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Klemm already impacting UCLA football
Adrian Klemm was finally heading back home.
The Southern Methodist University assistant coach packed up his belongings in two days and left Texas for Los Angeles after a 30-second phone chat with new UCLA head coach Jim L. Mora.
"'Hey, this is Jim Mora,'" said Klemm, vividly recalling their conversation. "Would you be interested in coming back home?'"
Klemm was very interested.
"He asked, 'What do we need to do?' and I said 'Coach, just be fair to me and I'm there.' And that was our conversation. We never talked about the financial aspect until I got here."
Less than two months later, Mora and his new football staff — including Klemm as his run game coordinator/offensive line coach — reeled in Scout.com's No. 12 overall recruiting class. UCLA was now a national story but this time, it was for all the right reasons.
Klemm says that even though he and Mora had never met or talked to each other prior to that brief phone conversation, Klemm became Mora's first hire. While Klemm's official experience as an assistant coach at SMU was for only three years, what he did in that short time perfiod impressed Mora. Even more impressive was that four years ago, Klemm had never thought about a career in coaching despite growing up in a coaching family.
Klemm's father, Leo, was a basketall coach at Saint Monica Catholic High School, where Adrian attended.
Recruited as a linebacker out of high school in 1995, Adrian Klemm eventually became a four-year starter on the offensive line at Hawaii. Klemm was drafted in 2000 by the New England Patriots in the early second round and collected three Super Bowl rings. His final two years in the league were spent with the Green Bay Packers.
Klemm retired after the 2005 season and moved to Scottsdale, Ariz.
"I started getting into golf," he said." I got a pro to teach me, but the more lessons I took, the worse I got."
It was at that time in 2008 when June Jones, Klemm's former coach at Hawaii, gave him a call and asked him to come out to SMU and volunteer his time to help out with the Mustangs' offensive line. Since his golf game was suffering, Klemm agreed and soon realized how much he missed football.
"My dad's a coach, but I thought I would never be interested in it," he said "I'd been away from football for a long time and I missed it a little but … being around the kids, I really enjoyed it."
The following year, Klemm was officially hired as the offensive line coach. Within three years, Klemm added some more titles to his resume: recruiting coordinator and FOXSports/Scout.com's Conference USA Recruiter of the Year.
And then came the phone call from Jim Mora last December.
With his family close by, a nice place to call home by the water and a short commute to a school whose football team he loved while growing up, Klemm looks happy. He says he has always been a UCLA fan. But the last decade has been filled with disappointment — both of Mora's predecessors, Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel, couldn't get the program back on track.
"Coach Neuheisel did a good job by getting the right kind of kids here," Klemm says. "Obviously, this is one of the top schools academically in the country so you have to have a certain type of kid here. The kid that's mature, a kid that's focused on school and a number of times when you get that type of kid he's going to be a good kid."
So how do Klemm and secondary coach/defensive pass coordinator Demetrice Martin recruit so well when USC is just 15 miles to the east?
"We're all young," Klemm said. "It's all about relationships. If you're genuine and just be yourself and you're not trying to run game on kids they recognize that — so do parents."
Klemm recalls one visit with prospect Carl Hulick — the center was a solid commit to SMU but he eventually flipped to the Bruins. Klemm and Mora made a home visit with Hulick.
"His dad's a huge guy … he's probably 6-foot-4, about 300 pounds — and he was doing handstands in the living room, the dog's running around and everything," Klemm laughs. "Great dinner, great food, she [Carl's mother] makes the best spaghetti."
Besides forging genuine relationships, Klemm also attributes another important facet of recruiting to his success: social media.
"Some older coaches are resistant to it," said Klemm, who used social media to promote Bruins football in the weeks leading up to Signing Day. "Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … all those different things like that. That's what the kids are on. They're more willing to converse with you on there than on the phone. That's huge."
One of the biggest prospects UCLA landed was Ellis McCarthy, a five-star defensive tackle who was originally committed to Cal.
Demetrice Martin "did a phenomenal job coming in and recruiting [McCarthy], stealing him and getting him here," Klemm says. "It's important for us to get some major talent locally and some guys who carry a lot of weight name-wise and [with] name recognition because it opens some eyes."
Martin predicts McCarthy "will be a freshman phenom" and redshirting doesn't seem likely.
But Klemm says that McCarthy isn't the only one who will bring excitement back to UCLA football.
"In practices, there's going to be a lot more intensity and physicality, just more purpose and focus," Klemm said.
Get the latest college football recruiting news from Scout.com.
Spring practices are right around the corner the sense of urgency is high on the second floor of J.D. Morgan Center, the facility that houses UCLA's athletic staff and administration. Athletic staff members don't stroll through the halls on the second floor — they walk quickly. There's more energy, more purpose, more intensity.
At 34 years old, a head coaching job is inevitable for this assistant coach who has this recruiting thing down pat, and is finally back home.
But Klemm's not perfect.
"You win some, you lose some," he admits. "Hopefully I win more than I lose."
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