Karma has an interesting way of working out. When Rick Neuheisel did the right thing in an emphatic decision to dismiss Josh Shirley and couple of other recruits out of UCLA for allegedly stealing from another Bruin student, there were few Bruin fans on message boards complaining about CRN moving too fast. The whining at some corners became louder when Steve Sarkasian and bunch of other coaches decided to look the other way and take in those former UCLA recruits without waiting for their legal situation to resolve.
Well it looks like the situation at UCLA might be working out even better for CRN as it appears he is about to land one of most coveted DT recruit from last year's recruiting class. As it has been fanshotted already from the LA Times, Brandon Willis - a 4 star 6-2.5/255 DT - who had committed to UNC this past year (over UCLA and Tennessee) is heading towards UCLA:
Willis, who played at Byrnes High School in Duncan, S.C., was given his release from North Carolina and is expected to enroll at UCLA in September and redshirt. He will have four years of eligibility remaining.
Gold confirmed the story on his Daily News blog via Rivals.com:
Scout.com's No. 21 defensive tackle Brandon Willis has asked for and gotten his release from North Carolina and will transfer to UCLA, Willis told Rivals.com. Willis was a major target for Neuheisel and Co. last year before picking Tennessee, but he decommitted when Lane Kiffin left the school earlier this year and chose North Carolina. UCLA officials would not comment on the matter.
Call CRN both lucky and an amazing recruiter.We will expand on that after the flip.
As for Willis, the young man has been going through a very tough situation per Coach Butch Davis from North Carolina. He recently lost his Mom, and his Dad just found new employment opportunities near LA so he wants his son near him. As a result it looks like now Bruins will be fortunate to have Willis in the fold.
Just a year ago UCLA's dept at DL was looking iffy with the departures of Brian Price and Jerzy Siewierski. Thanks to emergence of Nate Chandler, development (at least physically and on practice field) Justin Edison, and contributions of Cassius Marsh andSeali'i Epenesa, UCLA's defensive frontline depth was already looking decent during the current camp even after Datone went down.
Now the Bruins are only going to lose David Carter to graduation. Once Willis is ready to contribute next season following a redshirt season our depth is going to look pretty good. Moreover, there is a good chance that CRN will be bringing in another recruit or two in this year's class. I simply don't remember UCLA having this kind of depth on the DL since I started following this team in late 80s. It is pretty damn amazing what CRN has been able to do here in little more than three seasons.
Oh there is another little detail regarding Brandon Willis that no one has brought up. Hello Kiffin wanted him so bad in Tennessee that he (allegedly) threw hostesses after him (allegedly) running afoul of NCAA provisions. Yet after all that nonsense, it now appears that Willis is going to end up a Bruin.
Let's hope it all works out. After all we have had our share of roller coaster rides with UCLA admissions (i.e. Mobley situation from Ohio State). However, this looks promising considering UCLA had already offered Brandon Willis before and at the time he seemed qualified for UCLA. Assuming all transfer processes work out, right now Bruins are in the driver's seat.
Still, it all goes back to karma, and if CRN continues to make the right/principled moves - like he did with Josh Shirley - karma will continue to work out in his favor.