Yakoo Likes the New Staff

Spring Valley (Calif.) Steele Canyon offensive lineman Mario Yakoo visited UCLA over the weekend, and enjoyed meeting the new coaching staff...

Spring Valley (Calif.) Steele Canyon offensive lineman Mario Yakoo has had a tumultuous recruitment. After committing to Rick Neuheisel and UCLA back in June, there was some thought that his might be one scholarship the new staff would want to free up.

Not so, according to Yakoo after his official visit this weekend.

"From whatever I know, they're honoring their commitments," Yakoo said. "I'm pretty sure they would have notified me if they weren't. From what they've told me, they want me to come in there with the mentality that I'm going to start as a true freshman."

The two-star offensive lineman spent the majority of his visit talking with coach Klemm, and was really pleased with the time they spent together.

"I had fun with him," Yakoo said. "We talked about the coming season, and stuff I could do to help contribute.

"If I have to red shirt, I have to red shirt. But I want to play. If I'm going to end up wasting the season doing field goal, then I'm going to red shirt, but I'm going to go in and try to get a spot."

Yakoo was a very early commit to UCLA, and the coaching staff is almost wholly changed since he committed, so he relished the opportunity to meet the new guys and "get a feel for them as coaches."

"It was awesome, you know, the coaching staff is great," Yakoo said. "(Coach Klemm) is going to be great as an O-line coach. He's awesome. And they've got Coach Mora, and the whole coaching staff is just doing a great job."

Yakoo went to every UCLA home game this season, so most of the sights and sounds of the trip, including a trip to the Rose Bowl and a campus tour, were nothing new to him, but he enjoyed the opportunity to meet the support personnel.

"We got to talk to some of the strength and conditioning staff, and also talked to some of the academic counselors, which was really great to do," Yakoo said. "Overall, it was just a really good experience."

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