Priest Willis (#3), Bruin-to-be? - USA TODAY Sports
An open thread tracking the scheduled commitment announcements of UCLA recruiting targets Tahaan Goodman and Priest Willis, as well as the latest news on UCLA Football recruiting and other notes.
There is plenty of recruiting news out there today for UCLA and the conference, so lets get to it. With less than two weeks left before signing day, football prospects are quickly committing to schools and securing their scholarship offers. Two of UCLA's of key Bruin Football recruiting targets will be announcing their decisions today: Tahaan Goodman and Priest Willis.
Tahaan Goodman's announcement is scheduled for 2:30pm Pacific time, and Priest Willis is set to announce at 6pm Pacific. We will post streaming links to the announcements if/when they become available. The UCLA Recruiting section of BN has a number of recent posts on the recruitment of these two, as well as many of our other recruiting targets and recent commits.
Goodman and Willis are close friends, and it has been long understood that they plan to play for the same school. They have offers from pretty much the whole Pac-12, as well as Florida, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, but the common wisdom has been that their recruiting battle has come down to the Bruins and LSU. Even folks covering the LSU program now see the pair coming to UCLA.
After numerous phone calls to sources around the situation, NOLA.com has learned that Willis will likely choose UCLA in a decision that surprised many around him.
Keep in mind that the above statement is from a Louisiana publication: LSU has always been in the hunt for Willis, and likely will turn out to have been his second choice, but the Bruins have been leading or at least significantly in the picture for his recruitment for a long time. A UCLA commitment, if it does happen, should come as little surprise to anyone outside of Louisiana or the greater SEC footprint.
At least the Tigers got an official visit from Priest. Tahaan Goodman did have an official visit planned last weekend for Baton Rouge, but after a last minute cancellation, he spent the weekend hanging out with Willis and the other recruits who took their official visits to Westwood. Not a good sign for LSU in their efforts at Goodman and Willis.
To go along with today's two announcements, there are a pair of recruits planning to take official visits this week. Florida QB Ashantii Woulard will be coming west this weekend, following an in-home visit by the UCLA coaching staff, including Coach Mora.
We have known about his planned visit for a couple of days, but there is a second visitor whose plans have come together quickly. Texas WR prospect and former Texas A&M commit Quincy Adeboyejo has scheduled a late official visit to UCLA, beginning this afternoon. Much of the coaching staff is scheduled to be away on recruiting trips, but Coach Yarber will be staying for the visit, allowing Quincy to check out campus and how he would fit in academically (ESPN Insider). After LA, he will take a trip to visit Ole Miss before planning to announce his final choice next week.
With Adeboyejo's scholarship offer and visit, it stands to reason that there have been some developments in our receiver recruiting. It is now official that Ammon Barker will not be signing with UCLA.
Three-star wide receiver Ammon Barker texted me that he is no longer committed to #UCLA.— Edward Lewis (@EdwardLewisBSR) January 23, 2013
The Bruin staff's enthusiasm toward Ammon had waned in recent weeks, which makes sense given the following.
Ammon Barker's main recruiter at #UCLA was Marques Tuiasosopo. It appears the Bruins interest in the three-star WR left with him.— Edward Lewis (@EdwardLewisBSR) January 23, 2013
Barker has been shopping around for other scholarship offers over the past couple of weeks, with visits to Hawaii and San Diego State planned. All the best to Ammon, wherever he ends up.
He is not the only Pac-12 recruit to see his offer dry up. The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Mike Leach has 'Pulled a Kiffin'. In fact, he has done even worse than Lane, by completely pulling a scholarship offer from DeSoto (Texas) safety Myron Turner, a longtime Wazzu commit.
Turner, a 6-0, 175-pound safety for the 5A Division I semifinalists, took his official visit to Washington State last weekend. He’d been committed to Mike Leach since October, and – according to Mathis – had since spurned all other suitors.
Nevertheless, Mathis got a call on Monday that Washington State was no longer going to honor its offer, deciding to go with a bigger safety...
Understandably, DeSoto head coach Claude Mathis was not pleased (to say the least) with Leach's behavior.
"You just don’t do a kid like that," Mathis said. "Washington State isn’t welcome at DeSoto any longer."
... What made Mathis even more unhappy was that Leach took a visit to DeSoto last week, sitting in Mathis’ office and not once mentioning that Turner’s offer might be at risk.
"He didn’t say a thing," Mathis said.
You start to understand why recruits often keep their options open even after unofficially committing to a school.
Southern Cal has not turned away any more recruits this week, but one of their formerly-committed prospects has said thanks, but no thanks to the trojans. Defensive lineman Jason Hatcher became the 6th recruit from this class (and the 3rd defensive lineman) to decommit from Southern Cal. They also announced the firing of defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders, just a couple of days after the trojans hosted one of their largest commit weekends. It is a coaching move that has already drawn criticism from recruits:
Firing coach Sanders wasn't cool mane! One of the best coaches on the staff— Nics ✌ (@NicoFalah) January 23, 2013
As an O-Lineman, Falah was not going to be coached directly by Sanders, but sometimes other coaches can have a big impact on recruiting (see 2012's #CalGang as an example). And he is under heavy pressure from Sark and the Washington coaches to flip to the Huskies. Jalen Ramsey, a 5-star defensive back prospect from Tennessee who committed to the trojans last summer has been said to be wavering in his commitment, strongly considering offers from Florida and Florida State even before news of his position coach-to be's firing broke.
As you can see, plenty of recruiting news to follow in these final days before LOI day. To remind everyone, Tahaan Goodman's announcement is scheduled for 2:30pm, and Priest Willis's for 6pm.
There is no live video feed for Tahaan Goodman's announcement, but you can follow along with Fox Sports reporter Annabel Stephan's twitter feed for news. She will be on site reporting on his decision.
A live stream of Priest Willis's announcement ceremony is available here, via Fox Sports Arizona.
This is your open thread for these announcements, and any other recruiting news of the day.