There's an intriguing new dynamic surfacing in the USC-UCLA football recruiting rivalry.
It's called competition.
For much of this decade, USC Coach Pete Carroll has called the shots, picking and choosing and not having to worry about whether UCLA was interested in a high school prospect he wanted. Inevitably, the player usually ended up at USC.
That's changing. UCLA is putting up a fight again, challenging the Trojans and even starting to win a few battles.
Morrell Presley, Carson High's star tight end, switched from a commitment he'd made to USC as a sophomore and enrolled this week at UCLA -- the most powerful evidence yet that the Bruins under Coach Rick Neuheisel are no longer going to sit back and let Carroll dictate who controls the Southland prep scene.
In another sign of UCLA's renewed vigor, the Bruins this weekend are bringing in on recruiting visits two players who long ago committed to USC, receiver De'Von Flournoy of Lake Balboa Birmingham and receiver Randall Carroll of Los Angeles Cathedral.
Just how intense of an effort CRN is putting in these closing days? Not only he and his staff are blanketing the Southern California scene this year (well he did use a chopper to reruit right?), he is flying all over North America: from Georgia to Canada:
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel's whirlwind recruiting this week took him from the Georgia home of JUCO defensive tackle Branden Warner to Canada, where he had an in-home visit with family members of offensive line commit Stan Hasiak, who is from Kapolei (Hawaii).
The tenacity Neuheisel is showing on the recruiting front will no doubt rub off on rest of the program. I will go with Tydides:
It must be the Relentless Optimism that has us in the minds of other schools’ commits. I can’t recall us being in the mix for so many guys that have already “decided” to go somewhere else. Maybe it has happened with us before the internet made this kind of information widely available, but in the past 5-6 years it seems like our classes have been largely locked in early and recruiting was then considered over. CRN plays to the whistle on the recruiting trail, just like his team does on the field.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum per the LAT several recruits and their coaches have denied Kenny and Petey's baseless allegation against CRN:
Neuheisel denied the charge, and several recruits and their coaches who were supposedly fed the misinformation denied the allegation when contacted by The Times.
Kenny BTW has a new title at Southern Cal after being passed over for the DC position by Petey: assistant head coach for defense. LOL Kenny is so awesome. Just like this guy. He is awesome.
Anyway while CRN and his staff are putting on a full court press for 09, they are also laying the groundwork for 2010 already:
So there's no doubt Neuheisel has gotten the Trojans' full attention, and for good reason. UCLA recruiters are laying the groundwork for what they think is the biggest prize -- the recruiting class of 2010. [...]
USC has a commitment from running back D.J. Morgan of Woodland Hills Taft. UCLA has a commitment from receiver Paul Richardson Jr. from Los Alamitos.
The competition is picking up intensity and urgency, with the focus on defensive back Robert Woods from Gardena Serra, running back Malcolm Jones from Westlake Village Oaks Christian, running back Anthony Barr from Los Angeles Loyola and linebacker Hayes Pullard from Los Angeles Crenshaw.
Recruiters from both local universities keep running into each other at games and on high school campuses.
The edge still belongs to USC, but it's clear Neuheisel has the Bruins back in the recruiting game and no longer afraid to compete for the best.
Oh oh. What's going to be the next move from Petey and his Assistant to the Regional Manager or something?