Ranking: #32 Defensive Tackle
It was an interesting recruitment. UCLA, really, hasn’t been recruiting English very long. In May, during the Evaluation Period, UCLA coaches covered quite a bit of ground in the state of Texas. Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm, having coached at SMU before coming to UCLA, has some deep connections to the state, and he stopped by DeSoto, to see a few prospects, including English. That initial bit of recruiting obviously sparked English’s interest. He had been verbally committed to Texas since he was a sophomore, but when Mack Brown was fired and Charlie Strong hired, English says he didn’t feel like Texas was the right fit and decommitted. Then, UCLA, because of Klemm, became a possibility. Klemm and UCLA Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure turned on their recruiting talents, and it had been clear through Twitter that English had high interest in UCLA. He unofficially visited a number of schools, and two of his finalists, Arkansas and Texas Tech, during the spring. Then, last week he visited UCLA and Arizona State. He has indicated he was really feeling UCLA even before the visit, but really felt comfortable at UCLA during the visit. He called his parents right after he left UCLA and told them at that time UCLA was the place for him.
DeSoto is a powerhouse program in the state of Texas, too, and it can never hurt to get a commitment from there, to get a foot in the door and potentially boost UCLA’s profile with the high school program and any recruitable prospects at the school going forward.
English is a stout, spark plug of a defensive lineman, at 5-11 and 310, with good strength and quickness. The most vitale aspect of playing nose tackle is a player’s ability to hold his ground, and English, with his low center of gravity and strength, fills that role well. He also brings very good foot speed and mobility, which is an added bonus, and makes him a threat to get into an opponent’s backfield. At this point, at perhaps north of 310 pounds, English could do some work on his body, replace some excess weight with some good weight. But he more than likely won’t be asked to play immediately as a true freshman, so he’ll have that first year to get into the program and make some strides in the weight room and training table.
In his junior season in 2013, English had 80 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, six sacks, and seven forced fumbles, with DeSoto playing in one of the toughest leagues in Texas, and perhaps the country.
In terms of rankings, English is discounted a bit, and gets only three stars, purely because of his height. At 5-11, there are some questions of whether he’ll have the size and ultimate strength to be effective at nose tackle at the elite, high-major level. We think how he has played in one of the most competitive high school leagues in the country, and the fact that he’s strong and able to hold 300+ pounds on his frame, makes him very viable to be a starter on the Pac-12 level within a couple of years and a contributor to the rotation by his redshirt freshman season.
Impact on the Program, Depth Chart and the 2015 Recruiting Class
In the 2015 season, when English would be a true freshman, Kenneth Clark will be a true junior and, we’d expect, one of the best nose tackles in the Pac-12. Ellis McCarthy will be a senior and, obviously, graduating. Kevin McReynolds, a back-up, will also be graduating. There is some concern that Clark could enter into the draft after his junior season, and then the only nose tackle type on the roster for the 2016 season is the incoming 2014 prospect Ainuu Taua, who would be a redshirt freshman or true sophomore. English is a very welcomed addition to the depth chart, then, ensuring that UCLA will, at the very least, have a two-deep at nose tackle in 2016 if Clark does go pro early.
|English on his unofficial visit to UCLA.|
After we just published a piece last week assessing UCLA’s recruiting so far, the commitment of English changes the entire perspective of defensive line recruiting. UCLA was looking to sign three to four defensive linemen for 2015, and it was uncertain just how well UCLA was doing in finding a nose-tackle type. As we’ve said, UCLA’s defensive line has become very sophisticated in the type of player it demands for different roles, and to find a guy who could actually pay the zero- or one-technique (either right over or to the immediate side of the center) was looking to be a difficult proposition.
Nose tackle, as we wrote last week, “could be the most uncertain for 2015,” and “It might be the only position that there isn’t an elite prospect that clearly has UCLA leading for his services. “ That literally was accurate last week.
It also isn’t a great year in terms of depth of talent for defensive tackles on the west coast.
Even though UCLA wasn’t seemingly targeting a nose-tackle type, we thought it should be a priority for 2015. We wrote: “We’re the worrisome type here at BRO, so we tend to think that the depth chart might deplete pretty quickly with just a couple developments – like Kenneth Clark going pro after his junior season and maybe incoming freshman Ainuu Taua not quite having the size to be an every-down starter at the spot (or a zero- or one-technique). Just for our own piece of mind here at BRO it’d be great if UCLA did bring in a potential starter-level nose tackle in 2015.”
A week later, the defensive line recruiting is completely changed with the commitment of English. Securing a nose tackle, now McClure and the rest of the staff can squarely focus on defensive ends and rush-end types. If Rick Wade, the defensive end from Santa Margarita (Calif.), does commit to UCLA by the end of the month, McClure would have two solid commitments going into fall and then the luxury of swinging for the fences to take up to two more commitments from the remaining elite four- and five-star prospects on the defensive line recruiting board.