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UCLA’s Chip Kelly focused on developing local recruits

By in Press Enterprise on November 28, 2017

By Thuc Nhi Nguyen

LOS ANGELES — Chip Kelly didn’t have to sell his family much on his move to UCLA. The facilities, including the new $75 million Wasserman Football Center, are the “best in the country,” UCLA’s new head coach said Monday during his introductory press conference. The school is one of the top public universities in the country. The weather nearly sells itself.

And the potential recruits aren’t bad.

“The Los Angeles factor is obviously big in many respects and the fact that you really don’t need to go out of state to recruit great student-athletes that can win at a very high clip for you,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said of the reasons why Kelly fits at UCLA.

But now that he is within a stone’s throw from any number of four- and five-star recruits, Kelly is focused not only on keeping them in L.A., but also developing the talent into winning teams.

“The one thing about us (at Oregon) is that we might not have had a top-ranked class, but I think we did a great job from a developmental standpoint,” Kelly said. “I would rather finish in the top five at the end of the season than at the end of the recruiting season.”

Kelly’s first recruiting class at Oregon was ranked 30th in the nation by Scout.com. He led that 2009 team to a Rose Bowl, his first of three conference championships in four years. The Ducks followed with three consecutive top-15 recruiting classes nationally to go with three BCS bowl appearances, including the national championship game at the end of the 2010 season.

Like many Pac-12 programs, the Ducks raided talent-rich Southern California for prospects. Kelly plucked five-star running back De’Anthony Thomas (Crenshaw High), four-star cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Chino Hills) and four-star receiver Devon Blackmon (Summit High) from the L.A. area. Thomas’ decision […]    

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