unlv football:

Athletic receiver leads list of weekend commitments

Rebels land verbal commitment from converted basketball player

A look at UNLV recruit Kurt Davis

Kurt Davis often surprises opponents on the football field with his speed.

At 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, the senior wide receiver from Centennial High in Compton, Calif., isn't expected to outrace defensive backs after making a catch.

But with a time of 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Davis' speed and size make him a dangerous weapon on the outside. It's a weapon UNLV will have for the next four years.

Davis, one of 13 out-of-town recruits taking his recruiting visit to UNLV this weekend, verbally committed to new coach Bobby Hauck during the trip.

"Big guys aren't supposed to run fast," he said. "I catch everyone off guard with my speed. They are shocked that I can run."

Davis caught 30 passes for 600 yards and seven touchdowns this past fall — impressive numbers considering this was his first year of football. Also a Division I basketball prospect, the forward originally committed to the San Jose State hoops team.

But Centennial coach Eric Scott talked him into trying football last spring. The rest is history.

"You won't be able to find a guy who is legitimately 6-5 like him that runs as fast as he does," Scott said. "He moves like a smaller guy. He covers a lot of ground."

Davis said also he had football offers from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico State and San Jose State. Commitments are non-binding and don't become official until national signing day Feb. 3.

"I am a football player now," he said. "I love the coaches at UNLV. They said they want me to come in and compete for a spot right away."

Davis isn't the only player the Rebels secured a commitment from.

Kenny Penny, a 6-0, 170-pound athlete from Lancaster High in Texas, also committed. Penny, who was part of the weekend trip, runs a 4.4 40-yard dash.

Recruits also said that running back Dionza Bradford of Phelan, Calif., committed Saturday night. Bradford, a three-star prospect by recruiting Web site Rivals.com, rushed for 1,347 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior.

Also part of the weekend trip was defensive lineman Quentin Jones of Northland High in Columbus, Ohio. Jones had previously committed to former coach Mike Sanford's staff and Hauck honored the offer.

Jones, who injured his right knee in the first quarter in his first game this past fall and had surgery Sept. 10, said he isn't certain if he will remain committed. He said Hauck wants him to gray-shirt — not enroll until January 2011 — and other schools have become more interested.

"I had a great time, but they don't want me to start until January," he said. "I'm thinking it over and talking to my coach."

He has offers from Miami-Ohio, Youngstown State and UTEP, where former UNLV defensive line coach Andre Patterson recently was hired as the defensive coordinator. Patterson initially recruited Jones to UNLV.

Some recruits who visited didn't commit.

Kahlil Keys, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound running back from Casa Grande High in Petaluma, Calif., said Sunday he was close to committing following the trip. He said he needed to talk the decision over with his parents early this week.

"The trip went real well. I like the new coaching staff. Everything was positive," Keys said.

Keys rushed for 1,246 yards and 16 touchdowns this fall. He also carries a 4.0 grade point average.

"He's just a warrior on the football field," Casa Grande coach Trent Herzog said. "He's an all-around back who can run, catch the ball and block. He's as tough as it gets. He's as good of a team captain as I've had in 15 years of coaching."

Keys has a trip scheduled to Yale next weekend, but said that doesn't mean he will be taking the visit.

"Coach Hauck is a real energetic guy who knows exactly what he wants out of the program," Keys said. "He sees the potential to have a tremendous amount of support from the city."

Two linemen from Ferris High in Spokane, Wash., both said they enjoyed their trip, but will visit Montana next weekend before deciding. Montana is where Hauck coached the last seven seasons, leading the Grizzlies to three appearances in the Football Championship Series title game

Kjelby Oiland, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive tackle, and Trevor Poole, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive tackle, helped Ferris reach Washington's large-school title game in the fall.

"We are tucked away and a little off the radar here," Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. "But coach Hauck started recruiting those boys to Montana when they were sophomores.

"They really enjoy Montana, but they love coach Hauck. It's going to depend on how the trips go."

Oiland said part of the trip included attending UNLV's basketball game Saturday against Utah. More than 16,000 fans packed the Thomas & Mack Center, and Hauck spoke at halftime.

That inspired Oiland.

"The environment at the basketball game was amazing," said Oiland, who admitted he was favoring UNLV. "I was really excited about seeing those fans. They want the football program to win right away."

Oiland, a two-star recruit by Rivals, is a three-year varsity performer. He also took second in the shot put at the state track and field meet as a junior.

"He's a big and strong kid who plays real aggressive," Sharkey said. "(His success in track) shows you the explosive power he has in his hands."

Poole, whose father played at Montana, will more than likely be a redshirt candidate wherever he signs, Sharkey said.

"Trevor has improved by leaps and bounds," the coach said. "He could be up to 300 pounds with a good redshirt year."

Last week, during Hauck's first weekend hosting recruits, five of the seven who visited gave verbal commitments.

The group includes: defensive back Taylor Spencer and defensive lineman Ian Bobak from state champion Bishop Gorman, all-Sunrise Region kicker Nolan Kohorst of Green Valley High and wide receiver/defensive back Eric Tuiloma of Desert Pines, the Northeast Division's Player of the Year in 2009. Also committing was defensive lineman Desmond Tautofi, who didn't play at 2A Calvary Chapel in the fall after his move from Hawaii.

A sixth player, Gorman running back Victor Belen, is waiting for a scholarship to be made available. Belen was expected to take a trip to Northern Arizona this past weekend and will travel to Samford University in Alabama next weekend. He also has an offer from San Diego.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].

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  1. Great job coach Hauck!!! Sad to see that you are better at recruiting strong basketball players than Lon "NIT" Kruger though.

    I am excited to see all these new players to play football for our school. I like Hauck's attitude!

  2. Sounds like Hauck is bringing recruits with him as well as many locals. Great start!

  3. well how about we get John Loyd and I'm happy. That kid could start from day 1. And I hope Hauck gives everybody a chance to start no matter if they started last year, what grade they are in, etc. If the kid is a freshman and can compete, don't redshirt him!!

  4. You realize that the new wide reciever who is 6'5" 205 would be the starting center for the Rebels basketball team lol.

  5. Kurt Davis & family are very excited to be apart of UNLV Rebels, kd is the nephew of UNLV Hall of Famer Robert Smith, Men's Basketball. We look forward to seeing our 6'6"/6'7" WR son run down the field in a UNLV uniform. Also back in April/May 2009 someone from the UNLV men's basketball staff came by Compton Centennial Gym to watch kd work out, word is he need's to work on he's jumper. Go REBELS!

  6. congrats to all the recent commits.

    p.s. Ray, you are getting roasted over on the UNLV boards this morning.....

  7. We need this guy to play basketball

  8. " ...word is he need's to work on he's jumper."

    He will fit right in with the rest of the basketball team!!

  9. Whoopee,, Seen it before... Nothing is for sure until they sign and then will get interested enough to see if this new coach is more than all talk...I gotta see some rebel football that will make teams nervous when played by the rebels...Im tired of the BS talk,, now lets have some action and see if this coach can get us 0n the map in football...

  10. They're not messing about when it comes to recruiting running backs.

  11. it all starts with the running game

  12. I'm excited about the recruiting success so far. You have to remember that these guys for the most part are not going to start as freshmen. So, it's been a noteworthy beginning. Give the coach and team a chance this season. Some support at the games would help the big picture.

  13. Asleepatawheel is right, athletes are allowed 5 official visits and could switch schools before signing day. Rivals has Bradford the running back as a "soft verbal" committment. He committed, decommitted, and re "soft" committed...also he wants to play with his H.S. buddy who has not yet committed to UNLV, this doesn't sound like a sure bet. Coach Hauck, may want to stick with the local talent that wants to stay and play for UNLV.

  14. Of course nothing is official until the player actually signs, but only a total pessimist would view Hauck's early returns as anything but positive. It's not like he's had a lot of time to recruit for UNLV.

  15. When at Washington, Hauck was known as one of the best recrutors in the country. However, remember what the great Al McGwire said, "the only good thing about a fresman is, next year he becomes a sophomore."