Well that was fun. Let's wrap up what has been an incredibly successful recruiting effort by Mora and his new staff at UCLA with some quick thoughts and data points.
When Mora took over the UCLA program our expectation was for him to finish out UCLA's recruiting class in this transition year with a strong effort, addressing critical needs at QBs, WRs, and DBs. Needless to say Mora has blown past all of our expectations with what turned out to be a great finish in the last few days and with a strong closing performance on signing day. As of right now, UCLA's class is ranked number 11 on Scout.com, no. 12 on Rivals.com and no. 19 on ESPN.com.
It is worth mentioning that Rick Neuheisel also had a good signing day in his first one as a UCLA coach. However, that effort was different than this one as Neuheisel held on to a class that was put together by Karl Dorrell's staff, spearheaded by Dewayne Walker as the Bruins were a year removed from 13-9. What makes Mora's success in last few weeks remarkable is that he essentially transformed the recruiting class Neuheisel left behind this past season by flipping recruits from other schools, who would have been interested in UCLA but became lukewarm due to our on field issues from last 2 seasons. Mora strategically built his staff by bringing in fierce, ace recruiters right away and also taking advantage of relationships built through his coaching network. Many of us had concerns about Mora's ability to recruit when his name came up. He has at least addressed that specific issue by knocking it out of the park.
Bruins have stocked up this class with solid prospects at DB, WR and with number of elite prospects highlighted by Ellis McCarthy and Devin Fuller. We will have lot more thoughts on the first recruiting class of Coach Jim Mora in the coming days. I will share some quick bullets from the official site after the jump.
The official site provided the following pointers on the student athletes who signed with UCLA today:
- 1 recruit named to Rivals.com Top 50 JUCO list (A. Ceachir-44)
- 1 recruit named to the USA Today HS All-America Team - E. McCarthy
- 3 recruits named to the Rivals.com National 100 (E. McCarthy-21, A, D. Fuller-37, B., J. Payton-93)
- 4 recruits named to the ESPNU National Top 150 (D. Fuller-39, E. McCarthy-43, T.J. Millweard-91, I. Adams-128)
- 4 recruits played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl (D. Fuller, I. Adams, E. McCarthy, J. Payton)
- 5 recruits named to the PrepStar 150 (D. Fuller-9, E. McCarthy-12, C. Hulick-31, I. Adams-83, J. Payton-105)
- 6 recruits named to the Rivals.com National Top 250 (E. McCarthy-21, D. Fuller-37, J. Payton-93, I. Adams-117, J. Williams-227, L. Westbrook-238)
- 7 recruits listed in the Scout.com National 300 (E. McCarthy-23, I. Adams-81, D. Fuller-88, J. Payton-95, L. Castro-211, M. Rios-267, A. Porter-268)
- 10 recruits earned All-America honors from at least one publication.
- 13 recruits named to the Rivals.com California 100 (E. McCarthy-3, J.Payton-16, I. Adams-18, L. Westbrook-34, M.Rios-35, A. Porter-36, J. Castro-40, C. Cyburt-59, K. Walker-60, R. Goforth-71, N. Iese-72, I. Taubler-85, C. Hulick-100)
- 15 recruits were listed among the Scout.com West 150
More details over here, where you can also find links to numerous videos Ralph and his crew rolled out today. I think the video featuring Coach Yarber - our WR coach - is worth sharing given the way Yarber closed out with some great gets in last 48 hours:
UCLA Football Signing Day 3:00 Update (via UCLA)
Sounds like Ahmad Harris will be slotted in as WR. While he came out of nowhere on NSD it will be very interesting to track his development. One thing to note here is that given Mora's time as the Falcon's head coach, he will well tapped into the Georgia prep scene. So it will not be a surprise if he has a leg up on scouting compared to other coaches. It was interesting to read how Ohio State tried to get in on another Bruin recruit Fabian Moreau after Mora's staff spotted him out of nowhere.
Of course Yarber was not the only recruiting star in our staff. The entire crew spearheaded by Adrian Klemm, Demetrice Martin, Steve Broussard, Angus McClure under the leadership of Mora certainly served notice in last few weeks.
The big question for all UCLA alums and fans now though is whether this staff will be able to pivot from this NSD success to a breakthrough season on the field. The anticipation will only keep building as we go into spring ball and get ready for September.
Lastly, before we sign off a huge thanks to AHMB, gbruin, Patroclus, Ryan, Bellerophon, tasser10 for making these last few weeks and especially last 48 hours of following recruiting so much fun. We have had our share of tough moments as UCLA junkies given the struggles of our major revenue programs during the forgettable tenure of Dan Guerrero. However, if someone like Mora can thrive despite Guerrero's incompetence (he kind of hinted at it during this epic exchange with Neuheisel), it makes days like today worth it for all of all us who bleed blue and gold.