College football: UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel’s take on the L.A. recruiting tussle
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UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel was unconcerned about the comparisons between USC and the Bruins’ recruiting classes Wednesday.
USC, which is appealing to get a reduction in NCAA sanctions, gathered a class that was ranked fourth nationally by Rivals.com, while UCLA’s was 48th. It was another moment to gauge the two programs.
“With the class they brought in, that means they haven’t begun their sanctions,” Neuheisel said. “We’ll see how that all turns ... out. But that’s for them to determine.” He added that some of USC’s recruits might not qualify academically, saying, “I know that there are at least members of their class that it will be difficult for them to be there. That, again, is for them to figure out.”
Neuheisel called USC the model when he was hired in 2008, and the UCLA marketing department declared the college football monopoly in Los Angeles to be over in newspaper ads prior to the 2008 season. Neuheisel is 0-3 against USC, losing 28-7 in 2008, 28-7 in 2009 and 28-14 last season.
The Bruins, though, are gaining, he said.
“I look at it as if it was a 14-7 game in the fourth quarter’ in 2010, Neuheisel said. In 2009, ‘it was a 14-7 game in the fourth quarter ... . We have made up the ground. They’re still on top. But we’re close.
“I just know if we continue on the path, and get ourselves organized in the appropriate way, we’re going to make up the difference.”
As for the 2011 recruiting classes, Neuheisel said, “It’s all numbers. The proof will be in the pudding. We’ll wait and see. I don’t worry about the numbers and what people say about classes. It all has to be borne out on the field of play.”
-- Chris Foster