Devin Lucien happy with UCLA's direction

There never was a question regarding Devin Lucien's readiness as a true freshman. Those who saw him during fall camp gushed about the potential and raw ability.

But with three seniors and two juniors making up the receiving corps, there was no need to rush the process. Lucien understands that, though he wasn't necessarily thrilled with the decision.

"I hated redshirting," Lucien said. "I hated it with a passion, especially when traveling with the team because you do everything but you don't play."

After Rick Neuheisel was fired, Lucien said he'd reassess his options based on which coach UCLA hired, according to the Orange County Register. Making Lucien's decision easier was coach Jim Mora's hiring of Arizona State receivers coach Steve Broussard, who nearly lured Lucien to Tempe out of high school.

"I'm really excited with the new coaching staff," Lucien said. "I've been able to talk to coach Mora one time and I'm just really excited for next year. I'm hungry as can be and I'm ready to go."

Other news and notes from Saturday’s practice, as the Bruins continued to prepare for the Dec. 31 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Illinois:

-- A flock of local recruits unofficially visited campus and met Mora for the first time, attending the latter half of Saturday's practice. The bunch included highly touted defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia), defensive backs Brandon Beaver (Dominguez) and Kevon Seymour (Muir), lineman Jeremy Castro (Vista Murrieta) and offensive linemen Kyle Long (Saddleback College) and Colby Cyburt (Mission Viejo). Linebacker Aaron Porter (La Habra) and lineman Lacy Westbrook, among a group of those already committed to UCLA, also attended.

-- Quarterback Kevin Prince returned to practice after missing Friday's session with a sore knee. "I thought he looked good," interim coach Mike Johnson said. "He came out with good energy and I thought he made the right checks and got the ball out of his hand. I thought the day off was good for him."

-- Johnson, a candidate for the head coaching position at Akron, had no update on his job status, but said he anticipates to make a decision early next week. "There's a couple of things out there that I'm looking at," Johnson added. "Probably sometime next week I'll know."

-- It just keeps getting worse for safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion), who has been out of practice since the middle of November. Mascarenas suffered two cuts above his left eye when Randall Carroll ran into him during an interception return, needing a towel to wipe off the blood. He was taken into the trainer's room.

-- Interim quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo, who will serve as the tight ends coach on Mora's staff, combined both groups for a quick-pass drill early in practice.

-- Safety Dalton Hilliard once again practiced in a red no-contact jersey.