Mid-Trip Report

Here are some of the bits of news we've heard about the official visits happening over the weekend. There are a couple of surprise official visitors, as we suspected, and at least one recruit might have verbally committed...

There are some bits of news trickling out of UCLA about the recruits that are on their recruiting weekend.

Aaron Whittington, DE/LB, 6-3, 215, St. Louis (Mis.) Hazelwood East, was decked out in Bruin gear at Pauley Pavilion. A parent of a current player said he had heard that Whittington verbally committed Friday. Mat Ball hosted Whittington, and a source said that Mr. Ball was making sure Whittington was having a very good time.

The other particularly significant news was that two recruits were taking their official visits that we had suspected but weren't certain would. Clarence Simpson, DB, 6-3, 190, Sylmar (Calif.) High and Robert Meachem, WR, 6-1, 202, Tulsa (Okla.) Washington.

Simpson is a long-time Bruin fan who, during the coaching upheaval, committed to Washington. The early word is that UCLA is very much back in it with Simpson as a result of this official visit. Cornerback Matt Clark hosted Simpson for the weekend.

Meachem is the top five talent who we believed might take an official visit this weekend. He is a truly talented player, running a 4.28 40 at the Nike Camp and jumping 38 inches. He also participated in the Nike basketball camp and was one of the most athletic and quickest guards in the camp. It has been suspected that his academics could be a question, but he reportedly has improved during his senior year. His teammate, Chadd Evans, DE, 6-3, 250, has verbally committed to UCLA and has been working on him about the Bruins. Tab Perry was Meachem's host.

Reports are that UCLA was also doing very well with Bruce Davis, DE, 6-3, 225, League City (Tex.) Clear Creek. The opinion was that he was wary about verbally committing, since he had already done it a few times before. His lifetime and family friend, Eric McNeal, hosted Davis this weekend. Davis' father, Bruce, played football at UCLA, and his mother met Denise McNeal, Eric's mother, at UCLA, and are very close.  

The two Oklahoma defensive linemen from Tulsa Union High School, Jared Naylor, DT, 6-3, 270, and Blake Smith, DE, 6-3, 245, 4.7, were also reportedly having a very good time. The opinion was that Naylor would jump in the boat fairly easily and that Smith might be more hesitant. Smith verbally committed to Colorado State during the coaching transition at UCLA. Naylor was being hosted by Ryan Boschetti, and Smith by Keith Carter.

Noah Smith, WR/DB, 5-11, 180, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft, was reportedly having a good trip. It was believed he was being hosted by Craig Bragg.

Reports are that things were going well with Kyle Caldwell, DL, 6-3, 265, 4.62, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro, but he was also pretty reserved about discussing his school preference. Junior Taylor, a fellow Arizonian, hosted him.

Committed fullback Michael Pitre, 5-11, 250, Orange (Calif.) Modena, is a very well put-together prospect.

Also in attendance at the basketball game was Philip Rauscher, DE, 6-3, 235 Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon. Rauscher didn't look as if he was on an official visit, but was wearing a UCLA visor.

If you watched the basketball game on television, you'd know that the Pauley Pavilion crowd gave a standing ovation to head coach Karl Dorrell when he was announced.

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