2011 Recruiting Reset: Defense

UCLA has eight commitments so far, but only one on defense, and with a limited number of scholarships available in the class of 2011 overall, UCLA will likely make its remaining rides defensive-heavy...

With the contact period six weeks in, the Bruin staff is working on putting together a class for 2011 that will consist of 14-20 recruits. After a fruitful spring evaluation period, they've already filled practically half of the class, getting eight commitments. The program did have three rides open up with the departures of three freshmen, but two of those spots were filled for this fall by JC prospects. So, overall, a UCLA football scholarship will be a scarce commodity between now and February's Signing Day.

UCLA has eight commitments, seven on the offensive side – four offensive linemen, one receiver, one tight end and, most importantly, one quarterback. More than likely, the 2011 class will be pretty balanced between offense and defense, so expect a good number of future commitments to be from the defensive side.

Here is a look at the prospects UCLA will likely be targeting for the 2011 class on the offensive side of the ball the rest of the way.

DEFENSIVE ENDS

UCLA will probably take up to two defensive ends in 2011. The defensive end class in general in the West is outstanding for 2011, and UCLA has already offered a few of the top pass-rushers in the region as well as a couple of more nationally. It seems, though, that the Bruins are generally on the outside looking in on many of them.

Greg Townsend, 6-4, 255, Beverly Hills (Calif.).  Despite playing just minutes from the UCLA campus, Townsend isn't as serious about the Bruins as he is other schools in the Pac-10, namely USC, Oregon and Washington.  Townsend is thought to be heavily favoring the Trojans.  He was one of UCLA's first 2011 prospects to get an offer, but it's been an uphill battle ever since. He did attend UCLA's game against Houston earlier this year, but the Bruins have rarely been amongst the favorites he's talked about. Offered.

Colt Lyerla, 6-5, 225, Hillsboro (Ore.).  The Bruins landed one of the top pass-rushers in the country a year ago from Oregon in Owa Odighizuwa.  But Lyerla will be much to tougher to get.  Lyerla has been considered one of the top prospects to ever come from Oregon, and easily in the last decade or so.  He can play tight end, outside linebacker or defensive end, and Scout.com projects him as an defensive end in college.  He has offers from all over the country, but he's a huge Oregon lean, so UCLA, and mostly everyone else, will have to work hard to pull Lyerla away from the Ducks.  Still, Lyerla told us earlier this month that UCLA is still somewhat in the mix. Offered. 

Brennan Scarlett, 6-4, 245, Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic.  Scarlett comes from the same school that produced Oregon legend Joey Harrington, so many feel like the Ducks will be a heavy factor in his recruitment, and that's true, as will Oregon State.  Scarlett has been open about looking all around, and he camped at USC and UCLA last summer, as well as at Washington.  He said he's focused on the in-state schools, the California Pac-10 schools, LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.  He'll likely take all of his official visits and could announce at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but the money here is on staying in-state.  Offered. 

Ray Drew, 6-5, 249, Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas County Central.  One of Georgia's top prospects, and a top 10 defensive end nationally, UCLA continues to find themselves mention whenever Drew talks about favorites.  He also told Scout earlier this month that he's planning on taking an official visit to UCLA, though it hasn't been set yet.  He also added UCLA is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest.  Offered.

Steve Dillon, 6-3, 250, Palmdale (Calif.).  Dillon earned an offer during the summer from the UCLA coaches after a strong showing at the 1-Day Camp and then showing off his athleticism at the Bruins' 7on7 tournament, where he played tight end.  USC has offered, though, and would have to be considered the prohibitive favorite for Dillon.  At the same time, even he admitted he has work to do in the classrom.  Offered.

Jadeveon Clowney, 6-5, 235, Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe. He's considered the #1 prospect in the country, and he lists UCLA, but the Bruins are an extreme longshot. Offered

Other Defensive Ends to watch:
Jarmauria Rasco, 6-4, 251, Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian- Offered
Devante Wilson, 6-3, 215, Corona (Calif.)
Sam Tai, 6-3, 230, Henderson (Nev.) Liberty
Reggie Coates, 6-2, 230, Encino (Calif.) Crespi

DEFENSIVE TACKLES (2)

UCLA signed three guys in 2010 projected to play defensive tackle, but can never have too many of them, so you can expect the Bruins to sign two more in 2011. .

Todd Barr, 6-3, 265, Lakewood (Calif.).  One of the best defensive linemen in the West, Barr has a handful of offers, and UCLA was one of the first schools that offered him.  Barr is high on the Bruins, along with Cal, Florida, Oregon and Washington, but Cal could be considered the leader for Barr.  The Scout 100 member is planning to take his time and take some official visits this fall, though he said he'd likely use his official visits on out-of-area schools, and he's already taken two, to Washington and Florida.  Offered.

Christian Heyward, 6-3.5, 266, San Diego (Calif.) Point Loma.  The most versatile lineman in San Diego County in the class of 2011, Heyward is a load up front, quick enough to be a defensive end, big and strong enough to play inside, and he's very similar in style of play to Cassius Marsh with his quickness off the ball and good length.  UCLA offered him very early in the process and the Bruins are doing very well with Heyward, but schools like Nebraska and Miami, who've had a good run of defensive tackles in recent years, are also very high on his list.  He's also gone somewhat underground since the summer, so it's uncertain where he's at in his recruitment.  Offered

Mickey Johnson, 6-1, 310, Covington (La.) St. Paul's.  Johnson had UCLA in his final two and the Bruins have made a big impression on the out-of-state elite prospect, who's in the Scout 300, but now he's opened his list and indicated there is no leader.  Johnson should also be good academically, despite a low-reported GPA.  He'd be a huge get for the Bruins, considering his list of suitors and where he's from.  Florida State, Nebraska Michigan, Tennessee and LSU are all heavily involved, but Johnson said that only Nebraska and UCLA are guaranteed official visits from him.  Offered.

Danny Shelton, 6-3, 286, Auburn (Wash.).  Shelton is a player we've seen a lot of the past few years, and he's a load in the trenches.  He can flat out move, especially well for his size, and he's a very good pass rusher up front.  He's also strong against the run and plays with a bigtime nasty streak.  Shelton has offers from all over the Pac-10, including UCLA, and he camped with the Bruins during the summer.  He was arguably the top performer at the UCLA Linemen Camp in June.  Washington is in a good place for him, being close to home.  Oregon and Cal are also doing well with him, as is USC, who just offered and had him in for an official visit over the weekend.  Shelton told us last week he would be visiting UCLA officially.  Offered.

Viliami Moala, 6-3, 330, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant.  California's top defensive tackle, Moala is coveted by schools from all over the country, from the Pac-10 down to LSU, Florida and Alabama, the last three national champions.  Moala has visited Arizona State and Washington and said he may just visit the SEC schools and take unofficial trips to the in-state Pac-10 programs.  UCLA is somewhat in the mix for him, but is probably running third in the state alone, behind Cal and USC.  Offered.

Darian Cooper, 6-1, 290, Hyatsville (Md.) DeMatha.  Cooper came out to UCLA on his own dime during the spring to check out the campus and take an unofficial visit.  While he's got a long list of schoiols after him, UCLA has consistently been in the mix for the Scout 300 tackle.  Cooper may still return to UCLA in the fall for an official visit, and he's said that he plans to take all five of his official visits, but of late, UCLA hasn't gotten the same attention from him as it did early on.  Offered.

Kevin McReynolds, 6-3, 285, Washington (D.C.) St. John's.  McReynolds took an unofficial visit to UCLA in August and indicated then that he plans to return to Westwood for an official visit.  Oregon and Arkansas are the other two schools he guaranteed visits to.  Oregon is considered by many to be the leader.  Offered.

Other Defensive Tackles to watch:
Todd Peat, 6-3, 300, Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol- Offered
Cody Temple, 6-3, 285, Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty.
Nathan Falo, 6-1, 305, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum
 

LINEBACKERS

UCLA signed four linebackers in the 2011 class, but lost one to off-the-field issues in Josh Shirley. They'll may look to sign two, after initially probably planning to sign only one, and their lone defensive commitment is from a linebacker in Wallace.  The problem is a real dearth of solid linebacker prospects in the West, and especially in the state.

Aaron Wallace, 6-3, 205, San Diego (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo. COMMITTED.  Wallace has some good bloodlines, with his father an All-American at Texas A&M and a longtime NFL player.  One of his college teammates was Todd Howard, now UCLA's defensive line coach.  Wallace was one of the top performers at UCLA's camp during the summer and landed an offer as a result. He then picked the Bruins on national television, giving UCLA their lone defensive verbal.  Offered

Jason Gibson, 6-2, 210, Gardena (Calif.) Serra.  Gibson is the top linebacker in California, and one of the highest rated in the nation, despite playing primarily as a defensive end.  He's likely going to be a hybrid type on defense, and UCLA said they envision using him similarly to Akeem Ayers.  UCLA has been in and out of his top five, but now appears to be under serious consideration, having received a visit unofficially from him late in the summer.  UCLA, USC, Oregon, Washington and Cal are who he's considering.  Offered

Tony Steward, 6-1, 215, St. Augustine (Fla.) Menendez.  Steward is the nation's premier middle linebacker and is coveted by the entire country.  But UCLA has gotten Steward to schedule an official visit for December, and he'll likely be coming the weekend the Bruins host USC.  A win there could pay huge dividends in numerous ways for the Bruins, especially in impressing Steward.  Offered

Other Linebackers to watch:
Shaquille Moseley, 6-3, 225, Fresno (Calif.) Edison
Woodson Greer, 6-2, 215, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Jalen Jefferson, 6-3, 225, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Lavonte Barnett, 6-2, 225, Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete
 

CORNERBACKS (1-2)

UCLA would like to add another cornerback to the mix, perhaps even two.  They're doing well with the top pure cover corner in the West and they're keeping a watch on several others.

Stefan McClure, 5-11, 175, Vista (Calif.).  The top defensive back in San Diego, McClure was a player who really impressed us last fall when we saw him.  He's a bigtime physical player for Vista, really good against the run, but even better in coverage. He's one of the better corners in the West in the class of 2011, and UCLA was his favorite school growing up.  McClure has a handful of offers, and UCLA is at the top for him, while he's also considering Washington, Miami, Oregon and Florida.  Offered. 

DeAnthony Thomas, 5-11, 175, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw.  The top prospect in the West, Thomas is a special talent.  He's committed to USC and every time he's been asked publicly how solid he is, he's reiterated his commitment to the Trojans is very solid. Still, many are speculating that he could still look around and he's planning to take some official visits.  While schools like Washington and Florida are often mentioned with him, the feeling is that he's not leaving Los Angeles for college.  Offered. 

Mercy Maston, 5-11, 185, Bakersfield (Calif.).  Maston showed up at UCLA's two camps during the summer and did a stellar job and landed himself an offer from the Bruins.  Maston is one of the top prospects from Central California and a player that UCLA thinks highly of, which is reciprocated with Maston having the Bruins atop his leaderboard.  Still, Maston plans to take some visits.  Offered

Fred Wilson, 5-10, 175, Bakersfield (Calif.) West.  Wilson impressed at UCLA's 7on7 tournament in June and found himself on the Bruins' watch list.  He also visited unofficially in August and was in town for the Fall scrimmage.  UCLA is still evaluating him, but an offer would probably land his commitment.

Other Cornerbacks to watch:
Thierry Nguema, 6-0, 175, Corona (Calif.) Santiago. 
Kris Olugbode, 5-10, 185, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep
 

SAFETIES (1)

UCLA has many young safeties on its roster and, with Dietrich Riley's signing in 2010, and emergence, UCLA is probably only looking to bring in one safety in the class of 2011. 

Wayne Lyons, 6-1, 190, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard.  Lyons is another stellar prospect from the Sunshine State, who's offer list spans the country.  Lyons had an outstanding visit to UCLA last month and the Bruins made huge strides in landing him.  They really sold the academic angle, and for good reason; Lyons is an excellent student who's very serious about his education.  The hard part for UCLA will be staying in it as he takes other official visits.  But the trip in September left a big impression.  Offered.

Marqise Lee, 6-1, 185, Gardena (Calif.) Serra.  Lee is California's top safety prospect and he's emerging as one of the West's premier playmakers.  UCLA officially offered him in September, and around the same time, USC offered him.  His best friend is George Farmer, who's a heavy USC lean, so the Trojans definitely have a huge in-road there, but Lee has been mentioning UCLA as a serious option.  Offered.

Other Safeties to watch:
T.K. Fleming, 6-3, 200, Benton (La.)- Offered
Desman Carter, 6-1, 195, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser
Aaron Almond, 5-11, 195, Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch
Jerry Haymon, 6-0, 185, Fresno (Calif.) Central
Taj Teague, 6-1, 205, Pomona (Calif.)
 


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