While we were wrapped up with draft related news stories, some notes have been trickling in over at the football fronts. It looks like UCLA might be looking at considering two possible transfer options this summer. Colorado WR Josh Smith is considering a transfer to UCLA. From the Daily Camera (Boulder newspaper):
CU compliance director Julie Manning confirmed Friday that the former Buffs wide receiver also has been given a release to UCLA.
CU athletic director Mike Bohn and coach Dan Hawkins had originally limited Smith's release to Southern Cal. He informed them last month that he intended to transfer closer to home near Los Angeles to a school where he could pursue a specific music degree not offered at CU.
When CU limited his transfer option to just USC, he appealed the decision to a committee made up of three professors. They ruled on the side of Bohn and Hawkins, but Manning said a deal was worked out between Smith and Hawkins allowing the release and possible transfer to UCLA.
If Smith eventually ends up with the Bruins, he will be the second Buff in the past two offseasons to leave Boulder for Westwood, Calif. Former offensive lineman Kai Maiava left CU after the 2007 season for UCLA, where he is expected to be a heavy contributor this season for former CU coach Rick Neuheisel.
Per Dohn our coaches are "very interested" and if a scholarship becomes "available" there is a "very good chance" of this transfer "happening" in Westwood. Wanting to transfer to UCLA to pursue a degree in music (and a perhaps a career in that area after football) makes a lot of sense. Again if you need a reminder why it makes sense just check out the latest commencement speech at UCLA.
I mentioned there are two transfer possibilities this season. Besides Josh, UCLA also might be looking into Notre Dame sophomore tight end Joseph Fauria. Fauria apparently looked pretty impressive during spring practice and is still has some nice words for the ND program. From the South Bend Tribune:
"Coach Weis did so much for me. He'll always feel like a part of my family. I'm going to follow ND this fall. They're going to be very good."
Fauria was one of the biggest pleasant surprises of spring practice, jumping to No. 2 on the tight end depth chart behind incumbent starter Kyle Rudolph.
He played in three games in 2008, logging roughly 21 minutes of playing time with one special teams appearance. He caught two passes for 17 yards in the April Blue-Gold Game.
However, the cirumstances around why he is leaving the program stemming from a suspension by the university's Office of Residence Life for "undisclosed disciplinary reasons" seems rather odd. From Jay at the excellent ND blog Blue Gray Sky:
Fauria also claims he was forbidden to appeal the decision. Unlike the rest of you diligent and pious alums, I cannot quote chapter and verse from DuLac, so I paged through it this morning looking for the "appeals" guidelines. I was surprised to find that ND's disciplinary process only allows for "case reviews", not appeals, and even then only in situations where procedural defect is alleged or new information has come to light. Appealing simply on the grounds of "severity of punishment" is never considered. While this may be a crummy policy, what this tells us is that Fauria's lack of access to appeal probably wasn't out of the ordinary in the draconian world of ResLife.
I have no idea what Fauria did, and you probably don't, either. Fauria claims it was something minor (you'd laugh if you knew, he said in another interview). I will say that there seems to be a lot of rumors flying around, ranging from the merely prankish to more serious allegations. Unless Fauria himself divulges the details -- the school certainly won't -- we'll likely never know the facts in the case. Given that we don't know the details, and given the fact that ResLife has no reservoir of credibility to draw from, it's hard to know if justice was served in Fauria's suspension. (The decision to permanently transfer, of course, remains his.)
Per Dohn UCLA will "look at him." I sure hope the coaches and the UCLA's administrators do their due diligence and perform all the background check (including getting all the information from Notre Dame's "ResLife") before making their decision. It's not like we are hurting for depth at TEs.
Lastly, looking way ahead in recruiting UCLA just might have the early lead on a young QB from Los Angeles:
With thick blond hair and an instinct to lead, junior quarterback Jerry Neuheisel might provide some balance to blue-chip running back Anthony Barr in Los Angeles Loyola's offense this fall.
Neuheisel arrived from Baltimore last year after his father, Rick, was hired as UCLA's football coach. He helped the Cubs' sophomore team win a Serra League championship, and appears ready to make an impact at the varsity level.
He's 6 feet 1 and has some of the same qualities his father exhibited during his years as a quarterback at UCLA.
"He's got a little bit of the gunslinger attitude that his dad had," Coach Jeff Kearin said.
It hasn't hurt that Neuheisel has grown up with a football always nearby. He travels to UCLA and receives lessons from his father. And he has been looking forward to becoming a varsity quarterback for a long time.
"I'm ready," he said. "I've got to get used to the speed, and you have to get used to scenarios. You have to officially step up your game."
Kearin won a Southern Section title in his rookie season at Loyola in 2005 but since then has been unable to develop consistency at quarterback. Neuheisel can help change that. He had to beat out another junior, Brett Nelson, during spring practice, and he has to perform this summer to keep his job.
But that's Neuheisel's strength -- embracing pressure and expectations. He has a quick release and makes good decisions. His father has told him: "Just be ready and accept the challenge."
Sounds just like his Dad. Besides Jerry, Jack Neuheisel is also going to be enrolling at Loyola this Fall. He plays linebacker. Read rest of Eric Sondheimer's story here.
I am sure we are going to hear a lot about how the season unfolds for both of them this coming year. Also, I am sure they are going to do everything they can to talk up UCLA to their fellow classmates including Anthony Barr who is UCLA recruiting heavily for next season.