We are now in the midst of NCAA mandated dead period, which means Neuheisel and other football coaches around the country get to call a prospect only once a week and doesn’t get any face to face time during this period. I believe this dead period runs through most of the bowl season. Don’t know the exact date when it ends. I am going to assume it ends sometime before the Jan 9-11 weekend when the Bruins have a huge recruiting weekend set up in Westwood.
Just how busy though CRN and his staff were prior to this Monday? Dohn has a great report on UCLA’s feverish recruiting pace leading up to Monday:
Because there was no bowl practice and no scouting of an opponent, the staff has been able to fan out and visit dozens upon dozens of schools, and make in-home visits with a number of prospects.
Neuheisel went to 30 to 40schools, and was in approximately 10 homes to visit prospects and their families in Southern California, Arizona and Idaho. Not having a bowl to prepare for should also help with UCLA's 2010 recruiting class.
The Bruins were behind in recruiting much of this season because Neuheisel was hired in late December and then had to finish recruiting the 2008 class and hire a coaching staff. The lack of bowl practice allowed for the staff to play catch-up.
"The USC juggernaut was started because they were so out there (recruiting) and they got their classes done, and they were ahead," Neuheisel said. "This is important for 2009 and 2010. That's why I'm going to more schools instead of home visits. This is something that never was done here."
I am not going to beat up on the previous coach any more but CRN’s comment really tells us what we need to know.
CRN has been out there recruiting his tail off selling kids on the message of starting something special at UCLA:
Remarkably, though, Neuheisel said conversation with recruits rarely includes UCLA's 4-8 record and its non-bowl playing status.
"I talk about how hard we played, and I talk about the opportunity to play, the coaching staff we have," Neuheisel said. "And I also talk about the attendance. We finished with the third-highest attendance (72,795) in UCLA history, so if they're that excited about us now, think about how excited they will be when we get it going."
The results of CRN's pitch are pretty clear given what we have seen in recent days. Bruins now have 13 commitment from high school seniors punctuated by the blockbuster story on Morrell Presley. Morrell is such a done deal that he has already enrolled into UCLA and will be joined by fellow blue chipper Richard Brehaut. Bruins will also have in the fold JC lineman Ryan Taylor from Texas who will be available this spring. They also have commitments from 3 other JC recruits provided they clear the academic requirements before officially signing up with UCLA.
Another sign recruiting took precedent over anything else is Chow's heavy involvement. When Chow was hired last offseason, the agreement included the stipulation he would not spend much time on the recruiting circuit.
However, earlier this month Chow flew to Hawaii to visit with prospects, and he was in Utah last week visiting with players, and will continue to recruit hard in an effort to rebuild UCLA's talent base.
"It's more (recruiting) than I thought it would be," Chow said. "But that's what we have to do."
I am going to take a guess and postulate that CRN’s relentless enthusiam and passion for this job has rubbed off on even an elder stateman like Chow. When someone as reserved as Chow get caught up in Neuheisel’s fever pitch, you can’t help but feel optimistic about what we might be in store for wrt to long term future of this program.