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Recruits have varying reactions

December 04, 2007|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

Newhall Hart High linebacker Patrick Larimore was at a news conference Monday for the teams playing in this weekend's Southern Section football championships when his cellphone buzzed.

It was a text message from his father telling him that Karl Dorrell had been fired as UCLA's football coach.

Larimore had told Dorrell and his staff that he planned on accepting UCLA's scholarship offer and would sign a national letter of intent in February.

The news didn't change any of those plans.

"It's unfortunate they're going to leave, but I'm going to honor [my commitment]," he said. "I hope the defensive coaches don't leave, but I guess it just happens. I imagine we might lose some people, but I looked at everything. The education is huge."

Other recruits did not seem as certain.

"I call my commit very soft," said defensive back Anthony Dye of Corona Santiago. "I'm definitely going to keep my options open and have a big decision to make in the next month. There's definitely some uncertainty."

At an afternoon news conference in which he announced the firing, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said he had left the decision to Dorrell whether to coach the Bruins in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22.

If Dorrell decides not to, defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker will be the interim coach.

Guerrero said UCLA assistant coaches were under contract until June and he expected them to work and retain continuity so the team's top-rated recruiting class will remain intact. He also said he would encourage the new coach to interview and consider keeping members of the current coaching staff.

How much of Dorrell's staff is retained by the next coach is a factor committed recruits said they would take into consideration.

Connor Bradford, an offensive tackle from Palmdale High, said he's still committed to UCLA but wants to see what happens to the position coach who recruited him.

Bradford said his parents and those of other committed recruits attended a meeting last month in which Dorrell told them the UCLA administration "had his back" and was supporting him.


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