UCLA vs. Texas A&M Series Will Bring More Recruiting Benefits to Bruins

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterMarch 14, 2014

UCLA head coach Jim Mora hugs Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian after UCLA defeated Washington 41-31 in their NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in Pasadena, Calif.  (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

When you're in talent-rich California like UCLA, there's little need to venture outside your backyard, let alone the state, for players. 

Yet the Bruins have developed a nice presence in another talent-rich recruiting state: Texas. That's because they've shown a dedication to travel there.  

The latest example of that is UCLA's scheduled home-and-home series with Texas A&M. The Aggies will host the Bruins in 2016, according to an A&M release, and head out west the following year. 

UCLA has made several trips to Texas already. The Bruins are scheduled to play the Texas Longhorns this year in Arlington at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. There's also an upcoming home-and-home series with Oklahoma, just north of Texas, in 2018 and 2019. 

Victor Calzada/Associated Press

The Bruins recently played games at Rice (2012), at Houston (2011) and at Texas (2010). That means, with the exception of the 2013 and 2015 seasons, UCLA has played or will play in Texas five times in seven years. (And the 2013 Sun Bowl against Virginia Tech could technically count as well.) 

Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, a former assistant at SMU from 2008-11, has spearheaded UCLA's recruiting efforts in Texas. One of the things Klemm can promise recruits is that the Bruins will make trips to the player's home state. 

Not surprisingly, the results on the recruiting trail have been noticeable. 

UCLA coach Jim Mora signed three players from Texas in the 2014 recruiting class. Among them was 4-star linebacker Zach Whitley, the No. 14 player in the Lone Star State. 

Don Ryan/Associated Press

Of course, UCLA didn't sign all their top recruiting targets. Defensive end Solomon Thomas, one of the best prospects in Texas for the '14 class, ended up signing with Stanford. Still, he had UCLA among his finalists.

Another highly touted prospect, 4-star offensive lineman Demetrius Knox, took a late visit to UCLA in January. However, he ended up signing with Ohio State. 

Point being, the Bruins have been in the running for some big-time names in Texas, too. 

Dating back to 2012, the Bruins have signed at least two players from Texas every year. Already, there are over a dozen targets from Texas on UCLA's board for the '15 class. 

The Bruins have a solid recruiting plan and they're executing it well. In college football, it's all about positioning a program's brand. How that's done varies from school to school. For example, Oregon is known as "Nike U" and began trending alternate uniforms. 

UCLA is positioning itself, at least recruiting-wise, as an extension of Texas, all while remaining quintessentially SoCal. 

In a way, they're getting the best of both recruiting worlds. As long as they keep scheduling away games in Texas, that will continue to be the case. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports