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Senior signoff: Shea Pitts made lifelong friends and memories through UCLA football

Redshirt senior linebacker Shea Pitts makes a tackle. Pitts recorded 25 total tackles across 42 games in his career for UCLA football. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Shea Pitts

June 11, 2023 8:16 p.m.

UCLA, my time at this school has been nothing short of amazing. It sounds cliche, but there is truly no other way to describe my time here. Both of my parents had gone to UCLA and growing up, I had the hopes of someday being able to go to school here. In the middle of my senior year of high school, that dream became a reality. Not only was it my dream of attending this amazing school, I had the dream of playing football at this school as well. Getting the call from then-coach Jim Mora in late January of my senior year of high school was one of the happiest days of my life. It was just a few days before Signing Day, and knowing I was going to be a Bruin after getting off the phone was an indescribable feeling.

UCLA football has been in my blood since the beginning. Having had my dad play under coach Terry Donahue and win back-to-back Rose Bowls, I would see pictures of UCLA football all around the house. I would also go to UCLA football games every year since I was born. Having the chance to strap on that helmet and represent the four letters on the side of it has been surreal. Not once taking it for granted, every time I strapped on my helmet, I thanked God for the opportunity to live out my dreams.

I came into this school with so many goals. The first one was to win a Rose Bowl and be able to wear a Rose Bowl ring to go along with my dad’s. When I came to UCLA, we were 4-8 and there was a long way to go. I didn’t even remotely understand how difficult it would be to get back to the Rose Bowl as UCLA was doing in its glory days.

Over the past six years, there were so many tribulations and hardships that came along with being a part of the rebuilding process of this football program. We went through some tough seasons, but through all the hardships, there was so much to be learned from. I personally had my position changed five different times and had five different position coaches. We also had three different strength staffs in my time at UCLA. To add, the COVID-19 year was very difficult for everyone. Not being around our teammates for so long and having half our season taken away was not easy.

Unfortunately, throughout my time at UCLA, I never got to accomplish the goal of winning a Rose Bowl. However, from winning just three games my freshman year to nine this past year, I can confidently say the other seniors and I have helped lead this program in the right direction, and we are on track to win a Rose Bowl soon enough. The one thing I will take away from my time at UCLA more than anything is the relationships formed. UCLA football has given me lifelong friends. It didn’t hit me until I was a groomsman in Joshua Kelley’s wedding this past March. It really made me think – we met about five years prior thanks to UCLA football and the next thing you know, I am in his wedding. This shows the types of relationships that I formed in my time at this school and I have family that will be with me forever. No wins or losses can come close to the relationships and memories that I made during my time playing football at UCLA, and for that I am always thankful. No matter where I go, UCLA will always be close to me.

Pitts played for UCLA football from 2017-2022.

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