Check out the first batch of weekly answers…
1) Alright, forget about the rankings (or non-rankings) of Steven Manfro. High school rankings don’t matter as much. I get that. Lombardi winner and BCS champ Nick Fairley was a 3-star player by Scout.com for example. But why doesn’t Manfro have more offers? He put up stunning #’s but there has to be something that makes all the college coaches and media (scout.com, rivals.com, espn) guys shun him. They watch the same tapes and games. Why the lack of interests? – Anonymous
Manfro’s measurables are not altogether overwhelming, but I really have no idea. You’d think with that level of production, at least a FEW more teams would be all over him.
2) Right now UCLA is ranked 9th of the 10 Pac-10 schools in recruiting this year. I know CRN’s approach can lead to some big last minute commits, but realistically, where do you see UCLA finishing in the conference? – TK Bruin
I see UCLA finishing in the bottom third or so, so essentially anywhere from 7th-to-10th. Neuheisel’s performance as a recruiter has been well-documented, and he’s had tremendous success on signing day the last two years. I think he has it in him to have a couple big surprises.
3) I have no worries going into signing day even though its only 9 days away. Taking into account the recent public announcement of Mike Johnson and a soon to be announced high profile DC on the horizon I feel extremely optimistic in winning some late signatures on some solid recruits. Should others are the board have a concern or be worried? – incalos
I definitely think there should be some worry, but the downright panic that has ensued over the last couple weeks across the internet has been overwhelming. I can understand that kind of panic AFTER signing day, if UCLA does finish with a subpar class. But with Hundley already on board and the potential for some big fish on signing day, I just think that the anger and vitriol is a bit early.
4) What is the “story” that Neuheisel is selling recruits after this disappointing season? – brand0n
That they’re the ONE missing piece. And to be honest, I think Rick Neuheisel believes that. He is an eternal optimist, and he excels at selling that vision. But he’s also working against coaches who have a lot of negatives to point to, and when one guy can point to a piece of paper and say, ‘Look, these are the results, 15-22, mass confusion over the offense, no defensive coordinator,’ that’s a lot easier to sell than a vision of the future, no matter how bright.
5) How will the offense be different with Mike Johnson as OC compared with Chow the last few seasons? What were the points of difference between Rick and Norm? – BruinBall
I don’t even think they know exactly what kind of offense is going to be run, but I expect more elements of the spread offense and more of a focus on north-south offense than east-west. I know the line wasn’t exactly gangbusters last year, but I was still surprised almost every game by the lack of downfield chances. I come from the school of thought that you HAVE to test a team downfield early and often, simply to get them off whatever gameplan they came in with. The way Johnson talked in our meeting with him, I get the feeling he understands that too.