Football Commitments, 2002: 26

The football recruiting season has come to a close and UCLA's class ranks anywhere from #4 to #10 nationally. Here are profiles of the newest Bruins...

Football Commitments, 2002: 26**

**The two JC commitments do not count against the scholarship count for the incoming class of 2002 since they will enroll this year.

KEVIN HARBOUR, DE/DT, 6-4, 250, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. The first commitment of the recruiting year for the 2002 class, Harbour was a little bit of a mystery when he verbally committed last winter. But at the San Diego Nike Camp in April, Harbour was the consensus best DL at the camp. Athletic and quick, Harbour could project as a defensive end at UCLA, unless he puts on more bulk, where he would then be very athletic and quick for a defensive tackle. After that camp, Harbour will probably be listed among the top 10-15 DEs in the country and could move up if that athleticism translates into a good senior season. Harbour comes from a UCLA family and had always wanted to go to UCLA. So when UCLA offered him at UCLA Junior Day in February he quickly committed.

MARCEDES LEWIS, TE, 6-7, 230, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Lewis is rated by just about every college football recruiting guru in the country as the #1 tight end prospect in the nation. He's not only big at 6-7, but is extremely athletic and agile. He's still a little raw in his pass-catching skills, but with his long arms and quickness, he's potentially a very formidable target at tight end. He's already 230 pounds and muscular, but could easily put on more muscle and bulk. Lewis is also a very good basketball player and is among the best power forwards on the west coast in his class, using that quickness and athleticism to his advantage also on the basketball court. He plans on playing both sports in college and, if he can pull it off, will definitely be a potential contributor to the basketball team - but hopefully not until January every year after playing in a January bowl game. Lewis has had college coaches continue to call him to recruit him, but tells all of them to please respect his wish to not call him anymore, being firmly committed to UCLA.

ERIC MCNEAL, DB/WR, 6-2, 185, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Not nationally known, yet, McNeal has wowed coaches and scouts who have seen his tape. He's big, fast and a great hitter, everything you want in an elite safety. He also played quarterback last year, but will more than likely move to wide receiver next year on offense, the position where he actually has the most experience. As a safety, he earned 2nd-team All-State honors as a junior, totaling 65 tackles and seven interceptions. His father ran track at UCLA, and his mother also is a Bruin, so it was pretty much a foregone conclusion he would go to Westwood. He committed March 27th, and, at the time, said he also had interest in ASU and Texas A&M. He visited UCLA unofficially with his parents, went home thinking he wanted to take an official trip to other schools just for fun, but realized that UCLA was where he was going to go and decided not to waste the time of other schools.

J.J. HAIR, TE, 6-6, 235, Mission Viejo (Calif.) Capistrano Valley. Considered one of the best tight end prospects on the west coast, Hair is big, strong and has very good hands. He came to UCLA's one-day camp last year and UCLA has been showing him interest since. When he came to Junior Day in February, Hair knew pretty much that UCLA is where he wanted to go. By March, when Hair and his father decided to come to campus, Hair committed to Coach Toledo. His father said, "Basically, J.J has always liked UCLA. They were his first offer and made him feel very comfortable every time he went down there. We both agreed that if he knew where he wanted to go early, why waste any other colleges time." It's a bit of a coup getting Hair, since his older brother is Nate Hair, a shooting guard on USC's basketball team. Hair is the second tight end UCLA has taken so early in the recruiting season, along with Marcedes Lewis, and Mr. Hair said, "They're only taking two tight ends so with J.J and Marcedes, it looks like they don't have to worry about recruiting any more tight ends for awhile."

C.J. NIUSULU, DT, 6-2, 280, Barstow (Calif.) High. Fairly unknown previously, Niusulu blew up at the San Diego Nike Camp where he was considered the best defensive tackle at the camp. Since that camp he's been getting a great deal of attention from programs all over the country. But Niusulu said he was a long-time UCLA fan and that his dream was to go to Westwood. So, when the UCLA coaches offered Niusulu a scholarship on May 14th, he quickly accepted. "It's a dream come true," Niusulu said. A good student who is already qualified, Niusulu was being coveted by the likes of Cal, Washington, Oregon and USC since the Nike camp. Football recruiting gurus are indicating that he'll more than likely be ranked among the top 10 defensive tackles in the country.

XAVIER BURGESS, LB, 6-2 ½, 225, 4.6, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant. Burgess is considered one of the hottest recruits on the west coast, just getting discovered by many colleges coaches before committing to UCLA. He chose the Bruins over Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Cal and Illinois and called Coach Bob Toledo on June 26th to commit. "I really like the UCLA football tradition. It's a winning program, with good coaches. The academics are excellent. The UC system is great. I've been a UCLA fan for a long time. So I had to go with it." Burgess, right now, might not be one of the more hyped linebacker prospects on the west coast and it could be for a few reasons. Last season he was over an inch shorter and about 15 pounds lighter. Toledo told Burgess that, with his speed and size, he could see him playing any of the three linebacker positions. Burgess has maintains a 3.0 GPA and has scored 990 on his SAT.

THOMAS PATTON , DE, 6-3, 250, Oakland (Calif.) Tech. Patton is UCLA's 8th commitment, having given the Bruins a verbal on July 9th right after they officially offered a scholarship. Patton had a very good junior season, but then became a main recruiting target when he performed very well at the Nike Camp at Stanford and the UCLA one-day camp. As a junior, playing defensive tackle, he had 71 tackles and 7 sacks. Patton chose UCLA over Cal, Arizona State, Arizona, Washington and Oregon. When UCLA offered he said, "I've always liked UCLA a lot, ever since I was little," Patton said. "It's close to home so my parents can come and see me play and I like the football program a lot. Plus I'm going to be majoring in Electrical Engineering and UCLA has one of the best programs in the country, it was just a good fit all around." Patton is on line to qualify academically.

JOE GARCIA , DB, 6-0, 180, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. Garcia committed to UCLA in mid-July, making him the 9th commitment as of that date. After he turned in a great performance at the Nike Camp at San Diego State, where he clocked the fastest shuttle time among the Nike camps this spring and summer (3.82), many college programs started recruiting him. Garcia, though, and his family, are long-time Bruin fans. He said, "They have always been my dream school and the place I've wanted to play." He also clocked back-to-back 4.44s in the 40 and jumped 35 inches. All of the Pac-10 was on him, plus Michigan, Notre Dame and Colorado. It looked like Stanford might give the Bruins competition, but Garcia wanted to get it over with early. Last year he was named his team's defensive MVP. After such great performances in the spring and summer combines and passing leagues, the word is that he'll be ranked among the top ten corner prospects in the country. He also has a 3.87 GPA and a 1070 SAT score.

J.D. GROVES, FB, 6-2, 225, Keizer (Ore.) McNary. Groves visited UCLA unofficially the first week in August and verbally committed to the coaches while on campus. Groves is a great get, and probably one of the most under-rated players on the west coast. He is a stud of a linebacker, but the issue is whether he's actually a better fullback. Both positions are positions of need for UCLA so Groves is a perfect fit. He made a big first impression at the Oregon Nike Camp in spring when he ran a 4.63 40, 4.26 in the shuttle, 29 inches in the vertical jump and 17 reps on the bench. Groves said previously that his best time in the 40 was actually 4.48, and also a 11.27 in the 100 meters. It's pretty phenomenal that UCLA could get a commitment from a player who hails from a small school in Oregon, given how well the Oregon schools have done recently. But it's even more impressive that it's actually the second player UCLA has snagged from McNary High School. Current UCLA offensive lineman, Bryce Bohlander, is an alumnus and, in fact, Bohlander's father is the school's principal. Groves said a couple of months ago that the schools he was considering the most were UCLA, Oregon and Washington. He has a 3.4 GPA and has score an 1140 on his SAT.

KIRBY JOSEPH, LB, 6-2, 220, Lake Charles (Louisiana) Washington-Marion. Joseph vebally committed to UCLA in mid-August, after two years of making a concerted effort at earning a scholarship offer. Joseph actually came to UCLA's four-day camp in June, and he rode a bus for four days from Louisiana to do it. Why? Because Joseph said he liked UCLA and Southern California that much. On the football field, Joseph played defensive end for his high school team as a junior, where he collected 97 tackles and 11 quarterback sacks. He will play linebacker as a senior, and many schools besides UCLA had noticed him this spring and summer at various camps, where he showed a good body and quickness. At the Nike Camp he recorded a 4.7 40 and jumped 30 inches. LSU offered a scholarship, and Alabama, Mississippi State and Tulane were recruiting Joseph pretty seriously. He has a 3.25 GPA and scored a 19 on his SAT. It's generally a good get for the Bruins, since they don't get many out of the deep South very often, they need linebackers, and Joseph showed his determination in coming to UCLA's camp two years in a row, all the way on a bus from Louisiana.

MATT MOORE, QB, 6-4, 185, Newhall (Calif.) Hart. An all-CIF safety last year, Moore is the next in line at the quarterback factory at Hart, following in the footsteps of Hart All-CIF QBs David Neill, Kyle Boller and Kyle Matter. Moore, though, could have the best raw talent of all of them, having good size, nice athleticism and quickness, a cannon for an arm, and a great feel for the game. Last summer, he impressed scouts in passing leagues enough to anoint him as one of the potentially best quarterbacks in the country, without having really played the position. Moore's childhood favorite school is UCLA and had said early on it's where he wanted to go. But UCLA was slightly hesitant, having not seen him play in a game. Moore was starting to look elsewhere, such as ASU, Colorado and Oregon. Moore started his first game at quarterback September 7th, and didn't have a great showing, but showed enough athleticism, mobility and toughness for UCLA to invite him to practice on August 15th. Coach Toledo took Moore into his office and offered him, and Moore, despite having said recently he was going to wait to commit anywhere, committed on the spot. Moore said, "It's my dream school and I knew there was no reason for me to wait when this is the place I've always wanted to be."

IDRIS MOSS, ATH/DB/WR, 6-1, 165, 4.5, Rialto (Calif.) Eisenhower. Moss is considered one of the best all-around athletes on the west coast. At the Nike Camp last summer, Moss ran a 4.5 40, 4.2 shuttle, and had a 35-inch vertical. He plays quarterback for his high school team, and is a very dangerous runner, particularly shifty and quick. He projects as either a cornerback or wide receiver in college and Moss is up for playing either. His father went to UCLA, and his parents wanted him to go there but weren't pressuring him. He had said he wanted to take his trips, but then committed to UCLA October 3rd because he was afraid UCLA might give away its scholarships, given how well UCLA's season is going this year. "I just realized UCLA had everything I was looking for in a school and it's in my own backyard. They're strong academically, their football program is doing great and my family can go and watch all my games." The strongest contender for him was Washington, and possibly Arizona State. He also had Nebraska, Wisconsin and others pursuing him.

ROBERT CHAI, OL, 6-4, 275, Newport Beach (Calif.) Newport Harbor. Chai was somewhat of a sleeper, but really emerged at the beginning of his senior season as one of the best OL prospects on the west coast. Chai is strong, tough, plays hard, and is exceptionally quick. He also fits well into UCLA's offensive line plans since he projects as a guard on the next level. Greg Biggins of Pac-West Football said he's conservatively one of the top five OLs in the west, "is one of the most physically dominating lineman in the region, but it's his great feet and balance as well as his willingness to mix it up in the trenches that we love." Chai had been on UCLA's to-watch list, and when OL coach Mark Weber went out to see Chai play in early October, Weber then offered him. Chai attended the UCLA/Washington game Octobe 13th, and committed the next day. Other schools that had offered were Colorado, Cal and Washington State, and he was getting interest from LSU, USC, Washington, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Oregon. Chai said, "When I went to the game at the Rose Bowl that completely convinced me. The fans, the place was packed, and the Rose Bowl is a great place. I really like the area of UCLA's campus, the school, and the Rose Bowl. So, it wasn't hard." Chai maintains a 3.0 GPA and a scored an 1100 on his SAT.

DREW OLSON, QB, 6-3, 185, Piedmont (Calif.) High. With one quarterback committed in Newhall Hart's Matt Moore, there was one more scholarship earmarked for a quarterback, and Drew Olson stepped up and took it October 19th. Olson, who was one of the top five signal callers at the Student Sports Elite 11 camp, throws a nice, catchable ball and has a very quick release. His outgoing personality and leadership skills are probably his best attribute and he's the kind of player teammates will want to play hard for. He was a Student Sports Junior All-American a year ago, after throwing for 2,350 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing 61% of his passes. He's also a talented baseball player and just missed being selected for the Junior National team as a catcher. Olson's father went to UCLA Law School and Olson grew up a Bruin fan. "My dad went there and I've been a fan for a long time," he said. " I just wanted to go through the recruiting process a little bit but the more I thought about it, the more I realized UCLA was where I belonged and the timing was right now."

JEBIAUS BROWN, DB, 5-11, 180, Milpitas (Calif.) High. Brown is a fairly unknown prospect, playing in a league that doesn't throw much. He is, though, according to scouts, one of the fastest rising recruits in the west, with good size and speed (in the 4.4 range, reportedly). Brown, though, is a long-time UCLA fan. He also is friends with Milpitas graduate and current UCLA sophomore wide receiver, Tab Perry, all of which pushed him toward UCLA. UCLA coaches saw Brown during their Bay Area roadtrip when the team played Stanford October 27th, and liked what they saw. UCLA offered Brown a couple of days later and he committed immediately. Illinois and Arizona had also offered scholarships.

JUSTIN MEDLOCK , K, 6-0, 180, Fremont(Calif.) Mission San Jose. Medlock committed to UCLA on his official visit during the weekend of December 7th. He had UCLA leading pretty strongly for a while and had said earlier in the week preceeding his visit that he'd probably commit to UCLA – and that was right after an official visit to Oregon. Medlock was also considering North Carolina. Medlock plays on a team that won only one game this year, so he didn't get the opportunity to kick many field goals. He did make 4 of 6 attempts on the season, with a long of 48 yards (and he said the two attempts he missed were from beyond 50 yards). He also averaged over 43 yards a punt, while 90% of his kick-offs for the year weren't returned. He did point out that he is already kicking off the ground rather than a high school tee. Medlock said that he's fully qualified, with a 3.0 GPA and an 1120 on his SAT.

RYAN BOSCHETTI, DT, 6-4 ½, 275, San Mateo (Calif.) San Mateo JC. Boschetti is ranked the #2 JC player in the country by He committed to the Bruins over Arizona and Colorado State, among others, after tripping to UCLA on December 15th. He recorded 21 sacks over the last two years at San Mateo, where he also earned various All-American honors. He has three years to play two, which gives him flexibility in redshirting if he needs to. Originally fromm Belmont (Calif.) Carmont High, Boschetti has grown 2 and 1/2 inches since graduating high school and put on 60 pounds. He's considered very quick and athletic for a defensive tackle. He was fully qualified academically out of high school and maintains a 3.5 GPA at San Mateo. He'll enroll at UCLA for winter quarter and be ready for 2002 spring practice.

PATRICK PIERRE-LOUIS , LB, 6-1, 225, Glendale (Calif.) Glendale CC. Pierre-Louis is a sleeper in the JC ranks. He's reportedly very well built and is quick, probably projecting to the weakside backer position at UCLA. He took his official visit to Westwood December 15th, and verbally committed on the trip. He reportedly has three years to use his two years of eligibility. Originally from Florida, Pierre-Louis will enroll in either winter or spring quarter and be out for UCLA spring practice in 2002.

GLENN OHAERI , ATH/RB/DB, 5-9, 190, San Bernardino (Calif.) Aquinas. Ranked the #18 running back in the nation, Ohaeri is easily one of the best running backs in Southern California this season and one of the best all-around athletes in the region. He ran for 2,500+ yards on the year, while also putting up good stats playing safety for Aquinas. Built well, he's a tough, physical runner for his size, with good moves and great quickness. On defense, he's similar in style of play to UCLA's Ricky Manning, with an ability to lay a big hit on an opposing wide receiver or running back. Ohaeri officially visit UCLA December 7th, and verbally committed to UCLA December 21st, over Cal, Notre Dame, and others.

ELLIOT VALLEJO , OL, 6-6, 290, Salinas (Calif.) Palma. A big, good-looking recruit who was on UCLA's radar for quite a long time, Vallejo's favorite school had been UCLA since last summer when he attended UCLA's summer camp. Vallejo then had a great senior season, as a result making first-team Cal-Hi Sports All-State. Arizona offered him, he took an official visit to Tucson and committed to the Wildcats. But UCLA noticed how well he had played his senior season and he then officially visited Westwood the weekend of January 11th. Wanting to major in engineering and appreciating UCLA's excellent engineering department, and the fact that UCLA is where he wanted to be, Vallejo committed on his trip. UCLA has asked him if he could gray shirt – meaning to come in next January instead of in fall so that his scholarship does not count against the class limit. Vallejo has agreed, but still could come in next fall if UCLA doesn't fill its 25 available scholarships.

ALEX POTASI, OL, 6-6, 320, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne. A huge, physical prospect who's put together well, Potasi has been a recruiting target in this class for quite a while. He originally verbally committed to USC early, then de-committed. During the season he then attended many UCLA games, and UCLA vaulted into the lead for him. He committed to UCLA December 15th, over Cal and Washington. He's considered a prospect with good physical tools and needs a few years to develop, but he's another big, physical offensive line get.

MIKE NIXON, ATH/S 6-3, 200, Phoenix (Ariz.) Sunnyslope. Student Sports' Western High School Player of the Year and the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year, Nixon had a huge senior season and is now considered one of the best all-around players on the west coast and a Top 101 prospect nationally as ranked by TheInsiders. As a quarterback he threw for 2,636 yards, 34 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions as a On defense, he had 109 tackles and four interceptions. On 32 punts for the season he averaged 44.4 yards, and kicked a 52-yard field goal. He's also a talented baseball player who could be drafted in June and may play both sports in college. He was a long-time heavy UCLA lean and UCLA got on him hard once he started performing so well his senior season. He picked UCLA over Stanford, Washington, Notre Dame and Arizona State on January 16th.

ANTWUAN SMITH, WR, 5-11, 180, Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan. The #22-ranked wide receiver prospect in the country, Smith is a player that gets it done with great quickness, hands and toughness. Clocked at a 4.47 in the 40, Smith was a do-everything for his Buchanan team this year, spending the first half of the season as a running back and the second as a receiver, while also playing cornerback on defense. At the CaliFlorida Bowl practices, he was consistently the best receiver. He was a long-time UCLA lean, and it came down between UCLA and Oregon before he picked the Bruins January 18th.

WESLEY WALKER, LB, 6-3, 220, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. Walker was one of the hottest recruits during the season on the west coast, going from being fairly unknown to having the likes of UCLA, Florida, Oregon and Stanford pursuing him. He emerged as one of the best linebacker prospects on the west coast, and is considered to be one with probably the most potential. He has good size, and excellent speed for his size, and the capability of getting much bigger and stronger. He attended many UCLA games, UCLA being the place he wanted to go all along, and then when his recruitment picked up his senior year, UCLA also got seriously involved with him. By January, UCLA had him as one of their top remaining targets. He committed to UCLA January 20th. He's also a very good student.

JARRAD PAGE, DB, 6-0, 180, San Leandro (Calif.) High. Page is ranked the #16 cornerback in the nation by TheInsiders, but many scouts project him as a safety on the next level. He's made some top 100 national lists. He is good-sized, has a nose for the ball and excellent hitting ability. He was also a standout wide receiver for San Leandro last year. Page was a longtime UCLA lean, his older brother having gone to school in Westwood. Washington was thought to be UCLA's toughest competition, while he also strongly considered Oregon. He also visited Oregon State and Illinois officially. Not only is Page a very good get because of how good he is as a football player and his character, he also brings an added bonus: He's very good friends with San Leandro junior quarterback, Dennis Dixon, who is projected to be one of the best quarterback prospects on the west coast for next year.

JUSTIN LONDON, LB, 6-2, 225, Roanoke (Virg.) Northside. London is considered one of the best prospects on the eastern seaboard and the #31 best LB in the country by TheInsiders. He said his dream was to attend UCLA, with his aunt having been a Bruin, and he came out last April to San Diego to participate in the Nike Camp with the sole intent of getting UCLA to notice him. During the season, UCLA kept recruiting him and then offered him after London had grown an ich, put on some weight and had some great games as a senior. His father was an NFL player and had played at North Carolina State, and many thought NCState would be tough to beat, along with hometown local Virginia Tech. Tech had offered London after his sophomore season and is only 30 minutes from his house. It came down to UCLA, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Maryland. In his press conference January 31st, London entered the room wearing a Virginia Tech hat and an orange shirt. He then removed the hat and the shirt to reveal a UCLA shirt, and stunned the partisan Tech crowd by saying he was going to UCLA.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories