Jim Mora, UCLA Proving They Can Out-Recruit SEC Powers

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Jim Mora, UCLA Proving They Can Out-Recruit SEC Powers
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Head coach Jim Mora

LSU's football team got beat by UCLA on Wednesday night.

Not beat, per se, but still, Bruin head coach Jim Mora beat Tiger head coach Les Miles in football recruiting, and right now, that's all that really matters until the the season kicks off in late August.  

The UCLA Bruins football program got a huge boost in recruiting when 4-star defensive back Tahaan Goodman committed to UCLA Wednesday night (see video of announcement below).

Goodman announcement

Goodman received a considerable amount of offers from schools across the country, including some in SEC country: LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt all vied for Goodman's pledge. Goodman chose UCLA over all of them, and UCLA is the hottest trending-up program on two major recruiting sites' team rankings right now

UCLA is ranked No. 6—right on LSU's No. 5 heels—on Scout and No. 9 on Rivals. The gutty little Bruins are ranked ahead of SEC elite teams Alabama, Florida and Georgia on Scout—take that, SEC.

The UCLA Bruins aren't messin' around. That eight-clap is getting louder and louder in Los Angeles. 

Priest Willis, a 5-star defensive back, announced on Wednesday that he committed to UCLA as well. Willis was down to Arizona State, LSU and UCLA as his final three choices, and judging by this report, LSU fans will be shocked over losing Willis to UCLA. The report also states that LSU coaches won't give up on him and will be recruiting him hard over the next two weeks. 

If Willis does indeed announce for UCLA, do not expect the LSU coaches to back off. He has been a priority for quite some time and the need for another defensive back is too great to move on.  

Willis is ranked as the fourth-best cornerback by Scout and had offers from Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame and Nebraska as well. 

UCLA has been on a mad pace to boost up its recruiting efforts, and right now it is one of several schools in contention for one of the country's top-10 prospects. Eddie Vanderdoes, the No. 2 defensive tackle in the country, decommitted from USC less than a month ago and is searching for the right school to call home—USC is still not out of the picture.

Vanderdoes took a visit to UCLA in late November and is scheduled for a visit to Alabama on February 1—Notre Dame is also in the mix with Vanderdoes set to visit that school on January 25. If UCLA lands Vanderdoes, the city of Los Angeles may experience a mild earthquake with the epicenter right under USC's campus and aftershocks being felt in Tuscaloosa and South Bend. 

This can't be a fluke. When 4-star receiver Eldridge Massington decommitted from USC—he is currently enrolled at UCLA—many Trojan fans wrote that off as just "one of those things." The recent surge in recruiting by UCLA suggests otherwise. Jim Mora and his staff are building something big in Westwood, which is a good thing because the once-proud basketball power has been having a poor season thus far.

Football in Westwood is now en fuego

So go ahead Bruin fans, talk a little smack to your crosstown rival USC. In fact, go ahead and lay the smack down on those SEC fans while you're at it.

If they give you a hard time, you might want to remind them that the last two times the Bruins played an SEC team (Tennessee, 2008-09), UCLA won both games. At home and at Neyland Stadium.

It's good to be back, isn't it?

 

*All player ratings and rankings in this article were sourced from Scout.com.

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