New UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck didn’t take long to make a positive impression on local high school talent.
At least five area seniors gave oral commitments to the Rebels on Sunday after making official recruiting visits: Bishop Gorman defensive back Taylor Spencer and defensive lineman Ian Bobak, Desert Pines defensive back Eric Tuiloma, Green Valley kicker/punter Nolan Kohorst and Calvary Chapel defensive end Desmond Tautofi.
The players confirmed their commitments. NCAA rules prohibit Hauck from commenting on recruits until signing day Feb. 3.
“I’m looking forward to making a name for UNLV,” said Spencer, who chose the Rebels over scholarship offers from Utah, Idaho and Northern Arizona. “I want to be part of this.”
Spencer and Tuiloma said Hauck and his staff recruited them as safeties, though they also were standout receivers. Tuiloma also had an offer from Northern Arizona.
“Pretty much everything impressed me,” Tuiloma said of his visit. “The players, the coaches were great.”
Kohorst, who made four field goals of 50 yards or more as a junior, picked the Rebels over offers from Air Force and Wyoming. He said he also could punt for UNLV.
Kohorst said Hauck’s visit to his home Jan. 4 left him impressed with the new direction of the program.
“I thought that was cool for the head coach to come and see me,” he said.
Keith Kohorst, Nolan’s father, said Hauck’s energy was a key in the decision.
"This was the place for him," Keith Kohorst said. "The coach was real energetic. You can just feel the energy."
Spencer, who intercepted seven passes as a senior, said Hauck reminded him of Gorman coach Tony Sanchez. The Gaels went 15-0 this season and won their second Class 4A state title in three years.
“The way (Hauck) presented himself, he kind of reminded me of coach Sanchez,” Spencer said. “He’s a good guy, but I know when I get on the field, I’m going to have to work. That’s what I need.”
Tuiloma added: "These coaches, they sound like they know what they want from players."
Bobak de-committed late Sunday from UNR, which he originally chose Dec. 17.
“Las Vegas is where I want to be,” he said. “This is my hometown.
“I felt a better relationship with the coaches at UNLV than UNR.”
Tautofi was ruled ineligible for his senior year after moving from Hawaii, but that didn’t stop the Rebels from pursuing him.
Tautofi said “almost all Pac-10 schools” were interested in him before missing his senior year.
“That dude is the nicest dude I’ve ever met,” Tautofi said of Hauck. “He likes the way I play; he likes the way I get after the quarterback.”
Gorman linebacker Evan Palelei and running back Victor Belen also visited UNLV over the weekend.
Belen, who has an offer from Northern Arizona, said he hopes to have an offer from UNLV “in 10 days or so.”
Palelei’s father, former UNLV and NFL offensive lineman Lonnie Palelei, said his son is still weighing his decision. Evan Palelei, who originally committed to Stanford in April, also has an offer from Colorado.