Mora’s top recruiters show coaching worth

In the world of recruiting, it’s called “flipping.” It’s when a recruit switches or flips his commitment from one school to another.

With the addition of Adrian Klemm and Demetrice Martin to the coaching staff, there was quite a bit of flipping to help new UCLA head coach Jim Mora assemble his first recruiting class.

Ellis McCarthy? You can thank Martin for that.

Jordan Payton? That honor goes to Klemm.

The Bruins assistants were two of the first three hires for Mora.

They each entered the Bruins program with a reputation for being top-notch recruiters.

Lost in their recruiting works is the fact that they can coach.

“They’ve been recognized as recruiters but they’re both very, very good coaches,” Mora said.

Martin and Mora developed a relationship after Martin was hired at Washington.  At the time, Mora was the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks and Martin spent time with the Seahawks’ secondary coaches as well as with Mora.  

Living in the Pacific Northwest, Mora, after his stint with the Seahawks, spent a lot of time around the Husky program and had the opportunity to watch Martin in action.

“Listening to his coaching points and the way he deals with players and the points of emphasis he makes, I knew that he was a good coach coming in.”  Mora said.

On the practice field, he’s fiery, he challenges players and stresses competition. For Martin, it’s the same demeanor he had as a player.

“It’s the only way I know how to coach and play the position that I love so much,” Martin said. “If you’re not out there competing and giving (your all) every day and getting after it, then it’s probably not a good day.”

Cornerback Sheldon Price has arguably benefitted from Martin’s presence the most this spring.  He loves Martin’s demeanor.  

“He’s one of us almost.  He’s one of the kids.  He’s a party, high energy guy.  Along with that, he wants the best out of us,” Price said.  “He’s really pushing us hard.  He wants us to be the best defensive backfield in the country.”

Klemm tells a different story.  He and Mora didn’t have a relationship.  He received an email one morning at 4 a.m. in Dallas saying there was some interest.

He jumped at the chance.  

“I gave (Mora) a call a couple of hours later,” Klemm said.  “We didn’t talk any numbers or anything.  I said ‘Coach just be fair and I’m there.’ It was a no-brainer for me.”   

For Mora, there was no denying Klemm’s credentials.  

“(He) has three Super Bowl rings,” Mora said.  “He’s got skins on the wall that are hard to dispute.  He knows little things, little techniques, little tricks of the trade that he can transfer to his players to help them to become better and I like that about him.”

After already making a dent on the recruiting trail, Klemm and Martin are fully submerged in their first spring practices as members of Mora’s staff.  It’s their coaching now that takes center stage.  

“You don’t want to be known as just a recruiter because you work hard at your craft.” Klemm.

Because of the name they’ve built for themselves on the recruiting trail, it’s the coaching aspect of their jobs that sometimes gets overlooked. 

“I do (think it gets overlooked),” Martin said. “People always tab into the numbers — and I know that’s what you have to go by — but I always say if your players feel like they’re getting better under you then I think you’re doing a service to them.”
Klemm says the coaching and recruiting are intertwined.  

“It goes hand in hand,” Klemm said.  “I want to be the best recruiter that I can be but I want to be the best coach as well.

“It’s funny.  Everybody talks about all these great coaches and everything but one of the things that they have in common is that they always have great players.”