To put bloom back on UCLA, new coach DeShaun Foster and staff rip up Chip Kelly’s blueprint

LOS ANGELES — With an aim to be more visible, more accessible and more personable, UCLA held its spring showcase inside the Rose Bowl for the first time in nearly a decade this past weekend.

It’s an approach the Bruins have carried over to their talent acquisition efforts, too. A program which is coming off a last-place finish in the Big Ten recruiting rankings and signed only 10 high schoolers in the 2024 class has quite literally reopened its doors.

In the two months since Chip Kelly left the building on his way to Ohio State, the Bruins have charted a different blueprint. They have sent out more campus invites and have begun to offer underclassmen again. They packed the sidelines at their inaugural Friday Night Lights event, which head coach DeShaun Foster estimated drew more than 100 recruits, and that newfound buzz continued Saturday when they welcomed a loaded group of prospects back to the Rose Bowl.

“People keep telling us they feel a different energy at UCLA now,” director of player personnel Stacey Ford said. “The plan is to be as open and as inclusive as we can be for the city of Los Angeles. We want to be extremely engaging and want the whole town to see what we’re about.”

That’s a stark contrast from how distant the program felt for recruits over the previous six seasons. Under Kelly, only Clemson was offering fewer scholarships than UCLA among FBS teams, yet perhaps most damaging to his roster construction was how late the Bruins were getting involved in recruitments. By the time UCLA threw its name in the hat for a recruit, it was already three or four steps behind.

In two short months, the pace has seemingly picked up — more than 70 high schoolers in the 2025 class hold UCLA offers and nearly two dozen official visits…


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