California wideout still a commit...for now

There seems to be a lot of very fluid coaching situations out there in college football land nowadays. That means a lot of current commits who are rethinking their decision. What's that means for other teams who wanted those prep stars as well? UCLA commit, wide receiver Nelson Rosario talks about his other choices should the Bruins' change not meet to his satisfaction.

UCLA no longer has a head coach.

Hardly a climactic statement, unless, of course, you are a fan of the Bruins.

The thing is, a lot of big time programs out there right now have lost their head coach, whether through their own choice or the administration simply looked to make a change.

  • West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez is now with the Michigan Wolverines.
  • Bobby Petrino bailed on the Atlanta Falcons and is now the head man at Arkansas
  • Former Arkansas coach Houston Nutt now takes over for Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss
  • One-time Green Bay Packer head coach Mike Sherman now takes over the Texas A&M football team

And oh yeah, Bill Callahan is out at Nebraska, that position now being held by Bo Pelini, who is currently at LSU as D.C., preparing his Tiger defense for Ohio State in the national title game. And Pelini was actually the interim head coach at Nebraska , just long enough to lead the Huskers to a win over Michigan State in the 2003 Alamo Bowl.

The absence of head coaches in these situations means that quite obviously, the future of the assistant coaches is in jeopardy as well. But with all due respect to the impact head coaches have on recruiting, it's those under them who are usually the workhorses in recruiting.

Just ask Nelson Rosario

A commit to the Bruins since August of this year, all Nelson was thinking about was the future. It was about how he would do at UCLA, the kind of college life he would have and just how far he and the rest of his teammates could take UCLA in the future.

Now, that future is unsteady at best, Karl Dorrell now out as the head man, leaving the fate of the assistants in jeopardy. As is the case with most schools, it's not very often that many assistants are retained when a new head coach is brought in.

Not good news for Nelson. While he understands how much the loss of a head coach could hurt, he's more concerned with other guys. "I've gotten to know a few of those coaches really well, like coach Babers and coach Scott," Nelson said of running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Dino Babers and wide receivers coach Eric Scott, respectively. "If they aren't around after everything is done, that's probably going to change a few things for me."

As with most any recruit or in this case, commit, the relationships are paramount. These are the coaches whom they have grown to know and more importantly, trust. That's almost two years worth of developing that trust, potentially going down the drain.

That could be a monumental blow for UCLA recruiting, especially considering the fact that even with six out of their 21 commits listed as a soft verbal, UCLA still sports a top 10 recruiting class. As with any coaching search, the longer it goes on, the more likely it will be that the commits in this class will steadily start to defect.

Rosario says that's certainly an option, one which he has been exploring more and more lately, and there are a few schools who have shown the most interest thus far. " Oregon has shown a lot of interest, and next to UCLA, I probably know more about them than any other school," he said. "And I have spoken to Colorado coaches a few times, but don't know a whole lot about them. And Nebraska contacted me recently, and I think they offered me back in July or something. I am going to have to study a bit more on them to see what's going on there."

You'd have to forgive Nelson if he isn't going at this whole search with a lot of energy, because it's something he really would rather not do. He chose UCLA for a reason, and he's hoping that when the dust settles on this fluid coaching situation, the foundation for his decision in those assistants, still remains. But he's preparing for what seems like the inevitable, but it's still not a situation he's looking to cement as done.

"I am hoping they keep the assistants, because that's who I developed really close relationships with," he said. "I don't like the idea of having to build new relationships, especially this late in the season. But I will. I mean, I am prepared to look at everything, so I have an alternative just in case this doesn't work out.

" Oregon is probably the school I know the most about other than UCLA. But I am not ruling anyone out at this point. Right now I am keeping all of my options open."

When asked about his offensive preference, Rosario said that he has grown fond of both the spread and something akin to the west coast. The offense he ran at El Camino High in Oceanside , CA , was a little bit of both. Whatever the offense, though, they are going to have to throw the ball or he's not going to give them a second look. "I'm a receiver. I want to catch the ball, so the more you throw, the better I will probably like the system," he said. "I just want to play in something which I think caters to what I do."

There are probably a lot of offenses which fit that, Nelson standing a daunting 6-6, weighing approx. 220 pounds. But his height is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Players Rosario's height aren't normally huge jumpers, but that's one thing this young man does especially well, ranking as the defending CIF champion in the high, long and triple-jump.

That helped him dominate the competition as a junior, Rosario amassing over 1,000 yards on 53 catches, scoring 11 times. He nearly duplicated that effort his senior year, totaling the same number of catches, but for just under a thousand and 10 touchdowns. He's a mismatch anywhere he lines up on the field and his vertical, which is around 40 inches, could make him almost impossible to cover in certain systems in college.

That would be nice, and Nelson continues to evaluate that now that he is approaching the status of being a recruit versus that of commit. But he's still holding out hope. "I'd like to see those assistants stay and that would make things pretty easy for me, because I'd definitely sign with UCLA then," he said. "But I know a lot of us (UCLA commits) are keeping a really open mind. It's hard to tell what will happen. We can hope for the best, but make sure we are prepared in case things don't work out.

"So, I guess I'll just keep looking around."

Nebraska has only recently reintroduced themselves to Rosario , which perhaps puts them behind in the overall race for this potential decommit from the Bruins. And Nelson said of Nebraska , that he didn't know much about them other than who their head coach was. The Huskers look like an option, and it certainly would appear that Nebraska has started going after him now that their own staff situation is more concrete. Stay tuned to Big Red Report as we'll keep you abreast as to just how it goes.


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