September 9, 2008

National Notebook: Neuheisel gets creative

New UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel is pulling out all the stops.

Before the season kicked off, UCLA ran a full-page ad in an area newspaper that said, "The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over." Then the Bruins went out and upset Tennessee in Week 1.

Last Friday, Neuheisel found a creative way to get out in front of as many L.A.-area recruits as possible in one night.

After watching the nation's No. 1 guard, Michael Philipp, play for San Bernardino Arroyo Valley at home against Pasadena High, Neuheisel fought through Los Angeles' traffic to make it to the Inglewood High-Long Beach Wilson game. Neuheisel was there to check out four-star receivers Shaquelle Evans and Jemari Roberts.

He wasn't done.

After watching Evans and Roberts, Neuheisel drove to the Hawthorne Airport and got in a helicopter to fly out to the Inland Empire to watch La Puente Bishop Amat on the road against Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos. That game featured Bruin commits Richard Brehaut from Los Osos and cornerback Sheldon Price from Bishop Amat.

Neuheisel wasn't able to land at the school as expected, and was forced to land at Ontario Airport. By the time he got to the game, it was over. Nevertheless, a big impression had been made.

"It was awesome that Coach Neuheisel would have that much dedication to his recruits that he would come to our games in a helicopter," Brehaut said. "He was never able to land even though he had permission from the school, but the sheriff didn't allow him to land on our baseball field.

"Still, it was very cool."

UCLA assistants also were on the road. The Bruins sent two assistants to Utah to watch John Martinez and Xavier Su'a Filo play. Another assistant went to Oregon to watch Charles Siddoway, and others were in Los Angeles watching Brandon Sermons' game in Pomona.

KENNARD SERIOUS ABOUT TEXAS?

If there are any doubts that Texas is a serious player for the nation's No. 2 player, defensive end Devon Kennard of Phoenix Desert Vista, those likely were erased after this past weekend. Kennard drove six hours each way from Phoenix to El Paso to watch the Longhorns on the road against UTEP.

"There's been some speculation where guys didn't know how serious Devon was about Texas," Kennard's brother, Derek, told Orangebloods.com. "He's taken two visits to see Texas now, one to Austin and one to El Paso. If that doesn't show how serious he is about the Longhorns, I'm not sure what else he can do."

Derek accompanied his brother on the trip.

"The purpose of the trip was to see the Longhorn defense," Derek Kennard said. "That was the ultimate purpose right there, see how the defensive line played, see how the core of the defense played. He wanted to see the 'Buck' position, where they want Devon to play. He wanted to see how they utilize that position and how they attack, just the whole scheme of the defense.

"They've got some phenomenal athletes at that position. It seems like a position where it frees guys up. They'll drop back some or come off that edge hard, and that's what he likes to do. It's very appealing and it fits him very well."

Kennard has a top five of Arizona State, California, Texas, UCLA and USC.

CAMPBELL EXPLAINS DECISION

After being committed to Michigan for more than a year, Detroit Cass Tech five-star defensive tackle William Campbell re-opened his recruitment last week.

"I talked to Coach Rod, coach (Bruce) Tall and coach Tony Dews," Campbell told TheWolverine.com. "They were just talking about how they understand my situation, but they are always going to recruit me and they are always going to stay in touch."

College coaches were allowed to phone prospects for the first time in three months this past week, but Campbell said that was not what prompted his decision.

"I really didn't get that many calls," Campbell said. "I just wanted to open myself up and see what is out there."

The only official visit Campbell has set up is to Miami in December, but he also has had talks with LSU and other programs about possible visits.

ETC.

Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College offensive tackle James Carpenter is one of the top junior college linemen in the nation. Despite being signed and placed by Iowa State at Coffeyville in 2007, it looks as if other schools are pursuing him heavily. "Iowa State, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State have all offered me," said Carpenter, from Hephzibah (Ga.) High. "South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and Oklahoma have all been talking to me, as well. I want to take some visits before I make a decision. Iowa State is where I signed and they are a school I would like to play for, but I'm just going to make sure I make a good decision and take visits to make sure I choose the right school for me."

Star 2010 quarterback Austin Hinder (6-5/178) of Steamboat Springs (Colo.) High already had scholarship offers on the table from California, Kansas State and Nebraska, and he recently added an offer from Stanford.




 

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