Die With Your ‘Cruits On — Jim Mora, his energetic staff, and the UCLA Spirit Squad fire up the Bruin faithful as the new Bruin Recruits are announced

“National Letters of Intent,” or “National Letters of INTENSE?”

The new regime of UCLA Football ceremoniously “took over” the Program on Wednesday night, when all the new Assistant Coaches were introduced at a private function on campus for UCLA Season Ticket holders.  Those Coaches represent a new breed in Westwood, that seems to thrive on intensity, swagger, and emotion.  The new Coordinators were a little more reserved and serious/stoic, but the postion coaches were animated, excited, passionately devoted to UCLA, and did an unprecedented job of firing up the crowd of mostly older Bruin benefactors.  These wild-eyed Coaches had the old fogeys chanting, whooping, and hollering in support of the new administration, and of the incoming class of recruits.

The various assistants showed video of the high school players who signed with UCLA yesterday, and talked about why each one will be an excellent representative of the University.  The class has been ranked Nationally as high as #11, and is led by 5-Star Defensive Tackle Ellis McCarthy, and on Offense by highly-regarded QB Devin Fuller.  The Assistants were clever, funny, and already had a great rapport with one another.  It seems like the players will take to them instantly, and play with a renewed vigor and sense of loyalty starting this season.

The Coaches stressed that the culture has officially changed with this new class of harder-hitting, more violent, and more dedicated players, and the video clips confirmed those words.  This is a class of finshers, who blocked opponents into the turf, or all the way off the field.  The Defenders were obliterating ballcariers,  and ball-hawking effectively as well.  The Receivers were making one-handed catches and just as importantly, racking up yards after the catch.  They were making people miss, breaking tackles, and getting into the end zone with speed and toughness.  There is also one (Ahmaad Harris) who is a Kick/Punt Return specialist — a 5′ 8″ guy who is reminiscent of Dave Meggett/Maurice Jones-Drew.  He is expected to step into the Returner role immediately.  Also, a new Placekicker — Ka’imi Fairbairn — is expected to contribute right from the get-go.

Several of the new Offensive and Defensive Linemen are already big and fast enough to challenge for starting spots, so Spring Practice will be as competitive as it has ever been.  McCarthy looks like he won’t be kept on the sidelines, and Fuller was compared to Michael Vick (but not for any off-the-field issues). so he could jump right into the already-crowded battle for Quarterback duties.

The main issue was that these new guys live, eat, drink, and love the game of Football, and will do anything for their team.  In addition, ACADEMICS are still a main focus of this group, with one guy choosing UCLA over Harvard, and others expicitly stating that the stellar UCLA Academic reputation is what led them to Westwood.

The new class is made up of 26 players (including one Juco transfer) that come from 9 different States around the Country, and 3 different Countries (including MOLDOVA, and Canada).  Mora and his people cast a wide net, and hauled in a deadly catch.  If this staff can COACH as well as they recruit, 2012 will be a true turnaround season, and the years that follow should bring unqualified success.

Here are 44 photos from the event, showing all the Coaches, and of course, the Cheerleaders, who just keep getting better and better.  Also, I have to say that they were SOOOO nice to me, showing interest in my life and my recent endeavors that have nothing to do with UCLA.  I know that they are “trained” to butter up the potential contributors to the program, but I swear to you that they were sincerely thrilled with my impending success, and wanted to know more about it.  These girls are not phony.  They are truly as sweet as they are beautiful and talented, and I appreciate them more and more every time I get to interact with them.  Please enjoy the photos, and remember to CLICK on the horizontal ones, to make them completely fill up your widescreen computer screens.


6 responses to “‘CRUITS ON THE GROUND”

  1. Sparky Avatar


    Nice work as usual. I think the key word above is “finishers”. That’s a quality that seems to have been a bit short on supply the last few years. It’s exciting to think that may be changing!


  2. JC Avatar

    Were you able to get a sense of the level of autonomy Mora will allow his assistants to have?

    [T-H’s Note: No, not really, but it seemed like everyone is on the same page, and knows what they are going to do to fix things.]

  3. Joshua Avatar

    T-H, what did you mean by your “impending success”?

    [T-H’s Note: I co-Produced a movie that just had a successful screening in New York City, and could soon become a lucrative series of films. But the key word in that sentence is “could.”]

  4. NORML Avatar

    Fun to see this event that I couldn’t attend. Thanks for taking the trouble to share with the rest of us Bruins.

    As a photographer, I feel I must say that you need to get yourself a red-eye reducer. Most cameras now have a flash setting for that. You probably don’t use software that has that tool, but if you did, the cheerleaders would look less like vampires. Yummy vampires, though…

    As a former band member, I can just hear the golden sounds!

    [T-H’s Note: Believe it or not, my camera’s red-eye reduction tool WAS enabled. That’s why those white circles are there. With the setting turned off, those circles are bright red. I use an older version of Photoshop to edit, and it doesn’t have a dedicated red-eye reducer, and when I try to do it manually, it just looks so PHONY. These girls are all-natural, and I didn’t want to do anything that would take away from that. They don’t need airbrushing, ala Playboy, and I don’t want their beautiful eyes to be altered via an editing tool. I will happily send you the originals, if you want to show me how good you can make them look. Should I invest in a newer version of Photoshop? Would that solve my problem?]

  5. dswenson Avatar

    GOOD LUCK TO YOU on the film career. I appreciate your web site so much. Thanks for all your hard work.

    [T-H’s Note: Thank you. And I truly appreciate your continued participation here. I wish I knew more about you!]

  6. MrWoof Avatar

    What ? Only one picture of Lizzy?
    Nice job. It’s fun to see the pictures.