Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006 | Karl Dorrell expects to hear the question the rest of his days coaching football at UCLA.
Why didn’t he successfully recruit Reggie Bush over USC? After all, Bush and Dorrell are fellow San Diegans from La Mesa’s Helix High.
“I’ll deal with that question the rest of my career,” said Dorrell with a smile and nod of resignation. “We did get burned by him the last three years.”
But no more – Bush is now a rookie with the New Orleans Saints. And Dorrell, armed with a new five-year contract while entering his fourth season as the head coach at his alma mater, is now in position to challenge USC for football supremacy in Los Angeles as well as the Pac-10.
When Dorrell was hired by the Bruins on Dec. 18, 2002, it was during an NCAA recruiting dead period, meaning no contact with athletes. It was too late in the recruiting game for him to charm Bush. The future Heisman Trophy winner – who put together highlight films against UCLA – had a stepfather urging him to pick USC (Reggie’s initial instinct was to play for Rick Neuheisel at Washington).
USC’s success with Bush continued a trend of the best USC and UCLA teams usually featuring key players from San Diego. When Marcus Allen (Lincoln), Junior Seau (Oceanside) and Reggie Bush played at USC, the Trojans dominated.