Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 | 2 a.m.
College football recruiting experts don't think too highly of UNLV's program at this time of year, but coach Bobby Hauck isn't listening to them.
Analysts aren't expecting much of the 16 players UNLV signed last week, with Rivals.com ranking Hauck's class as tied for 116th-best — or eighth-worst — among 125 Division I schools. UNLV has only two three-star recruits and none with four or five stars. Four recruits are so far under the radar that Rivals didn't issue them a grade.
But Hauck says he believes that what matters is how the players develop over the next four years, not how they are regarded in high school. For the past four signing classes, UNLV's prospects received similar reviews.
Yet Hauck led UNLV to seven victories and a bowl berth last fall with a group of players others school passed on. Tim Cornett had just two other scholarship offers and became UNLV's all-time leading rusher. Former walk-on Tim Hasson transformed into one of UNLV's best defenders. Defensive lineman Tyler Gaston, whose only other offer came from South Dakota State, led the team in sacks.
Hauck says he and his staff take pride in finding players in places where others won't look. UNLV's staff focuses less on a player's star rating and more on his character and willingness to work.
Only time will tell whether Hauck continues to win with low-rated recruits, but UNLV is betting on it. He just received a new contract, a green light from bosses to move forward with his strategies.