Jim Mora: Jeff Ulbrich still ‘contemplating’ Falcons’ job offer

The Atlanta Falcons have offered UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich a position as the linebackers coach, interrupting what was looking like a very successful National Signing Day.

However, the 37-year-old has yet to decide whether to accept the job opening.

“Jeff has assured me he has not come to a conclusion yet,” said UCLA head coach Jim Mora. “He is contemplating whether or not he wants to do that. I’m going to fight tooth and nail to keep him here because I think he’s an outstanding coach. …

“I’m going to fight like crazy to keep that sucker, and it’s going to be a battle, because Dan Quinn, he’s a fighter.”

Mora said that newly hired Falcons head coach Dan Quinn first reached out to him as a courtesy on Tuesday night, asking if he could contact Ulbrich. Mora said no — smiling, as he recalled the moment — but in the NFL, permission isn’t needed. Mora and Quinn’s relationship stretches back to their time on the San Francisco 49ers staff. The former became the defensive coordinator in 1999, and hired the latter as a defensive quality control coach two years later. Quinn was soon promoted to defensive line coach.

That same connection also ties the men to Ulbrich, who spent his entire 10-year NFL career in San Francisco before retiring from playing in 2009. Continue reading

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With Ulbrich in limbo, linebacker Roquan Smith reopens recruitment

Roquan Smith’s recruitment won’t be ending today.

The four-star linebacker from Montezuma (Ga.) Macon County had announced his decision to attend UCLA over Georgia this morning on ESPN, but the news was soon followed by a stunner. FOX Sports reported that the Bruins’ defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich would take a job as the Atlanta Falcons’ linebackers coach.

A source indicated that Ulbrich and the Falcons were not a done deal, but the damage was done. Smith not only did not send in his letter of intent, but has now reopened his recruitment.

“He’s going to open things up with his recruiting,” Macon County coach Larry Harold told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s pretty much UGA, Michigan, and Texas A&M – and UCLA is still in it. Coach Ulbrich told him that he hasn’t signed anything yet (with the Falcons), and that he hasn’t made a decision. So I think they are still in it as well. We’re going to sit back for a couple of days and see how this thing plays out.”

UCLA head coach Jim Mora is slated to talk to the media at 4:30 p.m. today.

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Three-star safety Nathan Meadors commits to UCLA

UCLA has picked up its last commitment of the 2015 class*, as three-star safety Nathan Meadors announced he would become a Bruin.

Meadors played mostly quarterback for San Bernardino San Gorgonio as a senior, but projects as a defensive back at the next level. He added during his announcement on Fox Sports Prime Ticket that he could see playing time on offense as well.

He picked the Bruins over Notre Dame, although Cal and Boise State were also among the finalists.

*Pending what happens with Jeff Ulbrich and four-star linebacker Roquan Smith.

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Four-star defensive tackle Joseph Wicker commits to Arizona State

UCLA started National Signing Day with a bang, but it wasn’t able to pull a clean sweep on ESPNU’s loaded slate of announcements.

Four-star defensive tackle Joseph Wicker committed to Arizona State over the Bruins and Texas Tech. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound lineman is a top-100 national recruit who is ranked No. 12 at his position by Rivals.com. He was UCLA’s only chance to add an interior defensive lineman in the 2015 recruiting class.

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No. 1 cornerback Iman Marshall commits to USC via music video

Almost everyone in the college football world expected Iman Marshall to commit to USC. But how many expected him to do it like this?

The top-ranked cornerback prospect announced he would become a Trojan through a music video released on Bleacher Report — a 2:54 oddity in an increasingly extravagant world of recruiting ceremonies. The 6-foot-1, 194-pound defensive back is ranked the No. 3 recruit in the country at any position by Rivals.com.

The Long Beach Poly product had LSU, UCLA, Notre Dame, Michigan and Florida State as his other finalists.

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Receiver Cordell Broadus, Snoop Dogg’s son, commits to UCLA

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Cordell Broadus has signed with UCLA, giving the Bruins the receiver it needed in the 2015 class — as well as another son of a hip-hop icon on the roster.

The four-star prospect announced his decision to pick the Bruins over Arizona State, LSU and USC on ESPN. His father, rapper Snoop Dogg, also appeared during the announcement wearing UCLA gear, despite his well-known history as a Trojan fan.

“We’re Bruins now,” Snoop Dogg said.

UCLA had lost wideouts Ryan Newsome (to Texas) and L.J. Reed (to JUCO) earlier in the day, although other signees such as athlete Stephen Johnson III and defensive back Octavius Spencer could potentially line up on offense.

Currently on the roster is cornerback Justin Combs, the son of mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.

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Atlanta Falcons looking to hire UCLA’s Jeff Ulbrich as assistant

On National Signing Day, UCLA might be at risk of losing one of its best recruiters.

FOX Sports reported that the Atlanta Falcons are hiring Jeff Ulbrich — who just finished his first season as the Bruins’ defensive coordinator — as a linebackers coach.

However, a source indicated that Ulbrich going to the Falcons is not a done deal. The 37-year old worked as UCLA’s linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for two seasons before being promoted in 2014.

Ulbrich has spoken highly about both UCLA head coach Jim Mora and newly hired Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn, calling both tremendous influences on his defensive philosophy.

The reports could already have significant ramifications on the Bruins’ 2015 recruiting class. Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith committed to UCLA over Georgia on ESPNU this morning, but has not sent in his national letter of intent. The Montezuma, Ga., native called Ulbrich a significant factor in his recruitment.

Smith’s coach at Macon County, Larry Harold, confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Ulbrich’s uncertain status was what held up the commitment.

“We just got off the phone with Ulbrich,” Harold told the AJC. “He said he hasn’t signed any papers with the Falcons. So he talked to Roquan, and he let him know that he was going to check into everything and get back to him. …

“That’s what his decision to UCLA came down to – Roquan’s relationship with Ulbrich. That’s what it came down to as the difference between UGA and UCLA. He has been there since the first day. Recruiting is about the relationships. It always comes down to the relationships.”

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Linebacker Cassius Peat flips from UCLA to Michigan State

UCLA has had a great start to National Signing Day, but it’s taken a few hits as well.

Linebacker Cassius Peat had committed to the Bruins in October, but held another announcement ceremony at Corona Del Sol in Tempe, Ariz., today. This time, he picked up a Michigan State hat.

Earlier on Wednesday, receiver Ryan Newsome also decommitted from UCLA, opting for Texas less than two weeks after his original announcement.

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Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith commits to UCLA

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UPDATE: Smith has not yet signed his national letter of intent. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the four-star linebacker is waiting to see if defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich leaves to become the Atlanta Falcons’ linebackers coach.

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UCLA is looking almost unstoppable on National Signing Day.

The Bruins picked up yet another high profile recruit, going four for four on ESPNU when four-star linebacker Roquan Smith pulled on blue and gold gloves. An inside linebacker who is one of the top-100 recruits in the country, Smith decided to pick UCLA over Georgia despite growing up about 2.5 hours south of the Athens campus.

“I just wanted to get out, do my own thing, experience something different. … It just felt like home,” he said.

The 6-foot, 203-pound linebacker credited defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich for keying his recruitment. Ulbrich, who served as the team’s linebackers coach before being promoted last year, first saw Smith as a sophomore.

“He’s been with me from day one,” Smith said.

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Four-star offensive guard Josh Wariboko commits to UCLA

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Four-star offensive guard Josh Wariboko has committed to UCLA, continuing the Bruins’ huge stretch run to close their 2015 signing class.

Ranked the top recruit in the state of Oklahoma, Wariboko picked UCLA over the home state Sooners and national champion Ohio State. He said the fact that the Bruins had already secured top recruits such as five-star quarterback Josh Rosen made the decision easier for him and his family.

“I saw the energy, the belief in what Jim Mora and his staff had going on down there,” the 6-foot-3, 314-pound lineman said during his announcement on ESPNU.

UCLA also reeled in tight end Chris Clark and running back Soso Jamabo, ranked No. 1 at their respective positions by Scout.com.

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