On this week’s episode of the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden get deep into the weeds on the recruiting of some of the Pac-12’s schools, especially University of Arizona (trending up!) and University of Washington (trending down!). Washington governor Jay Inslee has said that all state employees must be fully vaccinated by mid-October- what will Wazzu Head Coach Nick Rolovich do? George interviews UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly, and the guys go through every Pac-12 Team and set baseline expectations for the season.
Breakdown (2 hours, 23 minutes)
Some of Chip Kelly’s quotes from his interview with George Wrighster:
On Going From Under Armour to Jordan Brand:
“I think it’s the best sports footwear and apparel company out there… You can just see the silhouette of the Jordan brand and you know what you’re getting into. I know our players love it…”
On Recruiting Through the Pandemic:
“Our class that we signed in December of 2020, some of them enrolled early, but 11 of them showed up here on June 21st, and it was really the first time for most of those guys that we had ever seen them face to face because for the last 18 months everything had been done online… It was different. Usually you want to see kids in person, you want to see them practice, maybe play another sport… but all those things were out the window.
The whole camp circuit was off in the year of 2020 and we weren’t allowed to go to camps and see any kids either. It was all about off of film, a lot of schools played, but there are some high schools, New Mexico, Hawaii, they didn’t play football, so you don’t have any tape from a kid after his sophomore year, so you have to project him. In the NCAA, we gave everybody the year back, but in high school, they didn’t give them the year back… That was just part of the process you had to deal with.”
On Teams Offering Non-Committable Scholarships:
“Our word is our bond. So if we offer you, it’s committable. I don’t understand ‘we’re going to offer you but it’s not a committable offer.’ Then my answer would be, ‘then it’s not an offer.’
We’re not making reservations for dinner, you’re dealing with young men’s lives. I don’t think it’s fair to offer a young man, and then tell him it’s not a committable one, because I don’t know what message you’re sending them- ‘You can trust me, but not in everything I say,’ so our word is our bond.
The other thing for us is we have a great school here academically and not everybody can get in, so we wouldn’t offer a kid if we didn’t have a transcript in hand that we could show to our admissions office to see if… if this young man is an admit-able athlete… In most cases we need at least 5 or 6 semesters of high school work for our admissions office to be able to tell us if the kid’s an admit-able student athlete. In the rush of some people offering 8th graders and freshmen, my response all the time is ‘the kid doesn’t even have a transcript, how do you know if he’s an admit-able student?’
We want to make sure we get the right kids and the right fit here. Kids that are about books, and kids that are about ball… they understand that if they get an offer from us, it’s a committable offer, and it’s not a reservation for dinner, it’s actually a scholarship one.”
On How UCLA Evaluates Talent:
“We’re not governed by someone else’s opinion… we don’t offer a kid because of his ranking. Those guys work really hard at it, but I don’t know if recruiting rankings have all the information, the academics and the character background things that maybe schools have… I don’t think that’s any different than the NFL Draft… you always see a guy in the Draft that everybody thought is a sure first round pick and he drops to the sixth or the seventh, well it may have been medical, or it may have been a character issue that the public is unaware of...
There’s more to the evaluation and offer than ‘he has a really good highlight tape, there’s a lot more to it than that when you’re projecting who’s going to be a power five guy.”
On UCLA’s Chance to Win the Pac-12 South
“We don’t talk about that. It goes back to our mindset of ‘if we are talking about that, then we got too far ahead of ourselves.’ This team has to be good enough to have a really good Monday, and not get caught up in it, and it’s hard, it’s a lot easier said than done because of a lot of talk, and we do have a lot of players back, and a lot of depth, and a lot of returning experience. But I think if you get caught up in that, then you lose sight of what you need to do, and what you need to do is come to work every single day… it would be kind of disingenuous of me to answer questions like that and talk about predictions and things like that because that’s not something that governs how we work…”
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