JG: Is that lack of dynamism what you think led Rick Neuheisel to make so many changes?
BH: “I think so. That was definitely an effort that Neuheisel realized. He has to get other recruiters. The only aggressive recruiter in 2010 was Clark Lea. Daronte Jones was good, but was limited because he was a GA. Now you bring in in Johnson, Breckterfield, and then you bring Angus McClure out of the office and bring him back into the recruiting circle. He has been the guy who identified a lot of the guys in the fall as juniors. Now you’re able to utilize him on the road. In essence, three aggresseive recruiters to come on staff.”
JG: You mentioned McClure getting on guys early as juniors, but the common knock on UCLA is that they’re too often late to the party…
BH: “I think that’s a misconception. You look at Josh Garnett, a 5-star guard, No. 1 guard in the country. UCLA offered him before he played a down of high school football. He was at camp between 8th and 9th grade. Three years later he has offers from the majority of the conference and country. See, UCLA, Stanford and other Pac-12 schools are different. Stanford can offer a lot of guys early, but if guys don’t cut it academically, they can go with that. ASU, Colorado, Utah, they have that chance, because they don’t have a huge crop in the state to recruit from. A lot of those kids aren’t going to jump on those offers, they’re going to see if anyone out-of-state offers. UCLA has to be a little bit more deliberate in their offering.”
JG: True, but UCLA has seemed to focus too much nationally, or at least “pipe-dream” nationally, going for major recruits only to finish second or third, while being late on some key SoCal guys. It’s like UCLA is the geek asking the prom queen to junior prom way back in freshman year, and then being confused why she ends up going with the good-looking quarterback. How many times can they finish second or third on a major prospect?
BH: “That’s very valid. That’s really true on the national scale. Neuheisel is trying to be more aggressive nationally, but the danger is you forget guys in your backyard. It’s not so much the geek and prom queen when you can sell yourself to players around the country, get in on a lot of kids. But that’s the problem. You get a couple kids like AO and Kevin McReynolds, but that’s the problem: the batting percentage is not very high. If you land one guy, that’s great and all, but now you’ve forgotten about guys in your backyard.”