Wyoming Valley West lineman Chris Bleich made a verbal commitment to the University of Florida on Wednesday after decommitting for a second time during the recruiting process.
Bleich made the announcement via Twitter. He had committed to UCLA in June, but head coach Jim Mora was fired on Nov. 19 — a day after UCLA lost 28-23 to USC to fall to 5-6. He became the sixth player to decommit from UCLA over the past few weeks.
In April 2016, Bleich committed to Penn State, but changed his mind a year later and re-opened the recruitment process.
Bleich thanked Mora and members of the UCLA coaching staff on Twitter and added, “This was a hard decision, but I was blessed to have multiple opportunities. I also want to thank all the coaches and staff over the last four years who have recruited me and offered me an opportunity to play for them.”
UCLA recently hired former Philadelphia Eagles and Oregon coach Chip Kelly to run the program, but Bleich had already been visiting other schools.
Bleich made an official visit to Nebraska on Nov. 4. He also visited Nebraska and Mississippi State in the spring. Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, though, left the program and became Florida’s head coach on Sunday. A source said Mullen was in the area Tuesday and met with Bleich.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Bleich had nearly 20 Division I offers. He is ranked the 15th best recruit in the state and the 34th best offensive tackle recruit nationally by 247Sports Composite. He was named All-State in Class 5A as a junior and is a candidate for all-state honors again. He excelled as a drive blocker and was also a force on defense as a senior with 89 tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks.
Bleich left Valley West after his sophomore season for IMG Academy, a national football power in Bradenton, Fla. He spent a semester at IMG and then returned to Valley West and resumed playing for the Spartans as a junior.