UCLA's Jim Mora: A. Despite NFL lifers' historical proclivity for flailing in recruiting circles (see: Gailey, Chan), Mora has thrived since taking the reins Dec. 13. The Bruins landed the No. 12 class in the nation (they ranked No. 44 in 2011), and half of that haul committed after Mora's hiring. Among the headliners: U.S. Army All-Americans quarterback Devin Fuller, defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy and wide receiver Jordan Payton -- the latter two of whom flipped from Pac-12 rivals on or before Signing Day
Glicksman's opinion goes along pretty well with the grades that we gave Mora and his staff for our class in Part 1 of AHMB's Recruiting Roundtable. It's pretty tough to win without talent, and Mora and Co took an important first step in that direction by maintaining the talent level on the roster and even upgrading in some areas. The coaching staff's next step will come in April when they lead the team through spring practice. There the new regime will begin to put its stamp on the current team, and we will see if it results in better discipline, sounder fundamentals, sharper execution, and a better overall football team.
An interesting part of the article is the grading for several names who were mentioned frequently on BN as hopeful replacements for Rick Neuheisel. Urban Meyer, who landed at tOSU and proceeded to break the unwritten rules by raiding his B1G
10 12 Ten rivals, was given an A+. Former Auburn OC Gus Malzahn and his recruiting wife, now at Arkansas St (non-BCS), graded an A. Larry Fedora, facing difficult circumstances at UNC, got a very respectable B+. BN favorite Mike Leach, while recruiting to the wasteland that is Pullman, managed an impressive B. Just wait to see what he does with those kids. Chianti target Kevin Sumlin got an A- at Texas A&M. And Arizona, who made an impressive hire of Rich Rodriguez, managed only a disappointing D when he failed to bring in any 4 or 5 star recruits. BTW, Jim Tressel's name was not on the list because no one in his right mind would advocate hiring him right now.
Of course these grades are subjective, but with the exception of RichRod, there wasn't much separation between the names we saw most on BN when we were looking for a new coach. Also, recruiting is not like AP classes. None of these coaches will get any bonus credit for their number of stars come Saturdays, and each of their respective schools has their own inherent pros and cons when it comes to recruiting top HS football players. We know U.C.L.A. has a lot of natural attributes, but the recent history of our program and especially the poor administrative support (read: Dan Guerrero) have to make U.C.L.A. football a tough sell right now. With that background, it was certainly a welcome surprise to see Mora bring in such a highly touted class for 2012. Now we will watch to see which of these new head coaches can develop their talented classes and create schemes that translate to a winning program in the fall.
If you want to jump over to AHMB's Recruiting Roundtable Part 1 to offer your own grade for Mora's class, just click here.