UCLA received commitments Wednesday from dozens of highly touted recruits, but one of the Bruins’ most valuable offers was accepted two days earlier. Cade Spinello, a 9-year-old from Mission Viejo, California signed his letter of intent Saturday.
Spinello was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009. After undergoing two surgeries, he had a stroke and as a result is legally blind. He has been involved with UCLA football for a number of years, practicing with the team last fall and scoring a touchdown.
The fourth-grader is a junior ambassador for the Jessie Rees Foundation, an organization that supports pediatric cancer and touts the mantra “Never Ever Give Up.” Coach Jim Mora is a member of the Jessie Rees Foundation’s “All-Star Team” and has invited Spinello to multiple Bruin football practices over the past few years.
“The guy has tremendous grit and he’s a self-starter. You can’t get him down,” Mora said in an interview with Pac-12 Networks. “(He’s) been with us now as a program for three years (and) is just a real inspiration to our players.”
Spinello, like the rest of the 2016 recruiting class, will report to spring training in April. He and his parents will be present on the sidelines, cheering on their favorite team.
Compiled by Claire Fahy, Bruin Sports senior staff.