When it comes to specialists, few teams out West have placed a bigger emphasis
on recruiting them then UCLA.
One of the first schools to ever offer a
full-ride out of high school to a long snapper, the Bruins ended up getting
Christian Yount, who snapped flawlessly for them for four years and is now in
On Friday, the Bruins picked up another one of the best prep longsnappers in
some time in Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty longsnapper Cole Mazza.
Mazza, the top-ranked snapper by Rubio Long Snapping, chose UCLA over offers
from Utah and Washington State, and committed to the Bruins prior to the
prestigious 10th Annual National Kicking and Snapping Spring Event in Las Vegas.
"It felt just right to me, the day I stepped on campus there," said Mazza. "It's
the place I want to spend the next few years."
Mazza was offered by UCLA in March, took an unofficial visit later in the
spring, and then took in the Bruins' Spring Game last Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
"I told Coach (Jim) Mora and Coach (Jeff) Ulbrich after the spring game
that I was committing, but I wanted to wait until I was here in Vegas with my
friends and family to announce it, so they kept it on the down low," said Mazza. "But
they were both really excited and jumping up and down."
UCLA special teams coach Jeff Ulbrich played a big role in Mazza's decision.
"Coach Ulbrich is great and I really like him and look forward to
playing for him," said Mazza. "When I told him, he said he was
excited and can't wait to have me down there."
And now Mazza can follow in the footsteps of Yount, one of his mentors and
role models at the position, as well as Rubio.
"I know that UCLA is a great school to be a long snapper for and that
was a big deal for me," said Mazza.
Mazza will enroll next summer, and expects to be snapping in the fall of
2013, with Kevin McDermott graduating after this season.
"All the pressure is off and I don't have to worry about everything with
recruiting and I can have some fun," said Mazza. "I'll be down
there next fall (2013) ready to snap."
And Mazza wants to help build the class of 2013 at UCLA.
"I want to try and help this recruiting class and get Coach Mora and the
program started, and get some good recruits in there and make it a great class,"
His snapping coach Chris Rubio, has been raving about Mazza since the
beginning of his sophomore year, having him as the top-ranked snapper in his
class since then.
"I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Mazza is beyond the real deal,"
said Rubio. "He snaps beyond hard and accurate. It is almost rare to even time him in a snap that hits the .7s. Almost all of his snaps are in the .6s and those that aren't are in the .5s. It is almost shocking."
Mazza becomes the seventh verbal to the Bruins in the class of 2013.