Chip Kelly is a big fish. He’s landed in a pretty big pond at UCLA.
Kelly has proven he can win in the conference which he’s rejoining. He’s proven he can recruit nationally. But will he need to do it at UCLA, which sits in one of the nation’s most talent-rich regions?
Scout.com’s Brandon Huffman doesn’t think so — which might be cause for great concern for fellow Pac-12 schools.
“Even at Oregon, they prioritized the west, whether that was going to Southern California, going to Northern California, going to Hawaii,” Huffman said on Jeremy Crabtree’s Over The Middle podcast . “I think now that he is at UCLA, I would say that 80-90 percent of his class is going to be made up of kids from Southern California, but there’s going to be those Northern California kids, there will be those kids from Hawaii, there might even be kids from Oregon that long dreamed of playing for Chip Kelly and maybe a Mark Helfrich-style offense.
“He’ll go down into Arizona. There might be the occasional Florida or Texas kid that grew up watching the LaMichael James type that say ‘hey, I want to go play in that Chip Kelly offense’ but he’s not going to have to venture that far and prioritize kids in Florida and Texas like he did at Oregon because so many of those kids are going to be in his backyard at UCLA.”
When Kelly was at Oregon, he didn’t have the luxury of stepping off his back porch into a hotbed of top prospects. He had to go national to get some of his best players. Once his program was established, he started luring kids from the Southland who seemed untouchable — like receiving/returning dynamo De’Anthony Thomas, a product of Los Angeles’ Crenshaw High School.
But with his new school firmly entrenched in Southern California, he’ll have direct access to such prospects. He won’t have to battle UCLA for kids, because he is UCLA. His lone immediate adversary in the region? USC.
That’s who Kelly happened to upend with the Thomas signing by using his team’s style of play and success as the primary draws. Time will tell whether it works again (hint: it probably will), but he’s bringing that same style to UCLA.
“That was what that offense did,” Huffman said of Thomas’ flip from USC to Oregon back in 2011. “It attracted those kids that you figured were lifelong USC fans, and had been, in the case of De’Anthony Thomas, a longtime USC commit, and he takes Oregon because of the Chip Kelly offense. So, now you’re going to see a lot of battles. I think the running backs especially and maybe even the more faster, speedier, not so much the pro-style style-sized quarterbacks in the Southland but now the guys who are 6-foot, 6-1 but can move and can use their legs, you’re going to see Chip Kelly prioritize those guys.”
That type of snag might be a preview of what’s to come in SoCal. Huffman sure thinks so.
“The Chip Kelly-Clay Helton recruiting battles these next couple of years should be pretty fascinating,” he said.
The post Brandon Huffman of Scout considers Chip Kelly’s recruiting impact on UCLA, Pac-12 appeared first on Diehards.
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