UCLA the national champions of college football recruiting?
Hold that thought.
The Bruins, who will have one of the best recruiting classes in the country as high school players begin signing letters of intent today, are still awaiting word on the two or three who may put them over the top, especially quarterback Jeff George from Warren Central in Indianapolis. Chances are George won't even decide among UCLA, Purdue and Miami at all today.
"I don't think the family is going to make a decision until Thursday or Friday," Warren Central Coach Jerry Stauffer said Tuesday night. "The best reason is that they're just not ready. They're still sifting through their options."
Defensive back Eric Turner from Ventura and wide receiver Greg McMurtry from Brockton, Mass., are two other top prospects who have the Bruins in mind. Washington is the competition for Turner, while McMurtry is said to still be looking at several other schools on the East Coast and the Midwest.
Similarly, USC is waiting for a decision from a handful of players, but the news Trojan coaches have heard in the past few days has been almost all positive. This week alone, they have landed linemen Mark Tucker of L.A. Banning and Tim Ryan and Gene Fruge of San Jose Oak Grove, tight end Scott Freier from Antioch, Calif., and defensive back Mark Carrier of Long Beach Poly, one of the top prospects in California at any position.
Then Tuesday night, Tom Dabasinskas from San Pasqual in Escondido, touted as the top center in the state, and defensive back-running back Cleveland Colter from Tempe, Ariz., one of the top athletes in that state, both picked USC. If the Trojans land defensive backs Rodney Winston from Marianna, Ark., (Arkansas is also in the running) and running back Terry Rodgers from National City Sweetwater (Texas and Nebraska are the other finalists), it will certainly be a good recruiting year for them, too.
"I guess the fact that USC has been with him the whole year and always showed an interest in him is what did it," said Colter's mother, Kathy Colter. "They did not show anything else but good things for him. That was the overriding factor. He walked in the door tonight and said straight out, 'I'm going to USC.' "
Elsewhere, defensive back Robert Hicks from Fremont, saying "It's a dream come true," took Nebraska over Washington and joins Locke quarterback Leon Otis as the Cornhuskers' second expected signing from the Central City. Hawaii got its third and fourth commitments from Southern California players Tuesday when it was picked by running back-linebacker Jim Jastrab of Hacienda Heights Los Altos, who missed most of the season with an injury, and nose guard Sean Robinson of Palisades.
Defensive back Miguel Ramirez of Santa Fe Springs St. Paul chose Miami of Ohio, where his high school coach, Rick Ready, used to be an assistant, while Arizona State landed Huntington Beach Ocean View tight end Peter Tucker.