Doing a monster story on the UCLA offensive line – centerpiecing Sunday’s Daily News sports section, so it’s worth the 25 cents or whatever – and I sat down for a while with Adrian Klemm. I asked him one specific question I wanted answered – give me your recruiting pitch – and here was his answer. And answer. And answer. And answer. And answer…
Adrian Klemm on…..
“From an academic standpoint, you’re talking about one of the finest institutions in the country. A very diverse campus, and you’re in the middle of one of the most famous, safest areas, where the people you’ll rub elbows with can be beneficial to you even in life after football. A lot of times I tell people, it’s not a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision. This is going to dictate how the rest of your life is, whether you have success on or off the field, while you’re playing or if you go into the business world. You’re going to meet a lot of people here who will be beneficial to you once you do something else.
“Like I tell a lot of guys – even if you make it into the NFL, at some point you’re going to have to work. Very few guys go in there and play 15 years and I don’t think kids realize that sometimes. The average player plays 2.5-3 years, and really if you’re only playing 2.5-3 years, you’re not making that much money. You’re not making millions like people think. Every year in the draft, people think everyone’s making $15, $20 million out of the gate. Maybe 15 or 20 guys get that. The rest are in the low-hundreds; a lot of money, but when you take training into account, living in different places, paying agents, new money to family members – that can go pretty fast. You want something to fall back on. But then if you’re a guy who makes a ton of money and you don’t have to work but you want to invest, you want to have that network you can reach out to, also.
“You don’t want to go to some place just because of the uniform or just because of the stadium or just because of an individual coach. You want to go to a place that sets you up to have the best success, whether that’s on the field or off the field. You’d like to have the combination of both, and here at UCLA, obviously you get a great education, but from a football standpoint, too, you have a number of guys with a tremendous amount of experience, whether that’s coaching or playing. A lot of us have NFL experience – obviously Coach Mora has more than anybody else – and he’s a guy that, if you’re trying to get to that level, who better to get you to that level than a guy who has evaluated people up there and knows exactly what they’re looking for? If you want to be the best at your position, there’s a number of guys on this staff that can tell you how – not because they were the best at the position but because they’ve done it, they’ve made mistakes, they know what works and what doesn’t work and they can tell you exactly what it takes. At this level of football – Pac-12, SEC, Big-12 – everybody is a good coach. There’s not a lot that separates guys. But from the standpoint of the little things, the intangibles, there are some things that maybe guys like myself, Jeff, Coach Mora can add to the table. Not much more but a little more.
“I just try to sell that. It’s all about relationships when it comes down to it. It’s about who can set you up for the best future and it’s about relationships. Who is going to take care of you when you get there? Who is going to look out for you? Who is going to make sure you graduate? Who is going to keep your parents involved? Kids are leaving home and a lot of times now you’re seeing kids branch out across the country. It’s not just kids staying local. When they go out there, if a kid leaves California and goes to a Texas or a Florida halfway across the country, who is going to look out for them? More than likely it’s the guy who has established a relationship with the kid and his family. I just try to build trust, try to always be honest and I think everyone on the staff tries to do the same thing. You just hope that in the end, the kids appreciate that and they realize what’s best for them, and their parents are a stable support system, and they’re guided in the right direction.”