UCLA’s matchup tonight with USC is not only for bragging rights for the city, but also in recruiting circles.
The Bruins are scheduled to host several official visits, including two of the nations’ top five linebackers, a top-15 running back and wideout, and a handful of already committed players, including quarterback Brett Hundley.
I’ve never put much stock into individual games swaying recruits too much, but this game is a big one. I don’t even necessarily think UCLA needs to win to make a good showing with this group, but just show progress. After three straight seven-point performances against USC, I’m sure the offensive players in particular need to see some forward progress.
This is a crucial class for the Bruins, who’ve been able to ride the Rick Neuheisel’s vision for the future into three top-15 classes. Now that the team has regressed this season, that message loses some of its meaning. But I’ve learned to not count Neuheisel out as a recruiter, and there’s little doubt he’s telling each of these kids they could be the missing link.
Again, this is a tentative list.