Scout Out West: UCLA Recruits

We take a look at some of the targets of UCLA we've seen in the past month, including Devin Lucien, Zach Banner, Jordan Simmons and more...

Scout Out West Report
Trent Sewell – Receiver – Bothell (Wa) - 2012
Scout's Take: Sewell wasn't used much in this game- the stiff winds and Bothell's reliance on the running game, made him more of a blocker.  But on the handful of passes to him Sewell showed his crisp route running, physicality and good hands.  He's tough to jam at the line of scrimmage, which Bellarmine Prep tried to do a couple of times, to no avail.  With a better passing game, and better elements, Sewell probably would have been more utilized.

Recruiting: Offers from Washington State and UCLA
Danny Shelton – Defensive Tackle - Auburn (Wa) - 2012
Scout's Take: We saw Shelton a couple of times this year, and he had a relatively disappointing senior season.  As a junior, he was all-motor and effort.  As a senior, he took a lot of plays off, and seemed to regress.  When the light is on, he can be a pretty stout defender, but at times, he seemed genuinely disinterested.  When he wants to, though, he's really effective.  It's all a matter of effort for him.

Recruiting: Offers from most of the Pac-10
Devin Lucien – Wide Receiver - Encino Crespi (Ca) - 2011
Scout's Take: Few receivers out West have upped their stock like Lucien, who's a bigtime talent.  There are some concerns with his speed- he doesn't get great separation, but at the same time, he doesn't get caught from behind much and has plenty of open-field ability.  In this game, he had an 80-yard slant taken to the house, only to be called back. So he followed it up with a 68-yarder later.  Lucien has great hands, tremendous route runner and is physical and tough to jam at the line of scrimmage.

Recruiting: Offers from Oregon State, Michigan, Arizona State, Kentucky and UCLA among others
Jordan Simmons – Offensive Line - Encino Crespi (Ca) - 2012
Scout's Take: Simmons will be one of the most heavily recruited interior offensive linemen in the West next year, and it's easy to see why.  He plays low, has great drive blocking skills, and excels in the running game, while also being a very good pass blocker.  As he brings a consistent effort, the sky is the limit with him.

Recruiting: Verbal offers from UCLA, USC, Idaho, New Mexico, San Diego State and Washington
DeAnthony Thomas– Running Back – Crenshaw (Ca) - 2011
Scout's Take: There is not a whole lot else to say about Thomas, that hasn't already been said about him.  He's the most electric player on the West Coast, and one of the best all-around football players in the country.  The reason why he's the top player in the West is because he really can do it all.  In this game, Crenshaw used him more as a decay- Locke was overmatched and Dorsey was up the next week, so no reason to give too much away.  But he made the plays on the defensive side of the ball.  He also took a quick punt to the house, going untouched, after initially being unsure whether to field it. He also had a couple of nice pops, defensively.

Recruiting: Committed to USC
Joseph Pullard – Athlete - Crenshaw (Ca) - 2011
Scout's Take: While not as big and strong as his older brother Hayes, now at USC, was, Joseph is more rangy and his future is in the secondary.  Pullard has good length and sees the field well, and does a good job in run support while being stout in pass coverage.  Still a little slight and could use to add some more weight.

Recruiting: Offer from San Jose State
Zach Banner– Athlete – Lakes (Wa) - 2012
Scout's Take: Banner's size stands out the minute he runs onto the field.  Forget college ready body, he's got an NFL ready body already.  But there are still some flaws in his game that he'll need to work on to get the body to catch up with the skill.  He's more a waist-bender than a knee-bender and tends to be a little stiff.  He can get beat on the snap, taking him a little while to get out of his stance.  But when he does engage his defender, it's over for them.  Once he gets his hands on a player, they're rendered moot.  He's still raw and needs to be more flexible and improve his footwork, but you can teach size, and Banner has a lot of that.  His upside is off the charts, and when the game comes to him, look out.  -Brandon Huffman

Banner has the size to fit in at an NFL combine today. While his body is ready to for the next level, his technique is not quite at the same level. Banner is a bit slow out of his stance and doesn't have the best lateral movement. I think much of it can be attributed to the fact that his athleticism is still catching up with his size. When he does get his hands on the opponent, he has no issue dispatching them with ease. Banner is an elite prospect that should continue to improve over his senior season and into college. When he does put it all together it will be a scary sight.- Jake Worthen

Recruiting: Over 20 verbal offers

Jack Neuheisel – Tight End - Loyola (Ca) - 2013
Scout's Take: Just a sophomore, Neuheisel, the son of UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, plays tight end for the Cubs, and is a very good blocker.  He lacks ideal size for a traditional tight end, and looks more like a fullback.  Ideally, he'd be a fullback/H-Back type in college.  He's physical and has good athleticism, just needs to add some size to be more of an ideal tight end in college.

Recruiting: Interest from a handful of schools, notably UCLA where his dad coaches
Kodi Whitfield– Athlete - Loyola (Ca) - 2012
Scout's Take: Whitfield is the son of former NFL standout Bob Whitfield, an all-pro offensive tackle.  The younger Whitfield doesn't have his father's size, and has made his mark as more of a receiver and a defensive back.  Whitfield has very good hands, but didn't get the ball thrown his way too much because the Loyola offense struggled with backups.  Where he impressed us most was on defense, playing safety.  He has a good ball skills, good instincts and reads the ball well.  He's a pretty physical player and on a pick-six, showed some impressive speed.

Recruiting: Interest from Stanford, Cal and UCLA among others
Brent Walker– Offensive Line – Norco (Ca) - 2011
Scout's Take: The first thing you notice about Walker is his nasty streak.  He's a quiet guy off the field, but on the field, he has a fiery streak that he plays with.  Walker is decent in pass protection, and could serve to improve there, as he's a little slow out of his stance.  Where he excels, though, is in the running game.  He does a good job with his drive blocking and gets to the second level quickly, with a full head of steam.  On a few runs, he was up field just behind the running back.  Still a little raw, but his upside is high.

Recruiting: Arizona States lead for Walker, who had been favoring UCLA
Scott Starr – Outside Linebacker - Norco (ca) - 2012
Scout's Take: Starr has ideal outside linebacker size, he could put his hand down if needed, and looks well-suited for a 3-4 defense.  Starr has tremendous strength and aggressiveness and is an exceptional tackler and pass-rusher.  Needs to become a little more flexible and fluid.

Recruiting: Top schools include UCLA, USC, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State
Joseph Ajeigbe - Running Back - Norco (CA) - 2013
Scout's Take: Ajeigbe isn't the biggest back, but he runs with a good deal of power, not unlike many other Norco backs, who use their power and leverage to churn out yards.  Ajeigbe said his favorite player is Maurice Jones-Drew and he runs similarly, with explosiveness when he needs to, but with the desire to lower his shoulder and take on a defender.

Recruiting: Interest from several schools, including UCLA and USC.
 
Brandon is in his sixth year with Scout.com, currently as the West Regional Manager. Prior to joining Scout, he spent three years as an o-line and tight ends coach in the high school ranks.
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