It's almost here, boys and girls. National Signing Day for college football is tomorrow. I think you should all be up on the various developments around UCLA's recruiting class, what with the great job everyone has done in keeping us in the loop. It has truly been a community effort and hopefully we are rewarded with a great day tomorrow. It is time to wash away the underachievements of the last few years. Between basketball and football, UCLA has reeled in some stellar talent to Westwood, but their coaches have for the most part failed them. Coach Mora seems to have put an end to that. More importantly, he has brought excitement back to UCLA Football, instead of fear and dread. But as we all know, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. And the first step for Coach Mora and his staff is to get some coffee tomorrow. With that, here are a few notes and news about recruiting and a few other things in today's edition of Bruin Bites.
- Momentum is definitely on UCLA's side. Coach Mora seemingly has already solidified an impressive recruiting class, but he is not done. Several recruiting experts on Rivals are predicting some more surprises for UCLA tomorrow, citing names you have heard on BN for the last few weeks. This would be a major coup, though I for one am not that surprised when a big time recruit chooses to go to UCLA. Even Rick Neuheisel put together an impressive class right after a losing season. Some of our brethren on the SB Nation platform are expecting the same, and it should make tomorrow another exciting NSD! As one of the Rivals experts puts it:
If UCLA lands five-star Eddie Vanderdoes on signing day, a case will be made that its class is the most impressive top to bottom. You can't say enough about how far this program has come since Jim Mora took over.
- Coach Mora has done a great job of promoting the NSD event on campus tomorrow and building excitement around it, and it is one of the few things the Morgan Center has done well lately. It has been linked before but I am going to put it here again. You should definitely attend if you can! The first 1,000 people to enter Pauley Pavilion will receive a complimentary UCLA football t-shirt. Sign up here, and don't worry if you don't, show up anyway, Coach Mora has your back!
Signing Day Event DOES NOT require an RSVP...if you want to come, tell the folks at the door I said you are "on the list" and you are in!!— Jim Mora (@UCLACoachMora) February 2, 2013
- We have had several discussions on BN around the value of the various recruiting rankings. We have always seen it as a good indicator of talent, but it is also highly dependent on fit, character and coaching. All you have to do is look at the Super Bowl, where the QBs for each team were from powerhouses like Nevada and Delaware. (Side note: LOL at Jeff Tedford for turning down Kaepernick at Cal, another example of his inability to gauge talent). CBS Sports has put together a great, fact-based, dare I say BN-like analysis of recruiting rankings and how they stack up to performance. I really encourage you to read it, it delves deep into the relationship between recruit rankings and All-Americans and the winning percentages of teams based on team recruiting rankings. Really good stuff with a ton of research, which you will really enjoy if you liked similar posts on BN like PauleyDog's and LVBruin, to name a few. In short: these recruiting experts are pretty good and their rankings are statistically reliable.
- Success in college football is a stew. You need several ingredients to make a great stew. You can make a good stew with some of the ingredients, but you need them all to be great. Recruits, coaches, facilities. So while things are looking bright for UCLA Football's future, here is just a reminder that the work is hardly done. Two days before NSD, this is what Alabama has been up to: a brand new weight room to add to their already massive complex, complete with a juice room, a nutrition bar and a medical office suite. Here is the kicker: this was announced in August 2012, at which time their committee's unanimous decision approved a preliminary budget, as well as authorization for an architectural services contract. 6 months from decision to completion. Meanwhile, Chianti Dan Guerrero is still boasting about new turf on Spaulding and putting together his feasibility analysis for the new UCLA Football facility. We still have a long ways to go, my friends.
- From the ever growing UCLA Department of What Might Have Been, here is just a quick little stinger. It turns out, John Harbaugh, Super Bowl winning John Harbaugh, actually came in second to Rick Neuheisel for the UCLA head coaching job in 2007. Knowing how things operated back then, you can guess that it was Neuheisel's Bruinhood that pushed him just ahead. But here is the butterfly effect: if Harbaugh had in fact been hired...maybe the Niners would have won their 6th Super Bowl on Monday. Double stinger...
- Finally, because UCLA is no one-trick pony, here are some news on the science front. A new study by H. Clark Bennett, an anthropologist at UCLA, finds that babies as young as a year and a half can guess what other people are thinking. As a father to a seven month old boy, this is really encouraging news for me personally and it motivates me to teach my son to speak early. Yes, the motive is selfish, because then maybe he can finally help me figure out what my wife is thinking. The problem is, he will also be able to guess what I am thinking...that's not so good.
Happy Tuesday everyone!