Seniors David Richards, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle, and Ben Hummel, a 6-4, 230-pound outside linebacker, both three-year starters for the Southern Methodist University football team, will play for UCLA next season.
Richards and Hummel are among several SMU players who decided to transfer after the recent ruling by the NCAA that SMU's football games would be canceled next season as one of the sanctions against the school for illegal payments to players. Under these special circumstances, the players are being allowing to transfer without losing eligibility and without having to redshirt for a year.
UCLA assistant coach Bill Rees, the Bruins' recruiting coordinator, was pleased that both Richards and Hummel chose UCLA after the three-day recruiting spree in Dallas that drew college coaches from throughout the nation.
"David Richards and Ben Hummel are both real solid kids," Rees said. "We recruited both of them out of high school and came up a little bit short."
Richards is from Highland Park, Tex., next door to SMU. Hummel is from Rockwall, Tex.
Rees said that UCLA was concerned about whether either had been involved in the violations that caused SMU's program to be suspended, and that they seemed to check out OK. Rees referred to an article in the Dallas Morning News, which has been monitoring the investigation closely, saying that the recruitment of Richards and Hummel "had never been brought into question."
There are no letters of intent to be signed at this point. Rees is able to talk about these players because they have already announced their plans. He said that UCLA was involved in recruiting two other SMU players who are still making visits.
A USC spokesman reported that there also are a couple of SMU players planning to visit the USC campus.
"It's a good situation all the way around," Rees said of giving these proven, experienced players scholarships for just one year. "It's a good situation for the players who want to have the opportunity to contribute right away."
Rees said that the scene in Dallas during the three days that recruiters were allowed their one on-campus visit and their off-campus contact before the March 1 deadline was a little like a convention. "Everyone was evaluating film and making contacts and trying to work fast," Rees said. "It was an unusual kind of a thing for the players and the coaches both. No one had been through that before.
"Wichita State dropped football at one time, but there wasn't the same kind of interest in their players. It's been very interesting."