UCLA’s Jim Mora: Recruits remember I was coach when Falcons last won a playoff game

Former Falcons coach Jim Mora is the new coach at UCLA and loves Georgia talent (Photo courtesy of UCLA)

Former Falcons coach Jim Mora is the new coach at UCLA and loves Georgia football talent (Photo courtesy of UCLA)

After Jim Mora was hired as UCLA’s coach a couple of months ago, he immediately began targeting some of the elite football prospects in his old stomping grounds of the Atlanta area.

As the coach the Atlanta Falcons from 2004-2006, Mora has instant face and name recognition with many of Georgia’s top talent.

“When we recruit kids around there, people remember me as the coach that led the Falcons to the NFC championship game, and the coach who coached Mike Vick,” Mora told the AJC. “So I think things like that are very helpful when recruiting in that area.”

“The bottom line is this: The last time the Falcons won a playoff game, I was the head coach. Kids remember that game, the 47-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams. A lot of kids around Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the Southeast follow the Falcons. They know that was the last time that the Falcons have won a playoff game.

“So kids are interested with that connection to the Falcons, and the parents are interested in that, too. They all wonder why the Falcons haven’t won a playoff game since, and I can’t answer that question. For all the success that the Falcons have had since we left, they still haven’t won a playoff game — and that resonates with people”

Last week, Mora signed 26 players for his first UCLA recruiting class, including two from Atlanta – Lassiter safety Kenny Orjioke and Peachtree Ridge WR Ahmaad Harris. The Bruins also have a commitment from one of the state’s top juniors, Lassiter QB Eddie Printz.

“I went to football games every Friday night for three years in Georgia,” Mora said. “I know the importance of high school football in Georgia, and how important it is to the kids and what it means to them. When I became UCLA’s coach, I was really excited about the fact that we were going to recruit in that state. It was a priority right off the bat. The priority was that need to get into the South, and we needed to get into Georgia … I wanted to tap into that, that passion for football that is so evident in the South. I think if we can come down there every year and recruit a couple of guys and have some success, it can be perpetual. We can get a little Georgia pipeline going to UCLA.”

Mora, who has mining the talent out of California as his No. 1 priority, gave many reasons why Georgia’s top juniors should consider UCLA.

“If they can find a way to disconnect for four years from the way they’ve grown up in the South and come out west, I think that’s a great learning experience for them. I think that’s great exposure for them. I think they can get a top education at UCLA. You know, you can always go back home. You can’t always leave home but you can always go back home.”

Note: Mora no longer has a house in Atlanta, but still has his charitable foundation in the area “Jim Mora Count of Me Family Foundation” which works with underprivileged youth and at-risk kids in Georgia and with the Special Olympics. “We’re still very active with that, and my wife will be leaving for Atlanta on Sunday for three days of events with the foundation,” Mora said.

RELATED: Grayson DE Robert Nkemdiche, ranked as nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2013, made an unofficial visit to UGA on Saturday with several teammates. “It went good,” Nkemdiche told the AJC.

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152 comments Add your comment

gadawgs

February 11th, 2012
8:50 pm

5150 UOAD

February 11th, 2012
9:00 pm

5150 UOAD

February 11th, 2012
9:01 pm

You MEAN UCLA recruits are too young and DUMB to know you are and were a Jack Wad loser?

5150 UOAD

February 11th, 2012
9:04 pm

Jim Mora was a Winner and went NUTZ. You have NEVER been a Winner and Recruits think you can get them to the NFL at better than .001% by playing for you? Hahahaha
Did you Learn a new Offense or something? Did you develop a Spine? Are you going to pull a Kiffin and get daddy to HELP you?

steve

February 11th, 2012
9:07 pm

5150, I don’t agree with you on much, but I’m with you all the way here. What a loser!

bitter dope smoking super ga_y bamma fans

February 11th, 2012
9:15 pm

robert nkdemdick————–is a lock for the dawgs—–checking out athens—-fine women

———————-shove that in your dope, trailer trash bammer nation

5150 UOAD

February 11th, 2012
9:16 pm

Steve it happens…. like How in the world did PITT leave ANISTON for JOLIE? sometimes crap happens. LOL.

You do know most of this stuff is for stress relief and fun right? It does get personal sometimes but it is mostly biting sarcastic fun.

UcantCLA

February 11th, 2012
9:31 pm

As on of the few, if only UCLA/Falcons fans reading I was initially disappointed w/ the hire, ofcouse SI said he had a top 10 recruiting class and has been making headlines with his moves. He’s not rebuilding UCLA, he’s building it. Neiwhisal had good recruiting classes too but lacked the ability to translate those talents into good college players. I saw everything good he did here, which was being a players coach and obviously leading the team to the NFC championship game. On the bad side he lacked control in the locker room and was a Rah-Rah coachem up coach. it took Bill Belacheck a second chance to be great, Pete Carroll turned U$C around, maybe he can do it at ucla. I’m willing give him a shot in Westwood, there is no where to go but up.
On the plus side we still beat Tenn and Kiffen a few years ago in their house and in Pasadena.

cattle dawg

February 11th, 2012
9:35 pm

I understood Pitt leaving jenn for Jolie in the short term. I bet that crazy chick will put one on you. BAck to Mora, he has and always will be a TWIT.

dawginit

February 11th, 2012
9:38 pm

Ole Jim comes off as bitter more than anything. You may get one or two left overs but you won’t get the studs.

5150 UOAD

February 11th, 2012
9:44 pm

cattle dawg crazy like a Santa Gertrudis Bull in spring with 50 female head of cattle?

Soapbox

February 11th, 2012
9:49 pm

Anybody who wears a badge of pride for a game that happened 7 years ago is a total tool. I only remember the last playoff game he was in where he got his behind handed to him. Has anybody asked Jim how he feels about the prospect of playing his “dream job” school every year?

WnE

February 11th, 2012
9:50 pm

CPJ is such a crappy, weak-A$$ recruiter that even guys like Jim (don’t call Jr.) Mora know that they need to target the Metro Atlanta Area and Ga., thanks to CPJ and his gimmicky offense other HCs know that Recruiting here in Ga. and the Metro Atlanta Area will be “easy pickings” as long as CPJ is the HC at GT.

James Franklin at Vandy has done the same thing as far as targeting Ga. and Metro Atlanta in order to elevate Vandy FB.

CPJ’s weakensses’s are obvious to everyone EXCEPT the boot-licking-toadies that refuse to question anything that CPJ does.

Other College HCs talk about the Metro Atlanta Area as if GT & CPJ don’t even exist, that should tell you how bad of a Recruiter that CPJ is.

ROZEMAN13

February 11th, 2012
9:57 pm

As much as i disliked Mora, sadly he was the last coach to win a playoff game for Atlanta. SADLY

BobDawg

February 11th, 2012
9:58 pm

Everyone wants a pipeline to GA… The borders are closing this year… ya’ll stay out and work your own turfs or lose a lot of money trying to flip ours…. Plus we get 6-7 early enrollees like Ramsey & Henry and it will be all over but the crying in the Southland.

5150 UOAD

February 11th, 2012
10:09 pm

WnE where are your seat in DODD? Do you want to meet some of the Tech bloggers before the games? We do get together at the bus and chat. We would love to have you bring you opinion and have it voiced to Tech supporters and boosters. If you have value bring it and stop hiding. Not threat of physical harm. Please don’t see it as that, but an OPEN DISCUSSION, Drinks, and some good food.

5150 UOAD

February 11th, 2012
10:11 pm

Rozeman13………..Mora won a playoff game? HAHA Like Richt made Heisman Trophy winners. TOO GD funny. Vick did what he does in spite of Mora. Ward and Weinke did what they did in spite of Richt.

Paul in NH

February 11th, 2012
10:15 pm

“I went to football games every Friday night for three years in Georgia,”

Which may be why he didn’t make the playoffs his last 2 years. Somehow, I don’t think Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and the like are going to HS football games on Friday nights. They are busy looking at film of the competition looking for every edge they can find.

5150 UOAD

February 11th, 2012
10:23 pm

Paul In NH….nice to see you. Don’t respond people might think you agree with me. I hope your we=inter went/is going well. The ATL just got a Cold Blast. I hope you were happy with Rivers 3pt shot in Deanland. I was not but damn what a Game the last 5 minutes.

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Dawg48

February 11th, 2012
10:27 pm

UCLA? don’t make me laugh. HA, HA, HA

ROZEMAN13

February 11th, 2012
10:27 pm

5150 Uoad……Didnt plan to go into details. Just meant to say its crazy that with all the Hoopla we havnt won a playoffgame since Mora! As far as your comment I agree, im no homer 5150

Blah

February 11th, 2012
11:24 pm

Unfortunately his head coach has been paid off as he is an Alabama Alum….Robert would leave a legacy at UGA…at Alabama, he will have to worry about “Grey Shirting”. Saban can coach but he does not care 1 oz about the kids he recruits.

Jim Mora Sr.

February 12th, 2012
12:08 am

spider

February 12th, 2012
12:19 am

forget UCLA come to SDSU, the weather is better in san diego.

PLAYOFFS !!! PLAYOFFS !!! Oh wrong Mora

February 12th, 2012
12:19 am

Hey Jim, keep living in the past. I was at that playoff game but my response is so what ! How about the 8-8 and 7-9 seasons after that you arrogant p-o-s ! And all the Vick stuff happened on your watch ! Then after Arthur cans you we got Puketrino and his shenanigans, Now we have a real coach and you can’t hold his jockstrap when it comes to coaching. Four straight winning seasons ! Go to some other state to try and steal recruits. You’re not welcome here !

FL Jacket

February 12th, 2012
12:26 am

Nkemdiche is gonna get a lot of his teammates D1 offers next year…

FL Jacket

February 12th, 2012
12:28 am

PLAYOFFS??? Why Is Jim Mora talking about PLAYOFFS??

WnE

February 12th, 2012
12:40 am

Sorry guys, eHarmony keeps matching me with dudes here lately, and I think it is getting to me. No disrespect to CPJ, he just annoys me…

NH gamecock

February 12th, 2012
12:46 am

Robert is going to Bama……

Dog in Nam

February 12th, 2012
1:22 am

no one but Robert knows where he is going, his hs coach played at bama, but is a stand up, fair guy who will only encourage Robert to go where he wants to go. the recriutment is only just beginninbg for real, and anyone who now says they know where Robert will end up is just trying to act like they know somrthing….which they obviously do not….best wishes to Robert for a successful future wherever that takes him.

Blackoutanyone?

February 12th, 2012
1:27 am

Bama lock. Nothing to see here.

go falcons 89

February 12th, 2012
2:04 am

HOTDOG!!! Jimmy you beat the freaking rams. Move over Lombardi, Shula, Landry and Walsh make way in the hall for Jim Mora

Najeh Davenpoop

February 12th, 2012
2:14 am

Jim Moron rode Vick’s coattails and he’ll fail just as badly at UCLA as he has everywhere else.

Fred

February 12th, 2012
2:48 am

Wow. Really? Jim Mora really thinks this? Somewhere a bunny is crying…………

Jedi Falcon

February 12th, 2012
4:06 am

Say what you want but Mora killed it come Playoff Time.

Stinger2

February 12th, 2012
5:18 am

WnE blames CPJ for allowing other schools to get top prospects from the Atlanta metro and State of Georgia areas. He did not mention that UGA has a far bigger stake in local recruiting. So using logic, one would think outside invasion is not so much a loss to GT than it is to UGA.

WnE

February 12th, 2012
5:50 am

re:
Stinger2
February 12th, 2012
5:18 am
WnE blames CPJ for allowing other schools to get top prospects from the Atlanta metro and State of Georgia areas. He did not mention that UGA has a far bigger stake in local recruiting. So using logic, one would think outside invasion is not so much a loss to GT than it is to UGA.
_______________________

Even with Bama’s success recruiting in Ga. for the Saban Era, CMR has still pulled in good Recruiting classes here in Ga., and he has also kept some big time Georgians at UGA.

But the same cannot be said for GT and CPJ, Tuitt, Vaughters, Tomlinson were all full Academic Qualifiers for GT and CPJ has whiffed on all 3 and many others that chose UGA: Garrison Smith, Mike Thornton, Ray Drew, Christian Conley, Justin Scott-Wesley, Sterling Bailey, were all offered by GT and were Academic qualifiers for GT.

In summary UGA has still kept Top-10 recruiting classes that has put them back on the map in a much tougher SEC, while CPJ and GT have gotten CRAP from the State of Ga. recruiting-wise and that has caused GT to drop back to a Gailey-esque 14-12 over the last 2 seasons vs. the 69th & 76th toughest schedules in all of CFB.

The loss of Metro Atlanta Area & Ga. HS recruits by CPJ will be devastating to GT FB over the next 2 years, while UGA is primed to win at least 10-games per season IF they don’t compete for SEC Titles or MNCs during that time frame.

UGA is loaded with playmakers & difference makers while CPJ has GT loaded with “projects”, under-the-radar-guys, and nobodies, and has the GT fanbase PRAYING for a miracle that some of these guys will magically develop in to legit BCS Caliber players.

CPJ has damaged GT in-state MUCH MORE than CMR could ever do damage to UGA wrt in-State Recruiting.

For crying out load we’re bringing in DLs from AUSTRALIA, and LBs from Alabama that DID NOT get offered by either Bama OR Auburn, you really think that CPJ has a better EYE for talent than both SABAN & CHIZIK, the last 2 HCs to win MNCs?

At some point GT fans need to open their eyes and see CPJ for what he really is.

Fiddlin John Carson

February 12th, 2012
6:33 am

I was good with Mora’s comment until he added the “I don’t know why they haven’t won one since” dig.

What has Mora done since that playoff win as an NFL head….cough cough position coach? Well…he spelled Seattle until Ole Pete could be lured in. Not an exactly a position to be casting aspersions. His Lithium dose needs adjustment again.

Oh and good luck at UCLA Jim….I bet you can work your way from head to db coach in less than two years if you try hard….snicker.

Terrible Truth

February 12th, 2012
6:36 am

He’ll be gone in three years or if it’s he and not Kiffin who gets caught cheating first.

Jenkins

February 12th, 2012
7:08 am

This guy got lucky to ever be a NFL head coach. He couldn’t wear Dan Reeves or Mike Smith’s jock strap. What a jerk and a lousy football coach. So glad he’s gone from the Falcons!

Dap01

February 12th, 2012
7:15 am

How can any recruit be so naive as to believe anything Saban says? Apparently don’t matter as long as the individual is rewarded.

wild one 13

February 12th, 2012
7:18 am

These young men may take a visit out to the west coast but, they will not sign with UCLA on a regular basis. It’s just a chance to take a long plane ride and visit a place they have never been and who could blame them. When the time comes for that binding letter of intent, they will want to play in the SEC where the home of the last six national titles resides.

wild one 13

February 12th, 2012
7:24 am

I will tell you why recruits beleve Coach Saban. It’s as simple as this, when he shakes their hand all they see is those three big ole national championship rings on his fingers. So when he speaks about tradition, winning, and future paydays in the NFL they listen and they belive.

GFJacket

February 12th, 2012
7:42 am

WnE, when was the last time Tech had a recruiting class better than UGA’s? Until Tech gets some Turfgrass Management degrees, Tech will never be able to attract the academically challenged blue chip athletes. Even the bright blue chippers are limited in what they can study – - it’s all technology based. Even the relatively recent International Affairs (like the “easy” Management) degree requires a year of calculus.
Perhaps that is by design. UGA has no in state competition for the best athletes….

TennesseeDawg

February 12th, 2012
7:50 am

Zing! Nice one by Mora.

Buddly Landell

February 12th, 2012
7:52 am

If you think WnE is a GT grad/supporter, look in next month’s Playboy for the Rosie O’Donnell centerfold. Wne or Rick James or CHOPBLOCK U (whatever he’s calling himself at the moment) has a Cialis Smilin’ Bob type stiffness for CMR. Take what he says with a grain of salt or a UGA diploma.

Beast from the East

February 12th, 2012
8:14 am

Yeah, I’m sure many 16-17 year old kids have your playoff win from the days they were in elementary school carved into their memory like stone. Mora, you are a tool. Have fun being the little sister on the left coast.

KZGuy

February 12th, 2012
8:21 am

Hey coach. Do you really think recruits will forget your lack of success in Seattle? Didn’t you get fired in your second year?

Paddy

February 12th, 2012
8:25 am

PLEASE………kids could care less that Mora won a playoff game with the Falcons! Give me a break.