Is DL Eli Ankou Still Solid with Bruins?

Eli Aknou

Red Lion Christian Academy (Bear, Del.) defensive lineman and UCLA commit Eli Ankou was surprised to hear from Rich Neuheisel, himself, that he was fired as the Bruins' coach. So, where does that leave Ankou? And what did Neuheisel tell him? Ankou spoke to Scout.com about the developments, and whether he remains committed to UCLA.

Eli Ankou already got one bit of culture shock when he moved from Canada to Delaware to finish his prep career, and he received another jolt with a Monday phone call from UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel.

Ankou, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end from Red Lion Christian Academy (Bear, Del.), committed to UCLA in the summer, but learned through the call Neuheisel was fired by Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero.

"He called to tell me he lost his job as head coach, and wished me good luck with my football career," Ankou said. "He still encourages me to go to UCLA because it's a good school."

And Ankou plans on doing just that.

"Right now I'm still set on UCLA," Ankou said. "I took all the factors in (when committing), and UCLA is really a school I want to go to. I'm going to see how everything goes."

Ankou was planning an official visit to UCLA in January, and that is still the case.

However, Ankou knows patience will be a big thing as he waits for the Bruins to hire their next coach, and he may check out a few other schools just to get a backup plan if something crazy happens in Westwood.

"I might visit other campuses and see what kind of options other schools hold," Ankou said. "That's not to say I'm thinking of going somewhere else. I'm very strong (with UCLA). I just want to get a look at other schools. I may just tag along with other guys from Red Lion Christian when they go on visits."

The whirlwind few months not only gave Ankou a look at the difference in the education system between Canada and the United State, but also a marked raise in intensity and dedication to football.

At times, Ankou admits, it was difficult because of the talent level and dedication so many players have in the United States. However, it was something he adjusted to.

"I learned a lot about the run game," he said. "That definitely was a factor that helped me out a lot, and being able to (recognize) what type of run it would be.

"I'm satisfied with the way I played. It could have been better. I think any player would look for places to get even better at, but I'm pretty satisfied with the way I played this season."

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