The Rick Neuheisel era at UCLA is off to a pretty good start, as the Bruins are 1-0 after beating the Tennessee Vols last week at the Rose Bowl. A win like that is bound to impress some recruits and, along with those full page ads, maybe steal some thunder away from cross-town rival USC.
Still, these days winning football games just isn’t enough to woo potential suitors. USC wins a lot of games, and they have the Song Girls to boot, so if you’re going to win them over you have to take your recruiting to the next level. For Neuheisel, that level is the skies.
Neuheisel saw UCLA target Shaquelle Evans, a receiver, and his Inglewood team play against Wilson, then took a helicopter from nearby Hawthorne Airport and flew the 60 miles to watch Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga quarterback Richard Brehaut, a UCLA commit, play Bishop Amat of La Puente and cornerback Sheldon Price, also a Bruins commit.
“That’s so awesome that he would take a helicopter to see us play, Sheldon and I,” Brehaut said. “It just shows how dedicated he is to his recruits, and letting us know he can’t wait to get us there. It just makes you feel really cool that your future head coach takes a helicopter to see you play in high school. That’s just awesome.”
(Neuheisel & staff pay a surprise visit to Trojans’ practice)
It’s not just awesome, it’s probably the only way to beat traffic in Los Angeles. That 60 mile trip from Inglewood to Rancho Cucamonga would probably take four or five days in a car.
While it sounds like Neuheisel may have won over Brehaut with his aerial shenanigans, not everything went to plan. Neuheisel was originally supposed to land in a baseball field next to the football field Rancho Cucamonga was playing at, but at the last minute the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office put an end to that. Rick then had to land at Ontario Airport and drive eight miles to the football stadium.
Something tells me pulling up in a Ford Taurus instead of landing across the street in a chopper just didn’t have the same effect.