Building a class

As if UCLA’s recruiting prospects did not seem dim enough after the Bruins’ 50-0 loss at USC on Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Rick Neuheisel’s firing on Monday morning has thrown a wrench in even the best-laid plans.

Verbal commits now will have to reconsider their decisions, those undecided who might have built a good rapport with UCLA coaches now might look elsewhere, relationships will have to be reestablished, or in some cases, reestablished.

The Bruins currently have 16 verbal commitments, including those from No. 3-rated center Hiva Lutui (Euless, Texas), No. 9 middle linebacker Aaron Porter of La Habra and no. 14-rated guard Lacy Westbrook of Compton Dominguez.

“This is the time when guys become fair game,” Scout.com recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman said. “Especially guys like Lutui, Porter, guys who are committed and upper-echelon guys; this is when people can put doubts in their mind.”

The volume of those doubts will be turned to 11 after the Bruins big loss to the Trojans, the big, bad crosstown rival who collects five-star talent like they’re postage stamps.
After a loss like that, Huffman and Rivals.com’s Rick Kimbrel agree, recruiting top talent can be almost impossible.

“It’s gonna be tough,” Kimbrel said. “It’s difficult – this is one of those game where everything that could go wrong did – and you have to revert back to the Arizona State game, Colorado – the positives., Colorado the positives.

Added Huffman: “Actually, if Neuheisel had been retained, I think the USC loss would’ve slammed the door shut for most guys. Like, ‘This is what I’m getting myself into?’ Instead, there’s always excitement when a new coach is hired.”

Huffman points to the Bruins’ procurement of Maurice Jones-Drew in 2003, brought in by Karl Dorrell and most notably Eric Bienemy, after Bob Toledo’s firing.

The key, Huffman said, is the continuity that remains, as UCLA has named pavement-pounder Mike Johnson as interim head coach upon Neuheisel’s dismissal following the Pac-12 championship game on Friday night at Oregon.

Apparently, though, the loss to USC didn’t scare everyone off.

Justin Combs, an ESPNU three-star cornerback and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ son, verbally committed to UCLA on Monday.

“Today I am truly blessed and thankful to accept my scholarship and give my full commitment to UCLA,” Justin Combs said in a press release. “Playing Division-I football was a lifelong dream of mine, and through hard work I was able to achieve it. I am a living testament that with a strong relationship with God, family, and hard work dreams do come true.”

Added Sean Combs in a statement: “As a parent, today is one of the proudest moments of my life,” Sean Combs said in a statement. “This is everything a father could want for his son, for him to excel at what he loves to do and is truly passionate about. Justin is a shining example of what hard work, determination and a strong mentality can achieve. I am honored to call him my son and am happy that he is fulfilling his dream.”

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  • BruinFaithful

    We’ve gone through this many timed before, with few losses, so I’m not as concerned. Even if we do lose some guys, the future is what is important. What we gain, is much more important than what we might lose short term. Like Kimbrel said, there is also a positive in a new coach in that is brings excitement. Also, like DG told the players after the firing of Neu, “How many if you came to UCLA to be 6-6?” Not a single player raised his hand.

    There is over 2 1/2 months until signing day, plenty of time to shore anything up. Besides, with the right hire we might also get a few players we didn’t expect to. ASU, is going through a much worse situation. Guys are dropping like flies, so there are opportunities to pick up more players. SUC can only pick up afew more recruits anyway.

  • BruinFaithful

    Do you like following me? Stop stalking me. It’s creepy.

  • The Monopoly Is Over Here

    BruinFaithful says “SUC can only pick up a few more recruits anyways”

    Enjoy our scraps Bruins….

    Is the Football Monopoly in LA going to be over this January??????

  • Monopoly…

    It may not be over in January, but the $C season was over this past Saturday. Enjoy your next several months of Barney Barkley worship….

  • BruinFaithful

    Nicely put monopoly. Nicely put.

    BTW, I just spoke to my lifelong friend who works at the SUC AD and he says that SUC will take a total class of 20. 5 early enrollees and 15 on signing day. It will be interesting to see how they make it work.

  • Anonymous

    Jon u bashed ucla on the radio tonight and I want an apology to all ur followers. Personally I find myself, as do many bruins I have talked to, being swayed over to bruin nation

  • Timothy Duncan

    Jon, are you planning on writing up a piece on who you think the next head coach will be? I’d love to get your take on Chris Petersen and other candidates…

  • BE REAL

    The new coach will not be Chris Petersen. I found it laughable that one poster said the lure of living in Bel Aire and the westside of Los Angeles would too much for Petersen to pass up. Oh Yeah?

    First, Chris might have a difficult time obtaining a loan for a $5 million home. Second, even 2 miles from Bel Air to ucla can take 30 minutes at 8 a.m. during the week. Charming, right?

    Instead, the coach lives in Boise. Ever been there?– It is something like the San Fernando Valley sitting all by itself with no Los Angeles surrounding it. Kind of nice actually.

    Second, and most importantly, the man has established a pretty nice football niche for himself. And he does not like the media much. Go to ucla and he would be bombarded by the press. Ain’t gonna happen.

    LAWYER JOHN

  • Anonymous

    @Anonymous 11:17
    It is obvious you are dumb. Or are you hearing impaired? In no way did Jon bash UCLA (deserves caps, fool). He simply reported the unfortunate facts of UCLA football.
    As to you being “swayed over to Bruin Nation”, please go quickly. We deserve more intelligence and you certainly deserve Nestor.

  • Mike

    But @Anonymous 6:12, don’t you know it was bruinsnation that got Neuheisal fired? According to their site, they get the credit for that, and we should all be grateful to know that now they have moved on to hiring the next coach.

  • Anonymous

    Is it possible a deal has already been done with Petersen, but an agreement has been made not to announce it until after Saturday since it would be distracting from both school’s upcoming big games? Also, somewhere I read the doctor who has been treating Petersen’s son works at UCLA. That, in itself, might be a good reason to work there. Also, he can buy a lot of house for the numbers being thrown around in a lot of nice places close to UCLA. With that kind of money, he can hire a driver if he doesn’t like driving, and, as for the media, they might be very interested at first, but that will die down and I’m sure it won’t be anything Petersen hasn’t seen at Boise State considering some of the big national games they’ve been in. We’ll know Sunday Lawyer John.

  • http://paulm Ley

    On the Petersen issue: The Bruins will throw a boatlaod of money at him per: Wasserman, and indications are his sons primary doctor is now at UCLA. His QB will be gone and housing will not be the issue with this one as the contract provides a house (1 mill $ loan) in westwood like they did for Neuheisel. This is his chance to move to a BCS School. We shall see???

  • timmah

    Two suggestions for BF: Decaf,Prozac.

  • Tennessee Bruin

    Lawyer John could be right about Coach Petersen’s availability. Go here and read this. http://www.idahopress.com/sports/boise/bsf-football/petersen-the-best-on-the-blue/article_735c72bc-18a6-11e1-b305-001cc4c03286.html

  • Anonymous

    “Go to ucla and he would be bombarded by the press…..”

    ‘specially if the DN put Snott Wolf on the UCLA beat.

  • Anonymous

    One comment I heard on Stephen A Smith from a caller was that getting P. Diddy’s son into UCLA = P. Diddy is a new booster. = UCLA gets more $$ for the big name coach = hopefully Petersen.

    But as Jon so honestly pointed out on the show, the bureaucracy at UCLA is disgusting. We donate the money but it doesn’t get funneled to the football team like we wanted it to be. We need to put stiffer stipulations for our alumni our donations…

  • http://paulm Ley

    Actually if you recall Adidas Bought out Howlands contract at Pitt (Sonny Vicarro) and Wasserman paid the contract for the Bruions so dont think things can’t be worked out here, just as Jerry Buss paid for Lame Kiffens contract at USC. Money Talks and I believe Bruin Supporters really want the Football Coach to be a big time guy FINALLY….IDAHO??? REALLY???? LOL…

  • scidiot

    Petersen is not coming. Better start talking about what you want in a coach vs. what coach you want to avoid a let down that will hurt the incoming class. The hire needs to generate some fan excitement so it gets out that things are changing.
    .
    beat the ducks (Rose Bowl only one win away.)

  • Chinasky

    @Tennessee Bruin

    Even if Peterson is unlikely to come, that article is dubious. Take this quote for example:

    “Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel spoke with a college football administrator this week about Petersen, and his source said ‘it’ll take dynamite to get him out of Boise. It’s not that he’ll compare a job with Boise and then choose Boise. He won’t even think it over.’”

    BS

    Petersen will certainly think about any serious offer that comes his way. Anybody who says otherwise is delusional or trying to reassure deluded fans.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not “stalking,” it’s “trying to read useful comments, and yours keep getting in the way.”

  • Anonymous

    Since when was the San Fernando Valley considered nice? I would never be caught dead in the Valley.

  • MacLeaner

    Shut up Anon – BE REAL is smarter than everyone here, just ask him…

  • Tennessee Bruin

    The reality is this, not everyone will view the UCLA job as desirable based upon what they value. We once had a coach that was courted with just about anything his heart desired. Fortunately Coach Wooden though seriously underpaid stayed with a program he had built and nurtured. The article implies no less a motivation to Coach Petersen. I will admit to being delusional at times but in this case I think not. As to deluded fans just how is doubting the imminent arrival of Coach Petersen reassuring to them?

  • ender

    @LAWYER JOHN

    “Second, and most importantly, the man has established a pretty nice football niche for himself. And he does not like the media much. Go to ucla and he would be bombarded by the press. Ain’t gonna happen.”

    Computers and the coaches’ [read: SID] polls aside, that might explain why he can’t get anybody in his corner when it comes to the BCS rankings…The Harris Poll still has voting media members, does it not?

    That said I wonder how good his chances are of busting the gates for the NC are once Kellen Moore leaves, considering the doubtful viability of the Big East as an AQ conference, IF even a conference. Knowing he’s a perennial snub for the big one, combined with his son’s doctor moving, MIGHT be enough to get him to seriously consider it. Then again, from everything I’m reading, he might be just as likely to bide his time in the Mountain West waiting for a playoff, or a +1 at the very least. We’re only a year off from the BCS being restructured, nothing’s certain.

    Somehow I get the feeling this full-court press isn’t going to work. With ASU targeting Sumlin among others, we might just end up with a retread from the NFL like Jim Mora, Jr. or Mike Martz. And damn it all if we hire DWW or :gasp: Tom Cable.

    Maybe Guerrero would do well to take a look at this site and pick his candidates:

    http://www.coachesbythenumbers.com/uclas-prodigal-son-is-fired-now-what/

  • ender

    And man…this comment section really needs an edit button, my bad…or is that only for registered users?

  • Shawnymoe

    Me being a bruin fan were screwed. I have no faith in D.G to make the right call on who the next coach will be. We won’t get anybody worth a damn he’ll sell it like the next coach was the best option and will take us to the promise land, only to take us back to the gutter and do this same process in about 3 years…..,