Dorrell's Signing Day Press Conference

UCLA's new head football coach, Karl Dorrell, discusses his first recruiting class, how it was to come into the process so late, and some of his recruiting priorities for next recruiting season...

How difficult was it to come in and recruit when you did?


"You deal with the hand you're dealt. Obviously we were a little behind as a staff. The staff change and hiring a new staff and getting going from there was something that had us behind. I'm very excited about this class, though. We had a very good finish. We got key people that can be strong contributors in our program, so I'm real happy."


Are there any among the class that you think would be able to come in and contribute quickly?


"I have no idea. I haven't had a chance to do any real personnel evaluation of who we do have. We have a very young team.  Our purpose was to fulfill the needs we had with depth at certain positions."


Was there a decision not to take a quarterback?


"The decision was based on that there are some good up-and-coming players that are going to be available this coming year. We have two young true freshmen quarterbacks, and a redshirt freshman quarterback. We felt we had enough use there. We needed to create some separation between the groups. We're fairly confident with the kids we have in the program, that they'll be great players."


Can you comment about not receiving Kevin Brown's letter of intent? Are you expecting another letter of intent?


"I can't comment about that.  I have no idea. I can't give you any verification of anything.  Of the 17 guys we're announcing today, so far, they're a solid group of players."


Did you perceive defensive line as a big need with this recruiting class?


"It was a big need. Going into next year, we have six seniors onboard who are tackles and ends.  So we wanted to address those needs as well as we could. We came up maybe a little short since we were coming in so late and could only recruit the guys that were available. But the guys we got were quality players."


What was the recruiting situation with Maurice Drew, since the previous staff wasn't involved with him?


"It was a very fortunate situation. Maurice's mom said that UCLA was actually the first recruiting letter he ever received.  So there was an impression with the family early on. But then we weren't part of the mix for a long while. But we had the opportunity to express what UCLA is going to be about in the short time we had to recruit him. He was very receptive to it, and toward visiting. We expressed to him where he would fit in our organization.  He was one of the bonus gets for us. We're real excited to have him in our program.  He's been a very, very productive player in high school, in one of the best high school programs in the history of high school football. What they were able to accomplish has been unprecedented.  He also has tremendous leadership qualitities, and a tremendous commitment to being a great player. He's a team guy.  His leadership we thought from the very start would have an impact on our program."


How was it recruiting Drew while you have some pretty young depth at running back currently on the roster?


"All of them are going to have an opportunity. Because we're a new staff, with a new offense and a new defense, everyone is practically on equal ground.  We have a lot of youth at that position, but by fall, whoever is here won't have that much of a head start compared to those coming in by fall. I think that was instrumental in recruiting. It's not as if the players have a year or two or more of experience in our system. There's an opportunity for the guys coming in to be in a not-so-far-behind position."


What's next on the agenda for your program?


"Next on the agenda is getting offensive and defensive schemes on paper.  We have a wealth of knowledge, from all of my experiences, and the same thing on defense. The players are chomping at the bit, wanting to know what we're doing, to get stuff on paper, to get a head start on what we're going to do.  We've also been gone a great deal of the time since we've been here, out recruiting. So we haven't spent much time with the players yet. So, we'll get to know our players and get involved in the off-season program."


Was it significant to sign a player from Long Beach Poly today?


"The biggest thing is, it's just great to have another great local player like Junior. From what position wevwere in, and how we finished, it's just great to get a player of that caliber. It's an important step, it's momentum, to hopefully establishing UCLA in our own backyard.  So we're excited about getting Junior aboard. I think he can do great things for UCLA and UCLA can do great things for him."


Is there anything you can say about Chadd Evans and his status and whether he's still coming to UCLA?


"I can't comment at this time, but I would have to say no.  There are reports that he has interest elsewhere.  That's not a good sign. I think the biggest part of recruiting really is hanging on to the guys as long as you can through this."

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