This happens every year. Summer starts of a little slow with not a lot of commitments and then all on a sudden boom. Rick Neuheisel and the Bruins caught fire on the recruiting trail this weekend by picking up three commitments for next fall's recruiting class. In a span of 24 hours UCLA picked up commitment from a talented TE, OL, and another CB, who were all coveted by other Pac-12 programs. So much for Neuheisel not having a lot of momentum on recruiting trail.
The first to accept a scholarship was Ian Taubler, a 6 foot 5 tight end from Fresno who turned down offers from Oregon State and Southern Cal among others to become a bruin. Ian is no slouch in the classroom either, with one of those other offers being made by Yale (his brother plays QB for the Bulldogs). Gold thinks Taubler is a key early get, noting that at 6-5, 250 pounds, he has "a solid, strong frame with good blocking skills" even though "a possible shift to offensive tackle at some point wouldn't be out of the question."
After Ian made his verbal, Coach Neuheisel got the call from Mario Yakoo that he too would be coming to UCLA. Yakoo, a 6 foot 4, 320 pound offensive lineman from Spring Valley, was recruited by Oregon State and Arizona. Yakoo spoke to Greg Biggins about his decision to come to UCLA (ESPN Insider, but the excerpt comes from the pre-firewall preview):
"They offered me today and I jumped on it," Yakoo said. "I camped at UCLA last week and I thought I did pretty well. My goal was to play well enough to get an offer and that's just what happened. I've liked UCLA for a while now so when they offered I didn't waste much time in accepting it."I pretty pumped right now because UCLA is such a good school. I really enjoyed working with the coaches at the camp and it felt like home to me. I didn't plan on committing so early but when I thought about it, UCLA was my top school and where I felt most comfortable so I didn't see a need to wait."
I guess Nestor's point on Neuheisel and OL recruiting could not be more timely enough. We can never have enough OLs on our roster and it is good have someone like Yakoo on board so early.
Following Taubler, Yakoo, Gardena Serra CB Raymond Ford became the 6th commit for Bruins in this year's class. From Biggins again:
Ford was an all-state selection as a junior and has been a varsity starter since his freshman season. He was the DB MVP runner up at the SoCal Nike camp and flashed his explosive speed this past weekend at UCLA.
"I had a really good camp at UCLA," Ford said. "I ran a 4.38-40 and then they made me run again and I went 4.36. I did well in the one-on-ones as well and after the camp was over, I got an offer from them.
Some videos of these guys after the jump.
Here is Taubler:
While there is no video for Yakoo, Bruin fans do not need to be convinced about the importance of an OL.
You can see the full list of our commits here. Let's all wish a warm welcome to Taubler, Yakoo and Ford.