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Chip Kelly finds right fit with UCLA football’s new recruits

By in Press Enterprise on December 21, 2017

By Thuc Nhi Nguyen

Timelines and technology have changed since Chip Kelly last sat in a recruit’s living room five years ago, but the essence of recruiting remains the same for the new UCLA head coach.

It’s about fit – athletically, academically and personally.

Only one month since taking over in Westwood, Kelly is starting to find those who fit next to him, from his first crop of recruits to his new coaching staff that helped him navigate a tricky early signing period.

“There’s a maturity to this class of the eight guys we have right now,” Kelly said Thursday after the Bruins signed eight recruits Wednesday. “All eight of them, I was really, really excited that we had a chance to get them, especially in this early period. It’s a great group, a great foundation to build upon.”

Immediately after getting hired, Kelly dove into UCLA’s existing recruiting database and evaluated prospects to see if they matched his vision for the future of the Bruins.

He knew he needed size on the defensive line, so he snatched up 6-foot-3, 360-pound defensive tackle Atonio Mafi, flipping the Bay Area native from a previous Cal commitment.

He knew he needed an athletic linebacker who could run to the ball, so he went after Bo Calvert, a longtime USC commit from Oaks Christian.

He knew UCLA was going to lose four receivers due to graduation, so he and receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty aggressively pursued some of the top talent on the West Coast.

Dougherty signed three receivers Wednesday, all four-star prospects, led by Serra High’s Bryan Addison. In Addison and Oregon native Chase Cota, the Bruins have a pair of big receivers (6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4, respectively). Add in Kyle Philips, who Kelly called “an unbelievable route runner,” and UCLA could have one of the most formidable receiver classes in the Pac-12 this year.

Retaining some […]    

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