While Dohn and some others in LA's traditional media were too busy playing the what-if game with Mike Leach and UCLA, CRN was using the power of relentless optimism to reel in a monster defensive recruit. From the Las Vegas Sun:
Silverado senior defensive end Keenan Graham could have played football for virtually any college he desired.
In the end it was a springtime trip to UCLA that swayed the top recruit as Graham verbally committed to the Bruins on Monday morning.
With programs like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas, Arizona, Washington State, Utah, Maryland, Colorado, and Vanderbilt beating down his door, Graham said it was an unofficial visit to UCLA this spring and the relationship with the Bruins coaches that helped him make up his mind.
"I went to visit the campus and (head coach) Rich Neuheisel took me on a tour of the school," Graham said. "That meant a lot to me. I had a real good feel for the school and the program. Even with all the other great schools I went to, I still had this connection to UCLA. It just felt right."
Graham began to gain national interest at the Long Beach Nike Combine on March 15 where he posted a time of 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the fastest time for any lineman and faster than several smaller athletes in attendance.
The 6-foot, 3-inch, 208-pounder amassed 72 tackles and 15 sacks last year, including a sack in eight of 10 games and nine in a four-game span. He continued to punish offenses this year with 73 tackles, seven sacks and three fumble recoveries and even flashed his speed with a 78-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Welcome to Westwood Keenan. Check out his scout.com bio here. More from ESPN, which reports that Keenan will make the committment official this weekend when he is on an official visit:
Standout defensive end Keenan Graham has decided to commit to UCLA and will make it official when he visits the school this weekend, ESPN's Greg Biggins reports.
Graham took official visits to Nebraska, Wisconsin and Colorado and was scheduled to visit USC December 12.
"I decided to be a Bruin," Graham said. "I'm going to take my official trip this weekend and my plan, if everything goes well, is to commit while I'm on campus. I've liked UCLA for awhile now and I really fell in love with the school when I visited in the spring."
"I just feel like that's the right place for me and I think the timing is right to do it now. I've already told the coaches I plan to commit so you can say it's a done deal. I still have that visit to USC set up but if things go good this weekend, I'll likely cancel it and this will be my last trip."
Considering how badly we needed a marquee DE recruit, this is a monster get. With Keenan and Datone Jones as bookends, things could shape up really well for UCLA defense in the coming years.
Needless to say the class of 2009 is shaping up rather nicely now. Here is the full list of UCLA commits to date. Obviously CRN and his coaches are not done yet.
Let's keep the faith.