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Signing Day Thoughts

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UPDATE: Per Rivals.com Conte has switched back to Cal. Per this list Conte sent his LOI to UCB not UCLA. Tedford may have beaten out Dorrell (shocking I know) for a key recruit in the very last minute. Anyways good luck to Chris. GO BRUINS. -N

National signing day is today. If you are a recruiting junkie you would there are no last minute surprise signees from UCLA football program. UCLA had only 12 scholarship to gave out this season. They ended up giving 11. Here is the committ list.

All information taken from Scout.com's BruinReportOnline, which does a great job (along with BruinBlitz, Rival.com's Bruin affliate) of keeping track of Bruin recruiting both in hoops and in football. If you are a recruiting junkie like yours truly and can afford it I highly recommend subscribing to those sites to stay up to date concerning recruiting in all Bruin sports:

Bruin Commit List

Name Pos Nat’l Rank Stars School Hometown Notes per Scout.com
Brian Price DT 7 Crenshaw Senior HS Los Angeles, CA "The best defensive tackle in the West"
Raymond Carter RB 16 Crenshaw Senior HS Los Angeles, CA Considered one of the best RBs in Southern Cal with good, size and "elusive" speed
Courtney Viney CB 10 Edison HS Fresno, CA May have the best instincts out of any corner out West
Chris Forcier QB 19 St. Augustine HS San Diego, CA One of the most athletic dual threat QBs from West
Nate Chandler TE 7 Mira Mesa Senior HS San Diego, CA An All State prototype TE who can both catch and block
Steve Sloan SLB 9 Archbiship Mitty HS San Jose, CA A tough, explosive, speedy tackler
Akeem Ayers DE 12 Verbum Dei HS Los Angeles, CA An explosive pass rusher who Pom Pom went after really hard
Mike Harris OG 28 Duarte HS Duarte, CA Mammoth 6’5 305 OL who will likely play guard
Glenn Love S 47 Hamilton HS Chandler, AZ "Raw" athlete who "is a bigtime playmaker"
Chris Conte S 65 Loyola HS Los Angeles, CA LA safety who had originally committed to Cal
Justin Edison DE 91 Verbum Dei HS Los Angeles, CA Late bloomer who may contribute to Bruin DL in couple of years

For its size it's actually a pretty decent class. The current class although may be small, in terms of ratings rank second in the Pac-10 and eighth in the country averaging 3.73 (based on Scout.com's nat'l rankings) per committed recruit. Not too bad.

Brian Price is of course the only 5 star recruit of this year’s class. How badly did Pom Pom want Brian Price? Here is today's LA Times:

The black car idled outside Crenshaw High, waiting to whisk Brian Price to USC.

Price, a highly regarded defensive lineman, had committed to UCLA months before and had told USC coaches he was not interested in an official visit to their campus.

USC scheduled one anyway — and sent the conspicuous vehicle to deliver Price to Heritage Hall last month.

Price did not get into the chauffeur-driven automobile — a Lincoln Town Car, according to USC; a limousine, according to Price's father and other witnesses — but its arrival at Crenshaw was emblematic of the never-quit recruiting mentality that helped fuel USC's return to prominence and, according to some experts, has lately infused UCLA as well.
A "never quit mentality"? From the same article:
NCAA rules forbid the use of limousines or helicopters to transport recruits during official paid visits, but luxury sedans, such as Town Cars, can be permissible, according to NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson.

Price said he had told Trojans assistant coach Ken Norton Jr. on Jan. 18 that he would not make an official visit to USC. Price said he was in his fourth-period class at Crenshaw the next day when he was informed, "there's a limo waiting outside for you to come to USC."

Price's father, Frank, who works as a softball coach at Crenshaw, said he then called Norton to tell him his son would not be getting into the limousine.

Asked if he knew the difference between a Town Car and a stretch limousine, Frank Price said, "That limo was long. That was no Town Car."
So not only Trojans are shameless recruiters with no morals, (of course LAT is glorifying that behavior) that story is yet another example of how there is no regard whatsoever for rules and regulations. They will do anything to get an advantage even if it means blurring lines between what is right and wrong.

Anyways Price is a Bruin. Brian Dohn profiled the jewel of UCLA's 2007 recruiting class today in the Daily News. He is the only second 5 star recruit Dorrell has brought into Westwood (and he was billed as a dynamite recruiter when he first arrived in Westwood). Still the class has some promising prospects which includes Forcier, Carter, and Ayers.

Forcier was also recruited by Michigan. And if you watched any of the Rose Bowl, you’d understand why the Wolverines were interested in a QB who can scramble. Forcier still has to work on throwing techniques. However, per experts if he gets good coaching in college he could turn out to be a solid QB (now will he get solid coaching that is another question).

Carter could turn out to be the explosive running backs, Bruins currently lack in their roster. However, the returns on his senior season were mixed. Lot of recruiting junkies think he may turn out to be a game breaker. We will see next season. Markey, Williams, and Moline are decent options at TBs, but none of them have that game breaking speed. It would be very cool if Raymond can make an instant impact.

As mentioned in the notes (and also in the LAT article linked above) Pom Pom went after Ayers very hard (he also went after Price too). If DeWayne Walker can come up with a defensive unit which is as effective against teams with college type spread offenses, as it was against pro-sets, talents like Price and Ayers may turn out to be great gets from this year’s class.

The main concern with this class was there were no game breaking WRs in this class. Again I wonder if anyone will ask Dorrell the question why despite being a "WR Coach" in the NFL, in his five years in Westwood why he has not been able to land even one five star WR prospect (Terrance Austin from last year was a four star recruit).

Now I realize there are lot of skepticism wrt star rankings. Sure some players get undue bumps in rankings after committing to certain programs. And often time certain classes turn out to be total busts. But as Brian over at MGoBlog pointed out last year generally the rankings assigned by lot of the recruiting services have been fairly on the money. He pointed out yesterday that if the players don’t develop into the kind of performers as they were projected out to be out of high schools, instead of blaming recruiting services star rankings, perhaps we should focus on coaches/programs, who fail to develop and harness that talent.

The pressure will be on Dorrell and his coaching staff to finally produce the results from their five recruiting classes this upcoming season. If he turns out to be a credible head coach, he and his coaching staff will make sure it makes some contributions in next year’s team, which should come up with UCLA’s first Pac-10 title since 1998.

Anyways, welcome to all the new Bruins from this year’s class. We sure hope they will help their new head coach deliver on the expectations for this upcoming season.

GO BRUINS.