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Spaulding Roundup: Expanding UCLA's Recruiting Profile Nationally & Locally

Let's start this Memorial Day Sunday with news on CRN's upcoming trip to Middle East. We have written about this before but now that the trip is right around the corner (it starts next week) there was an official release on Friday. As expected Neuheisel is excited about it:

"I am honored to be participating in this tour," said Neuheisel. "Our men and women overseas put their lives on the line every day, and I'm thrilled to be able to personally thank them for all they do. They are a long way from home, and if we can bring a little bit of home to them, then we have accomplished the goal of the tour."

Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, Mack Brown (Texas), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Jim Tressel (Ohio State), Jim Grobe (Wake Forest), and Houston Nutt (Mississippi) will join CRN on this "Coach's Tour". They are going to leave from McConnell Air Force Base, near Wichita, KS, on May 27. The troops they will visit are statitioned in Germany, Turkey, Spain, Iraq and Djbouti (Africa. Can't really think of better way to promote the program in this off season.

Actually, speaking of promoting the program former Bruin great James Washington with the help of CRN and the entire staff was doing just that at "a free football camp for more than 500 Southern California kids" yesterday at Los Angeles Southwest College. From Brian Dohn:

"You look and you see kids with blond hair, Latinos, kids from the inner city all here," Washington said. "It's a melting pot. In my mind, to be able to bring people together and do something for the community, that's what I love about it."

UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel brought his full coaching staff and several players to work with the campers, who got quarterbacking tips from offensive coordinator Norm Chow, were barked at by defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough and took time to get carried around by defensive tackle Brian Price.

"It's the right thing to do," Neuheisel said. "Football is a great game, and to be giving back to the city of Los Angeles is what we're about, and what UCLA should be about. We tip our hats to James for giving back to his own personal community, and I feel privileged to be included."

In addition to Brian Price other players who joined the camp included Reggie Carter, Chinonso Anyanwu, Datone Jones, Aaron Hester, Rahim Moore and Johnathan Franklin. Per Dohn they all took part as "volunteer coaches."

In case you are wondering how this might pay dividends down the line, here is Dohn:

UCLA donated its time, but there is potential for payback. For a long time UCLA has been criticized for not recruiting the inner city, where USC remains the dominant presence. L.A. Southwest football coach and athletic director Henry Washington said UCLA's visibility in the camp could pay off.

"For UCLA, most of the kids from our area don't know anything about them, unless you see them on TV," said Henry Washington, who coached James Washington at Los Angeles Jordan High. "This is huge for the kids to come out here and rub elbows with UCLA's coaching staff. Rick Neuheisel, I really applaud him for bringing all of his fellows out here.

"Our inner-city kids, when it comes to UCLA, they just know nothing about them. (USC coach) Pete Carroll does a great job in the inner city. Any top inner city really leans toward USC."

Well, CRN in his second year was able to go head to head with U$C and take away numbe of recruits despite the tough but expected 4-8 start in his first season. If he is able to show discerinbile progress from that 4-8 start this coming season, I think the recruiting will only get better and the efforts like Washington's game and the trip with other coaches will only help to boost our program's profile, enabling it to expand its recruiting base both at the local and national level. Reading these types of notes you can sense that there is a strategic vision in place in terms of how CRN wants to build out his program. Just few more data points that give me reason to be optimistic for the long term future of UCLA football under CRN.