even in the last few days. Following his visit to Utah, the four-star took an unofficial trip to USC to meet with coach Lane Kiffin and defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron for the Trojans' final pitch.
Shortly after leaving that visit, Fitts said he knew UCLA was the right fit.
"Before my Utah visit they told me they really wanted to see me one more time because they wanted to see me during the week but I had work," Fitts said.
"Sunday after my visit was the only time they could see me so they told me to come up. I did and talked to Kiffin and told him I'm past everything and let's move forward with things. He did and he went through the basics of them recruiting me and about USC and I talked with Orgeron. It was really good talking with them but I kind of knew right after that USC is a great place but UCLA is better."
Fitts, who said his decision had little to do with USC pulling the option of early enrollment and more to do with what UCLA offered, will enroll in Westwood on March 30 and start spring practice the following week.
A tough situation is behind him. A bright future at UCLA is in his sights.
"During the year I always looked across town and saw how much fun they were having and I was almost kind of jealous," Fitts said of the Bruins. "It looked fun to play there. I was going to go through with my college decision and everything to USC but I believe everything happened for a reason.
"When that whole incident happened, UCLA was the first to call. Coach Angus, the d-line coach, called right away and we had a good talk and I went on my official visit and fell in love with the school, everything about it. Talking with coach (Jim) Mora and building a relationship with all those coaches, I believe it's the greatest coaching staff in the nation right now and I believe UCLA is on the rise and is going to do big things."