Maybe UCLA will be the Pac-10 Conference school UNLV now goes to for football players.
Southern California had been that place — quarterbacks Jason Thomas and Rocky Hinds and cornerback Eric Wright transferred to UNLV — but first-year Rebels coach Bobby Hauck worked under UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel at Colorado and Washington.
So when linebacker Tani Maka failed to meet the Bruins’ admission standards, Neuheisel told the player about Hauck. Maka (6 feet 1 inch, 230 pounds) made the move and was part of UNLV’s opening practice Saturday at Rebel Park.
“He’s a good-looking guy, and he moves around well,” Hauck said. “How much he contributes is probably going to be determined by how fast he picks everything up.”
Maka, a Rivals.com three-star recruit when he signed with the Bruins last year, was rated the nation’s No. 71 linebacker. Scout.com rated him as a two-star prospect and the No. 57 middle linebacker.
He met NCAA standards this year but fell short of UCLA’s apparently more-stringent admission requirements. Maka said Hauck “could probably keep me in check” academically.
■ GOING LONG — Previous coach Mike Sanford went all the way to Baltimore to get Dunbar High School’s Courtney Bridget, a redshirt freshman competing at free safety.
Now Hauck has landed a player from that same school, walk-on wide receiver Mike Horsey (6-0, 170).
“That’s kind of a coup for us,” Hauck said.
■ OTHER PERSONNEL CHANGES – Sophomore defensive back Corbin Brown (6-1, 185), who attended Spring Valley High, transferred from Air Force. He must sit out this season because of NCAA transfer rules.
Defensive lineman Desmond Tautofi will grayshirt and enroll in January, opening a roster spot for Brett Boyko (6-7, 290), an offensive lineman from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Senior Anthony White (6-2, 215) of Palo Verde High moved from linebacker to fullback, and freshman Perry Cooper (6-3, 220) switched from linebacker to the defensive line.
■ WHAT’S NEXT — UNLV returns to Rebel Park at 8 a.m. today. The Rebels will be in shorts and without shoulder pads for the second day in a row. All practices are open to the public.