Listen...there! Did you hear that?
What you did not hear is the sound of college football recruiting. Today is the start of the dead period leading up to Wednesday's Letter of Intent Signing Day. The Bruins reportedly closed the recruiting season with a bang on the weekend, (H/T nwbruin27 for the fanshot) hosting several top recruits and some of their families, highlighted by a pretty epic sounding party on Saturday night. I would have been there except I was at work. Uh-huh...
We discussed the Loiusiana trio of Kenny Young, Malachi Dupre and Davon Godchaux and the awkward stalker who flew in with them. There was also a fourth visitor from Louisiana, teammate (my lord, how good was River Ridge this year?!) Raekwon James, a 2*RB. The Bruins may be holding out for some more highly touted RBs, but James sounds liek he has a bit of Steven Manfro in him and could add some versatile depth at the position if the Bruins choose. James did a very nice interview with BSR's Ed Lewis and had great things to say about his trip to Los Angeles.
One of his other favorite parts was a Westwood party that blew up among the Twittersphere Saturday night.
"One of the players threw a party and there was a lot of people," James said. "I've never experienced a party like that. Only on T.V."
Whether any of the big three Louisiana recruits end up at UCLA remains to be seen.
All James knows is if he gets the chance, he'd return to UCLA in a heartbeat.
"If I was ever given the opportunity, I would definitely come back to L.A.," James said. "It was wonderful out there."
There was no mention whether LSU OC Cam Cameron was
stalking following coincidentally on the same flight as James, too, but we do know that he didn't follow him, or any of the Louisiana contingent back. Apparently Coach Cameron changed itineraries and did not return with them. Busted. Of course, many of the LSU faithful defended Cameron by pointing out that he flew to Los Angeles for a last minute recruiting pitch with Gardena Serra DB Adoree' Jackson. That makes sense. Jackson is one of the country's top recruits and he is still considering LSU. While Cam may have had a quick visit with him on Friday, we also know where Jackson was on Saturday - Westwood.
Turn Up Tonight Wid My Dude @DW7_ In WestWood— SWEET PEA (@AdoreeKnows) February 2, 2014
I addition to being a fantastic football player, Jackson is a world class track athlete who could have Olympic aspirations, and one of his goals in picking a school will be the ability to compete on the track team, as well. Lucky for the Bruins, they have a great track legacy and a number of fantastic dual sport athletes. Also, the recent leadership changes in the Bruin track program is creating some positive buzz and track recruiting is going well. The Bruins are in Jackson's final four along with Florida, LSU, and Southern Cal, so Bruin fans will be watching this one very carefully on Wednesday morning.
And, by the way, I do mean morning. It's going to be a very early day on Wednesday for the U.C.L.A. staff, with several of the Bruins' targets announcing at 8 am - East Coast time. That means omg 5 am in Westwood. But never fear, our LOI day open thread will be up and running about 4:30 UCLA time and we'll keep the narrative rolling throughout the day.
Here is a preliminary schedule from ESPNU which will televise many of the signing announcements throughout the day. Some of the key announcement names and times (Pacific) for Bruin fans are...
5 am - Solomon Thomas, DE (Coppell, TX) - ESPNU
8 am - Rashaan Evans, LB (Auburn AL) - ESPNU
11 am - Adoree' Jackson, DB/Ath (Gardena, CA) - ESPNU
1 pm - Budda Baker, S (Bellvue WA)
Some of the other Bruin top recruits like Godchaux and Kalen Ballage don't have a verified announcement time as yet.
Set your alarms, Bruin fans. It will be a very interesting day. U.C.L.A. could conceivably miss on all of these players, or we may hit a home run by getting 3 or more. Plus, there is always the outside chance that there will be some other surprises out there that no one sees coming. It is great that the Bruins are in the final conversation and competing withthe likes of Alabama and FSU and Oregon for so many talented HS recruits, but ultimately, Coach Mora and staff need to get these kids to U.C.L.A. if the Bruins want to solidify thier long erm place in the college football landscape and create sustained success. Coach Mora and staff will be needing to hit the coffee for the early start, and let's hope they earn it that day.
I must admit I've gotten too wrapped up in recruiting news this year, but a lot of that is just from the renewed enthusiasm around our football program over the last few years, even going back to some of the great recruiting classes that Rick Neuheisel landed. I also want to give a big shout out to Ed Lewis at Bruin Sports Report and the crew at Bruin Report Online who have done a great job tracking the soap opera like twists and turns of the football recruiting process. If you want to go down that rabbit hole, then both sites are well worth the subscription fees.
You can follow the recruiting events during the day here at Bruins Nation, and then you can head over to Pauley (under glass) for the UCLA Football Signing Day Celebration. The event begins at 6:45 with an autograph session and at 7:30 the coaches will talk about the newest Bruin football players. Admission is free, and the first 1,000 people will get "an exclusive giveaway" (supply your own jokes here). More details are available on the official site.