Football garners 3 new recruits, Ethan Fernea notches 1st touchdown

Coach Chip Kelly secured the No. 40 recruiting class in the country in 2019. After three recent commitments, the Bruins' 2020 class jumped up to the No. 34 slot in the national rankings. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)

Fresh off a three-game winning streak, the Bruins have reeled in a string of fresh faces.

UCLA football (4-5, 4-2 Pac-12) has more than a week off before its road matchup with Utah on Nov. 16. Coach Chip Kelly said the coaching staff has done its preliminary film breakdown of the Utes, but no game plan has been formulated yet.

But after back-to-back home victories, the staff has been able to lock down three new commits for the class of 2020.

Director of player personnel Ethan Young – who tweets a vague “BOOM!” every time the Bruins earn a commitment – has dropped four “booms” since UCLA’s 31-14 victory over Colorado on Saturday.

The Bruins have earned commitments from four-star receiver Logan Loya, three-star linebacker Choe Bryant-Strother and three-star linebacker Jonathan Vaughns this week. Three-star defensive end Myles Jackson – who previously committed to and uncommitted from UCLA – is scheduled to announce his decision Thursday, with 100% of 247Sports experts expecting him to recommit to the Bruins following his latest official visit.

Kelly, however, said he thinks the influx of commitments has more to do with UCLA’s ability to host recruits at home games than the recent wins.

“That would be very presumptuous to be so shallow that (for) recruits, (winning’s) all they commit to,” Kelly said. “There’s a lot more to sell at this university than just that we won a couple of football games in a row.”

The coach said introducing recruits to professors and bringing them to campus when school is in session is a more effective recruiting tool than wins alone.

Even with as many as four commitments in a single week, Kelly said he and his recruiting staff won’t be taking their foot off the gas ahead of the early signing period that opens Dec. 18.

“I don’t think you’re ever happy until signing day,” Kelly said. “Just because a kid’s committed now doesn’t mean that he’s locked and committed so you’ve got to continue to recruit the kids that are committed.”

UCLA’s next 8-Clap 8th – when the program extends offers to new prospects on the eighth of every month – is Friday, meaning the Bruins’ list of 101 offers will get even longer before the weekend.

Despite the quantity of scholarship offers tossed out by Kelly and his staff, the coach said he would prefer to have some left over to get late graduate transfers and preferred walk-ons.

“In this day and age, you don’t want to sign a full class because you’re not sure what opens up after that,” Kelly said. “(Graduate transfer linebacker) Jason Harris is a kid that we got late and he’s made an impact for us. So you always try and manage that and see how that is, but recruiting’s never over – it’s a 24/7 cycle.”

Fernea’s first score

Senior receiver Ethan Fernea has hauled in four passes in UCLA football's last two games. Fernea primarily played special teams in his first three seasons with the Bruins. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)

Senior receiver Ethan Fernea had zero career receptions entering the 2019 season.

After week eight, that figure was still zero.

Fernea hauled in his first three receptions with UCLA against Arizona State on Oct. 26 and scored his first touchdown on a 45-yard reception against Colorado on Saturday.

“It was surreal, absolutely surreal,” Fernea said. “I’ve been working and dreaming for that moment ever since I got here, so I couldn’t believe it – still can’t believe it.”

The former walk-on’s shoulder pad popped out after the score, but he said he was too distracted to even notice.

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