GLENDALE — Looking to move on from a tough 2010 season, the rebuilding UNLV Rebels added a potential cornerstone on Wednesday.
Patrick Carroll added his name to UNLV's expanding foundation for the future, as the St. Francis High senior standout offensive lineman made his verbal commitment to the Rebels, with whom he plans to formally sign his letter of intent on Wednesday, National Signing Day.
"It feels great, UNLV is a great program," said Carroll, who was voted the Mission League Most Valuable Lineman and a unanimous All-CIF Southern Section Western Division first-team pick this season. "They didn't have a great season this year, but with the new coaching staff, there's going to be a change there. They're going to be great program and I want to jump on the bandwagon."
UNLV went 2-11 and 2-6 in the Mountain West Conference last season, its first under Coach Bobby Hauk, who is the winningest coach in the history of the Big Sky Conference. Hauk's winning ways over the last seven seasons with his alma mater Montana — which he guided to an 80-17 record and three national championship games in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision — didn't carry over immediately to UNLV, which played a schedule that the Sagarin Ratings Index ranked 19th in the nation in difficulty.
"They know how to win and more importantly than that, they're great people and I wanted to make sure Patrick is around great people," said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds, who knows Hauk from his days as a UCLA graduate assistant when Bonds played for the Bruins. "I'm thrilled for Patrick. He's such a deserving kid to get a chance to play big time football and playing in the Mountain West Conference, it is big time football."
In addition to Carroll, who said he may grayshirt as a freshman, the Rebels have also gotten verbal commitments from several well-regarded prospects, including running back Elijhaa Penny, cornerback Kenneth Spigner and offensive lineman Andrew Oberg.
"The people that I've been with on [recruiting] visits, they committed, as well, and they're great football players who have played in great programs," said Carroll, who visited the campus in early January and also considered Idaho, Oregon State and San Diego State. "I really like the coaching staff over there. Coach Hauk really got me to believe that they're going to be something. I like the idea of playing in the Mountain West. It's a great conference and there's some really strong teams in there."