Leila Navidi / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
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Ray Brewer and Ryan Greene take a look at UNLV's Signing Day haul under first-year coach Bobby Hauck and his staff, who had less than a month to work their magic on the recruiting trail.
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2010 recruits expected to sign Wednesday
- Kyle Anderson, LB, 6-2, 230, Silverado High
- Taylor Barnhill, QB, 6-4, 212, Northwest High (Justin, Texas)
- Ian Bobak, DE, 6-4, 245, Bishop Gorman High
- Dionza Bradford, RB, 6-0, 190, Serrano High (Phelan, Calif.)
- Perry Cooper, LB, 6-3, 215, The Woodlands High (Woodlands, Texas)
- Tim Cornett, RB, 6-1, 190, North Shore High (Galena Park, Texas)
- Kurt Davis, WR, 6-4, 200, Centennial High (Compton, Calif.)
- Tyler Gaston, DT, 6-3, 260, Rancho High
- Tajh Hasson, DB, 6-1, 180, Cathedral High High (Los Angeles)
- Cameron Jefferson, OL, 6-7, 250, Desert Oasis High
- Nolan Kohorst, K, 6-0, 165, Green Valley High
- Alex Novosel, OL, 6-7, 275, Chatfield Senior High (Littleton, Colo.)
- Kjelby Oiland, DT, 6-4, 270, Ferris High (Spokane, Wash.)
- Kenneth Penny, ATH, 6-0, 170, Kimball High (Lancaster, Texas)
- Brian Roth, OL, 6-5, 290, El Toro High (Lake Forest, Calif.)
- Jordan Sparkman, TE, 6-6, 240, Point Loma High (San Diego)
- Taylor Spencer, LB, 6-1, 190, Bishop Gorman High
- Desmond Tautofi, DE, 6-4, 275, Calvary Chapel High
- Eric Tuiloma, DB, 5-11, 185, Desert Pines High
- *Anthony Vidal, TE, 6-5, 250, Orange Coast College (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
Midway through his national signing day press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center, first-year UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck playfully cracked a smile when asked if there were something he could change about the past month on the recruiting trail.
He jokingly responded with one luxury he could have benefited from — more time, specifically a 28-hour day.
"We exhausted every minute we could spend researching these guys," Hauck said.
Hauck was hired Dec. 23, and, after spending Christmas day with his family, took advantage of virtually every moment of the last five weeks while scrambling to assemble a respectable class. Starting significantly behind in the process, Hauck had to find athletes who best fit into his system, and, more importantly, weren't already committed to other schools.
He found most of those recruits in UNLV's backyard, receiving eight letters of intent Wednesday from high school seniors in the Las Vegas Valley. The 20-athlete class included four defensive linemen, three linebackers and three defensive backs in addressing one of UNLV's biggest weaknesses from last year, stopping opposing offenses.
Hauck talked about the evaluating process and how there were several long nights of analyzing game film of potential recruits into the wee hours of the morning.
But Wednesday night, or shortly after his press conference ended, Hauck would able to return to his family — a wife and four children he admits having neglected the past month. He compared national signing day to New Year's Eve.
"I will have some fun tonight, I promise," he said.
Assistant coach Ty Gregorak was one of Hauck's right-hand men during recruiting and said his five weeks living in Las Vegas primarily have been spent on recruiting. As for his meals, it's been mostly takeout food delivered to campus or something fast while traveling to visit prospects.
"I've put on about 12 to 15 pounds," Gregorak said. "My wife looks at me and shakes her head. Of course, she hasn't seen too much of me lately."
But Hauck said all of the work was worthwhile. He is more than happy with the recruits and feels a model of success has been built for future classes.
"It was a pretty frenzied effort over the last four weeks," Hauck said. "I'm pleased with the results. Obviously, every coach in America is pleased with the results or we wouldn't have taken them."
During his introductory news conference in December, Hauck said he would be aggressive in recruiting locals who could help turn the program into a winner. By signing a school-record eight Southern Nevadans, he delivered on his promise.
"We put our money where our mouth is to a certain degree," Hauck said.
The local contingent includes two from state champion Bishop Gorman High, safety Taylor Spencer and defensive lineman Ian Bobak, and Green Valley High kicker Nolan Kohorst. Hauck said Kohorst would immediately compete for the place-kicking and punting job.
As for the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Spencer, Hauck instantly was impressed while watching him play for Gorman's basketball team. Spencer is known for his jumping ability.
"He may be the most gifted athlete in the state of Nevada," Hauck said. "I have a really high opinion of his athletic ability. ... I was holding my breath all day that someone like Oklahoma wasn't going to come in and steal him."
Hauck said one of the most important traits he looked for in recruits was size. Players like Cameron Jefferson, a 6-foot-7, 260-pound offensive lineman from Desert Oasis High, or defensive tackle Desmond Tautofi (6-foot-4, 275-pounds) of Calvary Chapel certainly pass the eye test.
Both, however, were lightly recruited in opening the door for UNLV to make a late play. For instance, other schools passed on Tautofi because he was ruled ineligible as a senior after moving to Las Vegas from Hawaii.
"One of the things we are into is guys who have frames they can build on," Hauck said. "This is a pretty well put together class."
The class also includes four from Texas, all of which fit into Hauck's theory of having a frame to build on.
Quarterback Taylor Barnhill of Northwest High in Justin, Texas, was limited during his career with multiple injuries to his wrist and only started 10 games — all losses for his team. But if he continues to progress, the sky will be the limit, Hauck said.
"He's a good looking athlete with a great frame on him and a great arm. He can make all of the throws," Hauck said.
Two of the other recruits from the Texas, running back Tim Cornett of North Shore High near Houston and defensive back Kenneth Penny of Lancaster, Texas, are two of the fastest players in state. Hauck said they could wind up racing each other in sprinting events at the state track meet.
"We didn't think Texas would be a real productive place for us to recruit," Hauck said. "Those four kids we got from Texas are a special bunch."
Hauck wasn't certain which players would make an immediate impact or who would redshirt. However, in talking about each player, he hinted that Penny has the tools to compete for a job.
"He has great catch-up speed and a good frame," Hauck said. "He's the type of kid who we are looking for."
Rivals.com ranks the class as the nation's 104th best, which is tied with Wyoming as the seventh best in the Mountain West Athletic Conference. Air Force is ninth at No. 108.
But Hauck said it wouldn't be fair to judge the recruits until they have a chance to prove themselves.
"The real grade is two years from now," he said.
As for Hauck's efforts in his first go-round recruiting for UNLV, several have had positives to say about the coach and his staff. Hauck is personable, energetic and on a mission to find the right pieces for his team.
It's been that way since his days at Colorado when he was the recruiting coordinator for Rick Neuheisel. Gregorak remembers when he was in high school and being recruited by Hauck.
"When he gets in that house and has a chance to talk with (a recruit's) mom, he has a good chance to get that kid," Gregorak said. "He is unbelievable in home visits. That is what wins kids and families over."