Adrian Klemm, courtesey of Peter Yoon/ESPN LosAngeles
Ahh, it's good to be King of LA, isn't it, Bruin faithful?
You kicked USC to the curb last November—albeit you shouldn't overlook the fact that you did it while the Trojans were in the throes of NCAA scholarship restrictions—and you squashed the Trojans on signing day, according to Scout and 24/7 Sports.
Was this all due to hiring one head coach? One Jim L. Mora?
Mora is difficult to peg but there is one thing you can say about him without reservation—he's a nose-to-the-ground guy that has absolutely no room in his life for BS. He's a straight shooter, a blue-collar workaholic coach who has the luxury of West LA surrounding the pristine UCLA campus that he calls his office. It could be one of the cushiest jobs in the country if UCLA ever knocks off Alabama.
Laughable as that may sound, UCLA is aiming to do just that. The only way you get to that point is by recruiting better and oh, by the way, UCLA is now official part of that big boy club.
Top 10 class? Check. Flipping commits from your cross town rival? Check. Fans actually wearing Bruin sweatshirts on signing day instead of keeping them in mothballs? Check.
One of your assistants getting tabbed Recruiter of the Year? Checkmate.
Adrian Klemm is not a best-kept secret but he is a secret weapon. I actually interviewed the offensive line coach/run game coordinator last year and I knew who he was before I even researched him—I pay attention to those assistant coaches who have impeccable recruiting reputations. Demetrice Martin, another Bruin assistant coach (defensive backs), is becoming a local recruiting legend as well, but Klemm and Washington assistant coach Tosh Lupoi are probably two of the most respected recruiters in the West.
What struck me most about Klemm is that he is so completely sold on UCLA—he actually accepted the job offer at UCLA without asking Mora about his salary. Klemm described that 30-second phone call from Mora to me:
"'Hey, this is Jim Mora,'" said Klemm, vividly recalling their conversation. "Would you be interested in coming back home?'"Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Klemm was very interested.
"He asked, 'What do we need to do?' and I said 'Coach, just be fair to me and I'm there.' And that was our conversation. We never talked about the financial aspect until I got here."
And therein lies why Klemm is such a dagger in every Pac-12 team's heart—he's at UCLA because he wants to be at UCLA, not because UCLA was the highest bidder.
And when a teenager sees a big former offensive lineman with Super Bowl rings on his hand walking into his home and telling him how wonderful UCLA is, he knows Klemm's speaking from his heart.
Upfront honesty in the recruiting world is probably pretty rare these days and I'm sure Klemm has done some negative recruiting—for what it's worth, he told me he doesn't need to—but what really makes Klemm such a great recruiter is his demeanor.
"It's all about relationships," he told me. "If you're genuine and just be yourself and you're not trying to run game on kids they recognize that — so do parents."
Yup, getting the parents to sign on is pretty important as we all found out last signing day, and Klemm is just the right secret weapon to win over the moms and dads.
Klemm was named Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year by 24/7Sports and was also named one of the top 25 recruiters in the country by Rivals.
Everything is humming along just fine in Adrian Klemm's world. He's not going anywhere for a long time and he wants the team he loved to watch while growing up to finally step out of the shadows of Tommy Trojan.
So far, so good.