Here we are: the first iteration of the new What’s Bruin where we take a look at all things UCLA from around the country. But before we jump into the links, I’m new here, and I should introduce myself.
My name is Cam Mellor and I’ve joined the team at SB Nation to help create and cultivate new and continued engagement among the college communities and other sites in California. It’s great to meet all of you. My expertise is in college sports, having spent the last four years at Pro Football Focus (PFF) as their lead college football analyst and social media director. Learning a lot about the sport of football and the analytics behind it, my true roots are in sports journalism and I’m also bringing with me over a decade of sports journalism covering sports mainly at the collegiate level.
It’s time to do what I love and that’s bring the news, create some stories and harbor some positive engagement here at Bruins Nation and the other sites around California. Say hello in the comments as I’d really like to get to know all of you!
Before I go any further, though, here’s what’s happening Bruins Nation:
The media circus that followed former head coach Mel Tucker’s departure to Michigan State seemed to go dormant during their head coaching search but the Buffaloes grabbed their new leading man by hiring Dorrell after he was just named assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Dorrell led UCLA to a 35-27 record during his five-season tenure and returns to the Pac-12 having spent 11 of the previous 12 seasons in the NFL.
Hawaii LB Kahana Kia was in attendance during the annual Polynesian Football Hall of Fame dinner this past week, informing those there that he’ll likely want to commit before the season starts this fall. Utah may be the favorite to land his services as his mom and dad attended school in Salt Lake City but he also stated that UCLA has been in contact with him quite a bit and he’s anxious to get out to see the campus.
The search for a new athletic director to take over for Dan Guerrero has heated up according to sources. The search has to go right for this to be a splash hire and UCLA has hired an outside firm by the name of WittKieffer to aid the search process. They specialize in executive searches in the education and healthcare fields among others.
The UCLA Bruins have one of the nation’s top players on their softball roster and her name is generating buzz because of her lineage. Maya Brady is currently batting .378 and has 20 RBIs and six home runs through her first 15 games as a Bruin. Tom Brady, her uncle, has already deemed her as ‘the most athletic person of the family’ and she’s shown just how big of an impact she can make in a limited time already.
The dead period of college football recruiting is nearly upon us. He’s offered multiple scholarships a week ago and finished the weekend with three more extended offers. Kelly and his staff offered 3-star S Hunter Barth from Arizona, 3-star LB Trey Reynolds also of Arizona and 4-star TE Thomas Fidone out of Iowa, who just so happens to be the nation’s No. 1 TE. Here’s hoping this means the UCLA recruiting trails actually start picking up some momentum as we approach the summer months when recruiting will heat back up.
Even if you’re not into gymnastics, this is perhaps one of the most impressive things you’ll watch all February. Grace Glenn scored collegiate gymnastics first ever 10.0 on the balance beam in the leadoff position and as the article says, it’s jaw-dropping.
Tough times had fallen on the UCLA Bruins when they opened up Pac-12 play earlier this year, dropping three of their first four conference games but as their recent play has heated up, so have their postseason projections. Winners of five straight and seven of their last eight, ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi has now placed UCLA as one of the ‘First Four Out’ as they’re trending towards the field. They may not be in as of yet, but with their recent uptick in overall play, the NCAA Tournament is definitely on the horizon.