Chances are, the coaching staff for UCLA was particularly happy when Oregon coach Chip Kelly recently decided to leave the Ducks for presumably bigger and better things: Life in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. Plenty of signs points to this being the case, in fact.
For one, the Bruins no longer have to potentially face Kelly on a yearly basis. Equally important perhaps, Jim Mora & Co. could be on the verge of securing an all-important commitment, or two, from one-time Oregon prospects doubting the direction of the program without Kelly in the mix. At the very least, UCLA will have added leverage to lure recruits to Westwood.
That said, let’s take a look at some scenarios where Ducks commits from the Class of 2013 could possibly have second thoughts, and thus, explore their options. It’s time for the Bruins to take advantage of the situation, especially with signing day right around the corner.
Thomas Tyner, RB, Beaverton (OR) Aloha: He’s recently been about as indecisive as they come, giving his pledge to the Ducks once, followed by a change of heart. Tyner (pictured) then came to the realization that Eugene was the best fit for him and firmed up his commitment to Oregon on Oct. 18. Nevertheless, the Bruins have a scholarship offer on the table for the 6-foot and 207-pound ball-carrier and would like nothing more than to add much-needed depth to their backfield, especially an individual the caliber of Tyner. Bottom line: He’ll likely honor his word this time around.
Danny Mattingly, OLB, Spokane (WA) Mead: The one-time Notre Dame commit opened up the recruiting process in early November before deciding the Ducks were his pick on Dec. 22. Signs still point to UCLA having a legitimate shot to land the 6-4 and 215-pounder after his visit on Nov. 23. Mattingly is versatile enough to play tight end as well, and provided a flop happens, he could compete for playing time at the position with Thomas Duarte from Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei. Another thing UCLA has going for it: Los Angeles is home to his father, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Tyree Robinson, ATH, San Diego (CA) Lincoln: Committed to Oregon on Sept. 23 and nothing’s changed. However, with Kelly gone nowadays he will look at what other programs have to offer him. The 6-4 and 190-pound playmaker projects as a safety at the next level and he’s immediately bolster the secondary for the Bruins, a spot of concern at this stage of the game. One problem: If Robinson switches things up, UCLA has to be concerned about USC and Notre Dame.
Tyrell Robinson, OLB, San Diego (CA) Lincoln: In the same boat as his brother, Tyree Robinson (see note above). He hasn’t been nearly as vocal as his sibling, with regards to Kelly ditching the Ducks for the NFL. That doesn’t mean fans from up North should breathe a sigh of relief though. Not just yet. The 6-3 and 200-pound backer committed to Oregon on Sept. 23 and figures to be a packed deal with his brother. If one Robinson leaves, they both do and that doesn’t bode well.
Darren Carrington, WR, San Diego (CA) Horizon: Not sure if the Bruins have been interested in the 6-3 and 180-pound pass-catcher since his mid-June commitment to the Ducks. The lines of communication could be open soon and a scholarship could be offered in the near future. It is worth mentioning that UCLA has focused its efforts on getting in good with Devon Allen of Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep. That said, Carrington figures to be on the outside looking in with the Bruins.
Sean Ceglinsky has covered prep and college sports on the West Coast for the better part of the past 15-plus years. Follow him on twitter: @SeanCeglinsky