UCLA bid farewell to linebackers coach Scott White and defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin before the Cactus Bowl as part of a final recruiting push under new coach Chip Kelly, two people familiar with the situation said Tuesday.
The departures of White and Martin have allowed the Bruins’ reconfigured staff to intensify its pursuit of several recruiting targets heading into the new early-signing period that starts Dec. 20.
The moves also kept UCLA within the maximum allotment of nine full-time assistants after the recent hiring of Jerry Azzinaro as defensive coordinator and Don Pellum as linebackers coach. Kelly has agreed to hire Paul Rhoads as defensive backs coach but has not formally announced the move and may not do so before UCLA plays Kansas State in its bowl game Dec. 26 at Chase Field in Phoenix.
UCLA has not requested a waiver that would permit it to exceed the allowable number of coaches during its transition under Kelly, an NCAA spokesperson said. But the Bruins can hire a 10th assistant in January thanks to a new rule that will expand coaching staffs by one member.
Kelly has agreed to retain offensive line coach Hank Fraley, running backs coach DeShaun Foster and receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty as part of his staff. He is also believed to be considering keeping defensive line coach Angus McClure in some capacity.
White and Martin have been paid through the balance of their contracts. Graduate assistants Dalton Hilliard and Kyle Weiss are expected to fill in during preparations for the bowl game.
Ten high school players who made nonbinding verbal pledges to play for UCLA next season have backed out of their commitments since coach Jim Mora was fired last month. In the two weeks since Kelly was hired, the Bruins have received commitments from receiver-defensive back Bryan Addison of Gardena Serra, tailback Kazmeir Allen of Tulare Union and offensive tackle Alec Anderson of Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda.
UCLA has 11 players committed in its class, a number that is expected to increase significantly.
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