Former San Jose State offensive lineman, Fernando Carmona Jr. was a target for Chip Kelly and the UCLA Football program once he entered the transfer portal. After a visit to Westwood, he ultimately chose the Arkansas Razorbacks over the UCLA Bruins.
Carmona Jr. recently joined the “Gridiron Junkeez” podcast, hosted by his older brother George, to talk about ball and his transfer portal experience.
As documented by Best Of Arkansas Sports, the day that he officially entered the portal, Carmona shared that he received 25 phone calls from interested coaches.
“Nobody really prepared me for it,” Carmona said. “They were just like, ‘Just be ready for some phone calls.’ So, I was like all right, maybe I’ll get like five calls. (Coaches) would text me on Twitter (X), ‘Hey, what’s your number?’ I’d type in my number and not even like two seconds later I’d be getting a call.”
With all of these suitors, Carmona said that most of the conversations were the same spiel, and felt almost scripted.
“The whole week they’re just fluffing your nuts,” Carmona said. “It’s pretty cool, but to a certain extent you’re just like, ‘Come on, man.’ There’s only certain things I’m really here for. I’m here for the offensive line coach and how you guys are going to develop me. Some of that stuff gets lost because they’re trying to sell you on the school.”
How Does This Relate To Chip Kelly And UCLA Football?
He mentioned this about his visit to the UCLA campus.
“They did it at UCLA, but I didn’t really have a conversation with the head coach (Chip Kelly) until the last day. It was this set-up meeting where we talked from like 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.”
Carmona spoke about how Arkansas and head coach Sam Pittman made him feel like a part of the family right away, and like he was their number one priority while he was on his visit. Which is why he ultimately chose to transfer to become a Razorback.
This is not new information and is not an indictment on Chip Kelly. It has been known for a long time that he is not the most personal coach, and doesn’t put in an overhauled amount of effort in recruiting. Kelly has his strategies, and he has stayed true to himself and those tactics since he arrived in Westwood.
This interview does exemplify, however, that he could have landed a 6’5, 315-pound offensive tackle had he made the visit a bit more personable. UCLA as a University and campus sells itself, but it is going to take more than that, especially in this new era of NIL, to be consistent in recruiting and the portal.
Below is the full Gridiron Junkeez podcast with Fernando Carmona Jr.