Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Mazzone giveth to UCLA, taketh from ASU
By ESPN.com staff
Jim Mora put the finishing touches Tuesday on what looks like a strong staff, and that buried this item a little: He might also have found the Bruins a QB.
A day after getting a commitment from the best defensive tackle on the West Coast — Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif.), who switched his commitment from California — UCLA flipped QB T.J. Millweard (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) from Arizona State.
Why did the Bruins gain at the Sun Devils' expense? Well, this is a good guess: Noel Mazzone. From ESPN Recruiting's Greg Biggins:
Millweard, a four-star prospect, rated the No. 6 signal caller in the nation, was a Sun Devil commit largely due to his relationship with former ASU offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. When Mazzone was hired as UCLA’s new OC, Millweard decided to take a visit to Westwood. Two days later, he decided to be a Bruin.
“Yep, I committed to coach Mazzone on Tuesday,” Millweard said. “I had a great visit. I was really blown away by the place. I didn’t know a lot about it to be honest, but UCLA is an incredible school, and I felt comfortable there right away. Of course Coach Mazzone being there was a huge factor. I’m very close with him and love his offense, but it was more than just that.
“I really liked talking with Coach [Jim] Mora as well. He’s a great guy and a natural leader. UCLA has great academics as well. I love the area, and the campus is amazing. Everything just felt right there, and I’m very excited about my decision. I think UCLA is going to do big things, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Mazzone's move to UCLA has now caused a double-hit for Arizona State at QB. If Mazzone had been convinced to stay with the Sun Devils, it's almost certain that Brock Osweiler wouldn't have entered the NFL draft a year early. So ASU has lost its present and future QB because Mazzone jumped to Westwood.
As for UCLA, if you ask Bruins fans what's been the most infuriating — and baffling — aspect of the program's struggles, most would say the inability to get consistently good play at quarterback. That could be about to change. Millweard will join a roster that includes talented redshirt freshman Brett Hundley, who will be competing with veterans Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut for the starting job this spring.
Mazzone did a great job establishing a spread offense at Arizona State, one that took advantage of the specific skills of his QB. It appears he's going to have some talent to work with immediately in Westwood.