Let's start the work week with some awesome news. As AMM19 noted in the fanshots, Bruins just picked up their 5th commitment of this recruiting season. OL Ben Wysocki from Los Alamitos committed to Coach Rick Neuheisel last night (premium stories are up on Bruin Report Online and Bruin Blitz). Here are his highlights from his junior season:
Wysocki might not be a 4-5 star recruit at this snap shot of time but his commitment is significant for number of reasons that should have everyone excited about the state of UCLA's (methodical) recruitment under CRN.
First, Wysocki now becomes the 3rd OL commit of this recruiting class. It sends a clear signal in terms of where CRN's priority is during this recruiting season. Perhaps the most serious question mark around Neuheisel from his UDub and Colorado days was that he was always too enamored with skill players and didn't pay requisite attention to the big guys in trenches. I think at this point given the way he has been recruiting CRN has answered that question pretty effectively.
Second, note Wysocki attended UCLA camps. I believe he was seen at least twice by Coach Bob Palcic in person. At this stage of the game a coach's (especially someone in the caliber of Bob Palcic) evaluation for linemen (who often are hardest to project from high school to college) is lot more important than the star ratings from recruiting services. Note it was not just Palcic and Neuheisel. Wysocki also had offers from the staff of Jim Harbaugh and Mike Riley, two of the better coaches out in the West Coast.
Third, hauling in three OL recruits at this stage of the game is pretty significant given this year was already supposed to be a weak year in California for OL recruits. With three guys in fold, CRN and his staff will probably try to round out the class with 2 or 3 more OLs. Not to mention assembling all these big bodies will also get the attention of QB recruits CRN is targeting this season.
Fourth, Wysocki becomes the second recruit out of Los Alamitos in as many years. Of course last year it was Shaquille Richardson, who now has a long way to go to make his way back into UCLA. But given Richardsons' UCLA connections, perhaps there is some modicum of hope that they will be motivated to do what it takes off the field to prove themselves as worthy Bruins. Anyway, that is for another day. For the purpose of this development, it is interesting to see UCLA opening up a pipeline to a solid program from the OC.
So, enjoy this ride a bit. It is especially fun because it is a little predictable. During most of June we were hearing snickers about how UCLA wasn't getting any recruits. Now that the commitments are popping, we are going to hear comments about how these guys are not top-25 recruits. Yet if you look beyond the surface news, you will see the strategy which UCLA is pursuing recruiting under Neuheisel.
I don't think we have had this kind of strategic staff when it comes to recruiting at UCLA in decades. I am sure there will be bumps in the road as part of recruiting roller coaster but on balance, we are going to be just fine under CRN. It is fun stuff and we (especially for recruiting junkies) should soak it in a bit. Oh and welcome to Westwood Ben.