That's the thing...

By: Waldorf

...a lot of people, including UCLA fans, have assumed the same thing.  But one thing has become very clear in the past 6 months or so -- Chip Kelly does not recruit like most coaches in most programs. 

Tracy Pierson mentioned pretty early on, not long after Kelly was hired, that recruiting is going to look much, much different than UCLA fans were used to, and a lot of people are going to be scratching their heads.  Some can't-miss recruits would not be getting offers, and some completely anonymous guys sometimes would be getting offered.  Sure, some can't-miss guys WOULD BE offered, but don't expect all of them to be offered or even recruited.  The shotgun approach to recruiting was over, as long as Kelly remained head coach at UCLA.

Kelly's approach is different in that there are the "measurables" he seeks (ht. wt. speed, etc.), the in-person evaluations (he apparently won't offer someone unless they've been seen playing or working out in-person), and I suppose attitude and work ethic, etc.  I'm not sure of all the factors that go into an offer.  But as of last week, UCLA has offered far fewer scholarships than any other team in the conference, except Stanford (who offered one more than UCLA), perhaps even the nation.  Some of Kelly's approach also has to do with grades, according to Tracy, i.e. Kelly will not offer a scholarship if there's no chance in hell the kid is going to get through UCLA admissions (based on transcripts).  That doesn't mean some marginal cases won't be submitted, but apparently Kelly wants to waste NO time recruiting a kid who may not be eligible in the fall.  In fact, Serra H.S. graduate and incoming UCLA freshman WR Bryan Addison has some academic issues and may not be eligible in time for fall camp, so the system isn't fool-proof...but this is something that Kelly is definitely trying to avoid.  I can't blame him for that. 

I want to stress that I have absolutely NO idea if any of the above (particularly grades) applies to Drake Jackson, or if Kelly just didn't think he was worth pursuing for other reasons, such as position fit (for his defense) or something else.  But one thing is for certain -- how highly "sought after" a recruit is (i.e. which programs offers a recruit, or how many offers the recruit has) seems to have ZERO effect on whether or not Chip offers a scholarship.

Of course, no one knows if this recruiting approach is going to work.  It worked at Oregon, but there's no guarantee it'll work at UCLA.  Time is the only thing that will tell. 

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