The Latest on Staff, Recruiting

Norm Chow was fired by the Tennessee Titans Tuesday, and there was some quick developments in terms of Chow and UCLA. It's now a recruiting contact period and Head Coach Rick Neuheisel was out on the road yesterday and getting back in with a recruit who had been verbally committed...

As was reported by various news outlets yesterday, Norm Chow was fired as offensive coordinator of the Tenneesee Titans.

This, then, makes it very interesting in terms of UCLA.

Apparently, UCLA Head Coach Rick Neuheisel immediately got in touch with Chow and talked yesterday. There are reports that Chow is now very agreeable to coming to UCLA and that yesterday's talks with Neuheisel were positive.

There are a number of factors that could be working in UCLA's favor. Chow had a buy-out with the Titans, which will get him his annual salary for the next two years at $1 million per year. It had been thought that one of the snags in Chow coming to UCLA under Neuheisel before he was fired by the Titans was UCLA being unable to put together a good enough compensation package. But now, Chow making $2 million from the Titans over the next two years could definitely help that since Chow will receive that $2 million regardless of earnings he receives elsewhere.

Chow, as we've reported before, wants to return to the college game. He also has a house in Los Angeles, and we've heard would like play against USC and Pete Carroll.

The agency that represents Chow is Yee & Dubin, who are in Los Angeles. Chow's agent, Don Yee, is a UCLA graduate. Also, Chow's son, Carter, is an agent at Yee & Dubin.

There were reports Tuesday that Alabama was also interested in Chow.

It was reported yesterday that Ken Norton, Jr. will not be coming to UCLA and will stay at USC.

We've heard that Nigel Burton, the cornerbacks coach at Oregon State, could be a very likely hire by Neuheisel. Burton is in his fifth year at OSU, and played at Washington under Neuheisel. Reportedly, Burton is also interested in a job with the Nevada staff.

It's now the recruiting contact period, with three weeks before signing day, so Neuheisel will dedicate quite a bit of his time to recruiting over the next three weeks.

Neuheisel spent much of Tuesday on the recruiting road with assistant Reggie Moore. He was in the house of one-time UCLA committed running back Aundre Dean of Katy (Tex.) High, who is, after such a strong senior season, the #6-ranked running back in the country.

A recruit committed to UCLA talked to Dean after his in-home visit and he said Dean is now seriously considering UCLA again and could potentially take an official visit. He just took an official visit to Louisville last weekend. He has plans to also visit Alabama, Arkansas and Texas A&M, which would leave him one to potentially visit UCLA.

Neuheisel will have some work cut out for him, trying to keep the committed, and softly committed, recruits loyal to UCLA.

As we reported, too, Neuheisel has started to pursue other recruits not committed to UCLA. UCLA has looked at Ottis Jones, the 6-1, 275-pound defensive tackle from Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger, who took an official visit to Arizona State last weekend and verbally committed to the Sun Devils. UCLA was considering pursuing Jones, but it's believed Jones would have to make some substantial academic improvement for UCLA to offer him.

UCLA is also showing interest in Lawrence Guy, the 6-5, 275-pounder from Las Vegas (Nev.) Western, the #7-ranked DT in the country, who is also verbally committed to ASU.

UCLA has showed interest in Herman Davidson, the 6-3, 215-pound prospect from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Davidson visited Cal this last weekend and the Bears have offered. He also has offers from Miami, which he plans to visit next weekend and North Carolina and Michigan, schools he's already visited. UCLA has started to pursue Davidson even more after losing Uona Kaveinga, the linebacker who de-committed from UCLA to commit to BYU. It's thought that Davidson could potentially grow into a linebacker, but UCLA would be happy with him as a safety also. (We'll have an interview with Davidson later today).

As we hinted over the weekend, we heard that UCLA is trying to get involved with Julio Jones, the wide receiver prospect from Foley (Ala.) High, who is the the #1-ranked wide receiver in the nation and the #3 prospect overall. It's thought to be a longshot, but Jones has shown a bit of reciprocal interest. Alabama, Florida and Oklahoma are probably his leaders.

We've heard that UCLA will have a few recruits in for official visits this weekend. E.J. Woods, Patrick Larimore, Datone Jones and Milton Knox -- all recruits who are verbally committed to UCLA -- will visit. As we hear of more we will report it. WE've also heard that UCLA will use the two following weekends before signing day, January 26th and February 2nd, for official visits also.

It will be interesting to see how, if Neuheisel does in fact hire Chow, it will impact recruiting over the next three weeks.

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