UNLV Football Recruiting - Official Visit Recap - 1/17/2020

UNLV Football Recruiting – Official Visit Recap – 1/17/2020

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New UNLV Head Football Coach Marcus Arroyo and his football staff held their first official visit weekend starting Friday, January 17th and ending on Sunday the 19th.

 

In total, there were 15 recruits in attendance, which included three players who committed to the previous staff, quarterback Doug Brumfield (Serra, Gardena California) along with offensive linemen Alani Makihele (West, Anchorage Alaska) and Jeminai Leuta-Ulu (Servite, Anaheim California).

 

UNLV Football Recruiting - Official Visit Recap - 1/17/2020
Photo Credit: Joe Arrigo

While UNLV held commitments from players before Arroyo taking over, he and his staff had to decide which of them they were going to honor and which they would not. The same can also be said for the players who committed to the Rebels. Entering the weekend, UNLV ranked 8th in the Mountain West Conference recruiting rankings, so time is of the essence considering National Signing Day is just around the corner on February 5th.

Coach Arroyo and his staff aggressively targeted players that fit what they want to do on the field, resulting in a historic weekend, getting 12 of the 15 to commit to the Rebels. Arroyo also landed another commitment from a player who hasn’t even visited the UNLV campus yet.

I also want to clarify why I say 12 commitments compared to other articles that are reporting a lesser amount. When I spoke to a college coach about how I should view the commitments of Brumfield, Makihele, and Leuta-Ulu, he said, “(He) still had to ‘re-recruit’ the committed kids and their families. They have not signed anything yet, and you still have to close the deal on those ones!”

I agree. While Brumfield, Makihele, Leuta-Ulu, and Safety Jeremiah Houston (initially a 2019 UNLV commit, but due to miscommunication and an error by his Junior College, it prevented Houston to enroll until this season) were committed to the previous staff. The new staff had to sell them on their new vision, and both sides had to decide whether the fit was right for all parties involved.

 

A few things I can be sure of about the way Coach Arroyo and his staff is going to recruit; he will be aggressive with the players that he targets, and he won’t bring in players who are going to be an academic risk.

 

The historic recruiting weekend kicked-off with the Rebels getting a commitment from Riverside Community College linebacker Kue Olotoa. The 6’3, 220 pound Orange County native who was a unanimous Southern California Football Association selection. On Saturday morning, UNLV secured a commitment from Carmel, Indiana, running back Dylan Downing. The 5’11, 218 pound running back who also runs with excellent pad level, power, and deceptive speed, will also be an early enrollee and start classes at UNLV on Wednesday.

Later on Saturday, Coach Arroyo officially welcomed former Bishop Gorman and TCU Horn Frog defensive end Adam Plant Jr. to the UNLV program as a transfer. This move was first reported by the Accosicated Press and Las Vegas sports reporter Willie Ramirez a few weeks ago. Less than an hour later, Arroyo landed his first “wow” signing in Calabasas hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end LeShaun Bell, a high three-star who also had offers from Arizona State, Oregon State, Washington State, Fresno State, and Hawaii.

As Saturday went on, the UNLV staff got massive Oregon offensive lineman Tiger Shanks to #BEaREBEL. Shanks is 6’6 and lost over 75 pounds since last year and is down to 325, but the big man can move and is extremely powerful. Shanks is the type of lineman that will cause opposing linemen long days on the job. The Rebel’s momentum didn’t stop there. St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) tight end Jake Ray at 6’3, 235 tight end is a significant get for Arroyo and Co.

The Rebels defense needed playmakers, and they got another to commit on Saturday evening with inside linebacker Prince Lollar Jr. of Hutchinson Community College. Lollar, who is 6’1, 240 pounds, is a heat-seeking missile on defense that has some of the most vicious hits I have seen on film in the 2020 class.

 

A big development happened a short time after Lollar committed, Arroyo offered consensus 4-star linebacker, Brennon Scott from Bishop Dunne (Dallas, TX).

 

Scott de-committed from Kansas a few weeks ago and held offers from LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Florida, Baylor, Auburn, Arizona St., and Georgia, to name a few. He is the highest-rated high school player in UNLV history. Scott committed on Sunday and has yet to take an official visit to UNLV but said that his relationship with Coach Arroyo was the critical factor in his commitment.

UNLV Football Recruiting - Official Visit Recap - 1/17/2020
Photo Credit: burntorangenation.com

Monday morning South Carolina safety Tyson Player, a 6’1/175 pound playmaker from Ridge View High School, committed to Arroyo’s new look Rebels. Player, who was on the trip this weekend, said on his Twitter account that the UNLV “felt like family” before leaving Las Vegas. So the lone recruits who were on their official visits and haven’t yet committed to the Rebels are tight end Alex Lines, outside linebacker D’Athony Jones, and cornerback Edric Whitley.

UNLV did lose commitments from wide receiver Ron Gilliam, Brumfield’s long-time teammate, starting in youth football and through high school, offensive lineman Dirk Nelson, and cornerback Kobe Jenkins this week. There is no word as to whether any of them are still considering UNLV.  Nelson did take an official trip to Colorado State over the weekend and has since committed to the Rams.

 

It is truly an exciting time to #BEaREBEL

 

In total, Rebels Head Coach Marcus Arroyo secured or kept 13 UNLV football commitments from the official visits, 12 of whom took theirs this weekend. At the time this article was written, UNLV currently sits in 3rd in MWC recruiting. If this is any indication of what Coach Arroyo and his staff can do on 14 days’ notice (they had their first staff meeting on January 6th), UNLV fans can get excited about what they can do throughout a season.    

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