Signing Day press conference: Jim Mora

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Partial transcript below:

On the team’s main areas of need:

Our areas of concern was the offensive line. I thought we did what appears to be a pretty good job in addressing those concerns. The secondary is an area where we needed to add some depth. We feel like we’ve done a decent job at this point. Linebacker is another area where we felt like we needed to add some quality pieces. And defensive line and punter as well. When you lose a guy like Jeff Locke, somebody’s got to go out there and try to duplicate the success he had here, although that will be very hard.

On increased recruiting resources such as a private jet:

There was a lot of added resources. A lot of people on this campus stepped up and really contributed to the success we had today. The nature of recruiting today, it’s so competitive. It’s incredibly competitive. iIt’s become a national game for us. It’s not just about recruiting California kids. We’re always going to start with homegrown talent. We want California kids to play football in California. We want Southern California kids to stay in Southern California and play football in front of their friends and family. But we have to also be ready to go to other places in the country for good student-athletes. Having the benefit of a private jet allows you to get into some of these places quickly … when you’re up against time constraints.

On whether or not there was a turning point in recruiting momentum:

It’s just a slow and steady grind. Until that piece of paper comes across the fax, it isn’t over with any prospective student-athlete you’re recruiting.I don’t know that we ever felt any shifts in momentum. For us, it was just about grinding and never letting up. Never assuming that we had somebody locked down or somebody totally committed.

On landing four-star quarterback Asiantii Woulard:

He’s a big, athletic, smart, strong-armed football player. We, quite frankly, got lucky that he was out there and available when he was. The stars kind of aligned for us. He decommitted at a time when we were really thinking it was time to go get a quarterback. There were points in this process where we weren’t going to take a quarterback because we have Brett, who’s done a heck of a job. We have Jerry Neuheisel, who we think is a very good quarterback. Devin Fuller is a guy we recruited to be a quarterback here. T.J. Millweard. We’re bottom heavy. We have a lot of young guys and we wanted to space it out a little bit.

When Asiantii was there and he expressed interest in UCLA, and we did the research on him, it just seemed like the perfect fit for our offense. We expect him to come in and compete with those other guys and try to push everybody to be better.

On not having a running back (yet) in the 2013 class:

I’m very confident with the guys we have now. You’d have to be a heck of a running back to come in here as a freshman and replace Johnathan Franklin. sometimes people worry about not getting a running back in this class — yet. We’re not done. Let’s just make that clear. We’re not done. (Note: Four-star tailback Craig Lee was supposed to commit but couldn’t due to academics.) We still have some spaces available. There’s probably not a freshman, an incoming freshman in the United States of America that could come in here and replace Johnathan Franklin this year. We think we’ve got a good group of young backs on this team that — as a committee — can step up and do some of the things that Johnathan did.

On punter Sean Covington, in line to replace graduating senior and Ray Guy semifinalist Jeff Locke:

He’s got an excellent leg. He’s got good get-off. He’s a good directional punter. He’s got a strong leg on kickoffs. He’s a young man that’s unfazed by pressure. There were some times in all-star games where he was backed up and had to one-step it out of the end zone and bang a 65-yarder. He’s not gonna be affected by the environments we put him in here in the Pac-12. He’s pretty steady.

On which offensive linemen will vie for starting spots:

I see all seven of them coming in here and competing for a starting spot right away. We’re not going to limit what they can do.

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  • Thought Rick was a smooth talker but Mora surpasses him