Tag:Rick Neuheisel
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:31 am

VIDEO: Nick Saban on Alabama's recruiting class

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Alabama football head coach Nick Saban joins Tom Lemming, Ron Zook, and Rick Neuheisel to talk about having the top recruiting class and also discuss Alabama's success in recruiting nationally.

Posted on: January 19, 2012 1:14 pm

Gary Pinkel drops in to see Dorial Green-Beckham

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The most popular recruiting tool of the past few years isn't an iPhone or fancy new weight room (though those really don't hurt). You may or may not be surprised to learn that it's the helicopter.

Coaches have been dropping in on recruits thanks to private planes for decades, whisked across the country without wasting time connecting through an airport thanks to the large wallets of their boosters. Lately however, the transportation de jour for impressing high school recruits while saving time has been the helicopter. UCLA's Rick Neuheisel was the first coach to make a memorable big splash with one a few years ago, flying over Los Angeles gridlock to see multiple games on Friday night and to make sure recruits knew that he was coming to see them come hell or high heights.

Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel was the latest to use a chopper when he visited the number one overall recruit in the country, Dorial Green-Beckham, yesterday.

Coach has to do what a coach has to do, right? The Tigers appear to be on the outside looking in for the man known mostly as DGB. The recruit some have compared to Randy Moss will be taking an official visit to Arkansas this week and many have pegged the Razorbacks as the favorite for his signature come Signing Day. Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Auburn are also heavily pursuing Green-Beckham, who has kept quiet about his recruitment and rarely spoken to the media.

Still, he had to be a little impressed with Pinkel's sojourn to Springfield, Missouri this week through the air. We'll tell in two weeks if it worked but the next coach might have to step up their game on the next visit to see Green-Beckham. I'm thinking a Harrier would be impressive and don't think some coach hasn't already thought about it.

Posted on: November 30, 2011 12:58 pm

Another commit for UCLA despite coaching search

Posted by Bryan Fischer

At this rate, perhaps UCLA should change coaches more often.

We're kidding of course but the Bruins did add their second commitment of the week following the firing of head coach Rick Neuheisel. Despite the 50-0 loss to USC on Saturday that was the nail in the coffin for Neuheisel, the school ended up getting a verbal pledge from Los Angeles (Calif.) safety Trayvon Watson who plays football just down the street from their crosstown rival.

"Coach (Mike) Johnson came to the Dorsey game and he really liked me and he offered me," Watson told Scout. "I never thought I’d ever get a chance to go to UCLA. But it’s home, and I’d love to stay home and play football, and I love that I can do that."

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder committed not long after cornerback Justin Combs committed to the program on Monday. Watson also held offers from Fresno State and Oregon State but he's headed to Westwood at the moment even as UCLA begins the process of hiring a new head coach.

"I want to take a couple of visits and I want to see who they hire, but UCLA is where I want to go and that's my first choice," he said. "The big deal is who they hire."

Watson is the 17th commitment for the Bruins at the moment as much of the class is taking a "wait and see" approach to recruiting. He had 125 tackles and five interceptions at his safety position this season.

Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:21 am

Justin Combs, son of Diddy, commits to UCLA

Posted to Bryan Fischer

Although UCLA just let head coach Rick Neuheisel go, the school still offers a good education, BCS program and the sunny locale of Los Angeles as a backdrop. It was mostly the latter couple of things that New Rochelle (N.Y.) cornerback Justin Combs saw in the Bruins and despite the idea of playing for a new coach, decided to announce that he had committed late Monday night.

“It was love at first sight,” Combs told Scout. “When I first went on a visit, I fell in love with the program and I fell in love with the environment and the tradition. I was good friends with Rahim Moore too and just to hear it from the players, it was love at first sight."

A 5-foot-9, 170-pound cornerback, Combs performed well over the summer at 7-on-7 competitions and camps and held scholarship offers from school such as Illinois, Iowa, Virginia and others. Though he has lived out East close to his father, rapper Sean 'Diddy' Combs, the West Coast lifestyle and chance to play Pac-12 football was just too good to pass up despite a coaching change.

“I have faith in the program that everything will be ok,” said Combs. “My love for UCLA is so strong. I trust and know that everything will work out.”

Combs will play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in January along with close friend, linebacker Deaysean Rippy. He gives the Bruins 17 commitments for the class of 2012 and becomes the fifth member of the secondary coming in next year.

"Not real tall but very quick and elusive," analyst Tom Lemming said of Combs. "Last year he put together a heck of a season at the CB position showing the ability to turn and run with the swiftest of receivers."

Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 1:36 pm

Lacy Westbrook latest UCLA commitment

Posted by Bryan Fischer

For most of the class of 2012, UCLA has taken a keen eye on out-of-state prospects. That doesn't mean the Bruins have overlooked several local prospects however, and their efforts paid off on Thursday with a commitment from Compton (Calif.) offensive lineman Lacy Westbrook.

"I committed to UCLA," Westbrook told 247Sports. "They continued to show a lot of interest in me even with my injury. They have great academics and a degree that would set me up for life."

The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder held offers from Auburn, Boise State and Colorado among others but is firm to UCLA even if head coach Rick Neuheisel's job status has been called into question.

"Yeah he was excited I could tell, but he seemed more shocked than anything," Westbrook said. "I'm excited about the future of UCLA football, I'm not worried about the past. I'll probably be taking my visit towards the end of December."

Westbrook is the 15th commitment for UCLA in the class of 2012 and fourth offensive lineman.

Posted on: September 13, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 5:21 pm

California athlete Richardson is #12 for UCLA

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's been a rough couple of weeks in Westwood. UCLA lost to Houston in the opener and didn't look sharp at all against San Jose State last week, causing some to speculate that the hot seat is, well, even hotter for head coach Rick Neuheisel. All of that doesn't matter too much to Mission Hills (Calif.) athlete Jerico Richardson, who verbally committed to the Bruins over the weekend.

"When I talked to Coach Neuheisel, he said great and he was happy," Richardson told BruinBlitz.com. "He said hopefully I was excited, too and that was good to hear."
The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder could line up at either wide receiver or safety in college. Richardson ended his recruitment early with the Bruins the only school to offer him despite several others showing interest.

"UCLA was recruiting me the hardest and I would like to stay home," he said. "I like UCLA's academics, their alumni and I like the program."

Richardson had 513 yards and four touchdowns last season as a wide receiver and was named first-team all-league as a defensive back. He is the 12th commitment overall in the class of 2012 for the Bruins.

Posted on: June 25, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: June 25, 2011 5:16 pm

UCLA adds two on productive Friday

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's supposed to be the beginning of the dog days of summer but that hasn't stopped UCLA from hitting the recruiting trail hard in late June. The Bruins continued some earlier momentum and added two commitments Friday afternoon in a one-two punch of in-state commitments on offense.

“I called Coach [Rick] Neuheisel, I told him I’m ready to be a Bruin,” Fresno (Calif.) tight end Ian Taubler (right) told BruinReportOnline.com. “I’m part of the UCLA family. I loved all the coaches there. I can see myself out there.”

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Taubler had USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford in his final four. He was down to the two Los Angeles schools this week and just picked up an offer from the Trojans on Thursday but it was ultimately the Bruins that he felt most comfortable with.

“If I wanted the offer, I had to call and commit,” Taubler said about USC. “It’s an honor but I don’t think that’s where I needed to be. I called USC and told them I committed to UCLA.”

The Pac-12 South program wasn't done on Friday as they picked up the verbal pledge of Spring Valley (Calif.) offensive lineman Mario Yakoo to fill a position of need for the Bruins.

"I called up Coach (Tim) Hundley and he offered me and I committed right then," Yakoo told the site. "I talked to Coach Neuheisel too and they were both pretty excited."

Yakoo, who is 6-foot-4, 310-pounds, also held offers from Arizona, Oregon State and San Diego State. The pair of Friday commits give UCLA three for the week and five overall in the class of 2012.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:33 pm

On the hot seat: How some coaches are recruiting

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd rolled out his annual Hot Seat Ratings, giving every FBS head coach a grade from 0 (can't be touched) to 5 (it's time to win now). Only one head coach is burning up on the seat with the maximum rating of 5 but there are plenty of others who begin the season feeling some heat. Being on the list puts a lot of the coaches in a tough position on the recruiting trail as they look to turn things around while battling the perception that they won't be there when the recruit steps on campus. Taking a look at several of the coaches on the list, here's how they're doing on the recruiting trail:

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:12
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Kenny Lawler

Erickson is in an interesting position. With a team featuring plenty of upperclassmen and what is expected to be a very good defense, the Sun Devils are likely the favorites for the first Pac-12 South title. Erickson has only had one really good season in Tempe and never has been able to break through and grab elite talent on the recruiting trail. He put together a class last year that mostly addressed needs and was solid but not spectacular. The 2012 class could be one of the better ones Arizona State has pulled in recently, getting off to a good start and leading the Pac-12 with 12 commitments. This is an offense-heavy class with plenty of skill players and he recently added quarterback T.J. Millweard, who was committed to Virginia Tech.

Mark Richt, Georgia
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:10
Top Recruit: Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor

Richt responded to critics and managed to put together what might have been his best recruiting class ever last year. It was a strong year for talent in Georgia and the Bulldogs took advantage, grabbing a "Dream Team" of recruits. The prize was running back Isaiah Crowell, who many think can come in and make an instant impact on offense after the in-state team fought off powers like Alabama and Florida State for his services. The 2012 class hasn't seemed to build off the momentum however, as Georgia has already lost out on some in-state commitments and are behind in others. There's plenty of time for the tide to turn, however, and as Richt proved last year, he can close down the stretch.

Ron Zook, Illinois
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 4
Top Recruit: Defensive back TaJarvis Fuller

Zook is known as a good recruiter and he put together a diverse class last year. It's not a great year for talent in the Midwest and Zook is using the southern ties he had while at Florida to make Illinois active in the South, especially in Georgia. He made a nice pickup with Fuller and with a bit of instability in the Big Ten, could nab a prospect or two that might have gone elsewhere. Zook will ultimately have to win to keep Illinois in the minds of the rising seniors but he's on pace to pull in another solid class this year.

Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Hot Seat Rating: 4.5
2012 Commitments: 0

New Mexico is New Mexico so it will always be tough to get recruits to come, especially in the midst of a 2-22 run under Locksley. But credit to the head coach and his staff, they were able to reach into California, Florida and Maryland among other places to get some talent. Known as a superb recruiter in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, the fact that Locksley got five-star tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to make a visit to the school and keep the Lobos in his final five was quite the accomplishment. The school doesn't have any commitments in 2012 and it will be interesting to see how many wait to see if the hot seat gets too hot for Locksley to stay on it.

Luke Fickell, Ohio State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments: 8
Top Recruit: Running back Warren Ball

Fickell had his fingerprints all over Ohio State's last recruiting class as co-defensive coordinator and was the lead recruiter for one of the Buckeyes' key linebacker commitments, Ryan Shazier from Florida. He is dropped into a very difficult situation however, first following a beloved and successful head coach in Jim Tressel and second, dealing with the looming threat of NCAA sanctions. While he managed to keep the prize of the 2012 class, top 100 offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, in the the fold for awhile, he ended up decommitting and now the Buckeyes are seeing the state of Ohio raided by other Big Ten programs like Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State. Fickell is a tried and true Buckeye so he knows how to sell the school, the only question is if he'll be successful at it and that remains to be seen.

Rick Neuheisel, UCLA
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 3
Top Recruit: Running back Steven Lakalaka

Just about everybody thought UCLA was on the right track when Neuheisel managed to pull in two top 20 classes in 2008 and 2009. Since then however, things have reversed course on the field and off. Last year's class did manage to get two big talents from out-of-state in defenisve tackle Kevin McReynolds and top 100 quarterback Brett Hundley but it was by no means a deep and talented class. While it was going to be small due to scholarship numbers, Neuheisel just didn't seem to be able to close with some players and the Bruins are barely on the map in California this year, taking a back seat to Arizona State, Washington, Oregon and their crosstown rival USC. It's getting close to a make or break year for UCLA and Neuheisel and he can only hope that Hundley is as advertised and can make a difference in the win column this season.

Paul Wulff, Washington State
Hot Seat Rating: 5.0
2012 Commitments:5
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Dalen Jones

It's not easy to recruit to the Palouse though Wulff has added some nice pieces over the years, but just can't seem to find enough of them. Wulff reached into Florida and California very well last year and even managed to grab highly regarded offensive lineman Alex Mitchell out of nearby Portland. That said, Wulff is on the hot seat (a very hot seat) and, because it's the hot seat at Washington State, that generally takes the school out of the running for any big time recruits. They've done well all things considered and have extended early scholarships to several California and Florida athletes in hopes of building up an early relationship. It will always be tough for Wulff to recruit and doing so while worried about job security is extra tough.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com