UCLA has eight commitments, five on the offensive side – three offensive linemen, one tight end and, most importantly, one quarterback. With three decommits on offense, and it's share of problems on offense, UCLA is trying to get involved with several offensive prospects to fill some holes.
There may be some more scholarships opening up, with early graduations from current players, two the potential departure of two defensive starters to the NFL. There is also the Sean Sheller situation and whether he'll get his sixth year of eligibility.
With Brett Hundley on campus in early January, he could be crucial to the two big visit weekends in mid-January (the 14th and 21st), in spending time with the other commits. After his official visit in December, several of the recruits visiting commented on his enthusiasm and desire to recruit others.
So 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.
UCLA needed a quarterback in the class of 2011. They brought Darius Bell on board, which helped with depth. But in terms of how UCLA's future depth chart at quarterback plays out a couple of years down the line the Bruins needed an impact quarterback recruit in the 2011 prep ranks. And UCLA got one in Hundley, who's a franchise type-quarterback. With Kevin Prince's chronic injury issues, and Richard Brehaut's inconsistency, more of a spotlight will be shined on Hundley, who graduates early and will be participating in spring football. There is an outside chance UCLA could still sign another quarterback in addition to Hundley, someone developmental who has upside and would have a chance to play a few years down the road, but that option likely won't be explored until Hundley is enrolled. The Jerry Neuheisel situation is an interesting one too- with his father Rick, under the gun, does Jerry, who has other offers, look for a different situation? That remains to be seen. And at this point it looks like Nick Crissman could get a medical retirement, and that could compel UCLA to possibly take on a developmental quarterback recruit for 2011 if there is one available.
Brett Hundley, 6-2, 205, Chandler (Ariz.). COMMITTED. The top quarterback in the West in the 2011 class, Hundley committed to the Bruins in September. Watching the Pistol offense, Hundley is an ideal fit for it, and with no quarterback currently in the program really looking spectacular, it wouldn't be a surprise if Hundley came in the spring and made a case for inclusion for consideration. Regardless, this is a big get for UCLA, not just from a talent standpoint, but from a depth standpoint. More notable, though, is the way other recruits and commits speak of Hundley- his high praise from his peers even prompted one recruit to label him the "Savior of UCLA football." UCLA has been here before, with a heralded freshman quarterback coming in for the spring, and it hasn't always worked out (see Losman, J.P.). Hundley is mentally tougher, though, than Losman ever was. And UCLA needs him to be ready sooner, rather than later. What also makes Hundley intriguing is that when the visitors come in January, he'll be able to show them around and be there each weekend. Offered.
Jerry Neuheisel, 6-1, 175, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Neuheisel's recruitment is obviously a big story. It appeared that he most likely would greyshirt and be counted as part of the 2012 class. But with his dad's job situation in flux beyond 2011, Neuheisel, who also has offers from UNLV and Idaho, could seek another opportunity and secure his future. Offered.
RUNNING BACKS (0-1)
With the haul that they pulled in last February, getting Malcolm Jones and Jordon James, running back isn't a priority for the UCLA staff in 2011 They've only offered a couple, and they'll take an elite one in this class if he wants to come, but it's not as pressing as the other positions. There also isn't a very big pool to select from.
Harvey Langi, 6-2, 215, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham. The top prospect in Utah this year is one of the best power backs in the country. Very similar to Malcolm Jones, but bigger, Langi runs with strength but is deceptively fast. He was the MVP of the Miami Nike Camp, in a pretty loaded field, and has dominated just about every camp he's attended. UCLA had him in for a visit, but it reportedly was just o.k. Utah will be tough to beat for Langi, and USC has made a big push of late, recruiting him to play a Stanley Havili-type role for the Trojans. Offered.
With Paul Richardson the lone receiver UCLA signed last February, the Bruin staff knew that receiver would be a priority in 2011. With Richardson's dismissal, it makes it even more imperative that they sign some receivers in this class, and some high-quality ones. The problem is most of the elite ones are committed elsewhere or favoring other schools, and then losing Brandin Cooks' commitment hurt. So they're going after several, both locally and nationally. Key here too is the firing of Reggie Moore as receivers coach. Moore was a poor recruiter and did a poor job of developing his receivers. A new, dynamic coach could make a difference with some of the recruits, but Neuheisel has yet to hire anyone. Expect him, though, to have someone in place before the big visit weekend.
Devin Lucien, 6-2, 195, Encino (Calif.) Crespi. One of the better receivers in the Southland, Lucien really shined during the offseason, at various camps, and then turned it up a notch with a huge senior year. He's a strong, physical receiver, who is deceptively fast and will not hesitate to go into traffic for a tough catch. The Bruins offered him in late October, and he's seriously interested in UCLA. He's visited Arizona State and Kentucky officially and plans to visit Colorado, Michigan and UCLA next month. Offered.
Devon Blackmon, 6-1, 180, Fontana (Calif.) Summit. One of the top offensive prospects from the Inland Empire, Blackmon was verbally offered by the UCLA coaches last summer and received his official offer from UCLA earlier this spring. As his tape has made the rounds, his recruitment has really taken off. UCLA was doing very well with him, but now seems to be back in the pack, with Oregon the clear favorite for him. Offered.
Tobias Singleton, 6-0, 185, Madison (Miss.) Central. Singleton has had UCLA in his top five for some time, and the four-star followed through on his plans to visit UCLA, having a very good trip when he came in early December. It was his first official trip, and he's got a slew of them set for January. It may be tough to get him out of the Magnolia State, but UCLA put their best foot forward with him. Offered.
Darius Jennings, 5-11, 175, Baltimore (Mary.) Gildan. One of the better two-way players in the country, Jennings play cornerback, but he will likely play slot receiver, and play it well in college. Most of his offers come from the ACC and the SEC. He's visited Ohio State and will visit UCLA in January after playing in the UnderArmour All-American Game. Offered.
Hakeem Flowers, 6-2, 180, Greenville (S.C.) Hampton. Flowers has a pretty admirable offer list, with several schools from SEC and ACC country. But he recently trimmed his list to five and it wasn't as full of schools from those region, like you'd expect. The Bruins made the final five, that also includes Michigan, Georgia Tech, LSU and Oregon. Michigan is the only school he's visited and he said he will visit UCLA in January. Offered.
Brandin Cooks, 5-11, 165, Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln. . The first commit for the Bruins in the class of 2011, Cooks decommitted in November for Oregon State. Cooks, who is similar in body type to Terrance Austin, but is faster and has better hands, may not be completely closed off in his recruitment. UCLA has visited him for an in-home since he switched. Offered.
Blair Holliday, 6-3, 195, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. Much like Lucien, Holliday parlayed a big senior season into an offer from UCLA. His receivers coach at Oaks is former UCLA receiver Mike Sherrard, who was a teammate of Neuheisel's in Westwood. Holliday made an early commitment to Duke, but with the offer from UCLA in, he said he will definitely think about it. He is a lifelong UCLA fan and stated a desire early on to stay close by home, so that could bode well for the Bruins down the line. Offered.
TIGHT ENDS/F-BACKS (1-2)
UCLA wanted to add at least one tight end to the mix, even though it won't be graduating anyone this year, so more than one isn't really necessary. What they need, more than anything, is consistency from this position, with Cory Harkey having the worst season of his career at UCLA and Morrell Presley struggling with consistency.
Raymond Nelson, 6-5, 215, Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian. COMMITTED. The younger brother of UCLA basketball player Reeves Nelson, the younger Nelson was an all-state defensive end in 2009 after helping lead Modesto Christian to the CIF State Small Schools title. He wants to play offense in college, though, and he's a nice, big rangy target. UCLA was a school he wanted to play at, especially with his brother there, and he was told to come to the UCLA camp. After Pomee, Nelson was the best performer there, and earned that offer. In late July, Nelson committed to the Bruins. He may need a year in the weight room before he contributes, but with UCLA's inconsistency at the position, he may get thrown into the fire early. Offered.
Junior Pomee, 6-3, 215, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde. Pomee is a stronger version of Morrell Presley. He's not as fast as Presley, but they're eerily similar players, both being TE/WR types, who are best with the ball in their hands. Pomee, in fact, might be a perfect fit for the F-back position in UCLA's Pistol offense. Pomee starred in Vegas at the 7on7 tournament, and impressed Neuheisel, who was there to watch his son, and ended up with a Bruin offer just a couple days later. Then Pomee came to the UCLA camp in June and was easily the top prospect there, on either side of the ball. Pomee said that UCLA has been his favorite school for years and he committed to the Bruins in July. But he quickly opened things up, specifically after visiting Florida for their Friday Night Lights. And recently, USC has offered so UCLA is having to compete with the Trojans and Gators, where his good friend, Ronald Powell, is a freshman. Florida may have played themselves out with Urban Meyer's retirement so USC is likely the team to beat here. Offered.
Other Tight Ends to watch:
Sam Meredith, 6-4, 250, La Mesa (Calif.) Helix.
OFFENSIVE LINE (5-6)
UCLA made the offensive line a priority, with as many as five commitments in the class of 2011 and then also adding JC Casey Griffiths this fall and his four-for-three eligibility. But two of the commits, Darryl Jackson and Marc Mustoe, opted two switch to Oregon State and Colorado respectively. UCLA will try to bring in two more more lineman, at minimum, but there aren't a lot of quality linemen available. Next year's class has a good number of linemen, but UCLA can't really afford to wait to stock up. What also hurts the Bruins is that two of its early targets, that it was doing very well with (Paulay Asiata and Brent Walker), UCLA had to back off of because of academics.
Torian White, 6-6, 275, Lakewood (Calif.). COMMITTED. White is an intriguing player- a guy with upside off the charts, but is still raw. He missed almost all of his junior year with a hernia, but come out this spring and summer and starred at numerous camps, earning MVP honors at two of them and then doing well at the UCLA camp in June, which garnered him an offer and committed on the spot. White has good length and great athleticism (his dad is an AAU basketball coach), and UCLA was his dream school growing up, so it's a nice match. Since then, USC, Arizona, Oregon State and TCU have offered him, so UCLA will have their hands full in keeping him, particularly with USC. He's visited Arizona already and plans to visit UCLA, USC and Oregon in January. White's best football is still ahead of him. Offered.
Ben Wysocki, 6-4, 275, Los Alamitos (Calif.). COMMITTED. Wysocki had his recruitment really take off in the spring, with several Pac-10 schools offering and heavily recruiting him. Wysocki got an offer from the Bruins after their first camp in early June, then committed to the Bruins a month later. While he played tackle for Los Al, he'll likely end up as a guard in college. Offered.
Jacob Brendel, 6-4, 285, Plano (Texas) West. COMMITTED. Brendel is one of the top centers nationally, ranked in the top ten by Scout.com, and is considered by some in the Lone Star State, to be one of the top five linemen in all of Texas. He committed to UCLA earlier in July and while he said he's committed, he is still open to other options. However, we've not heard anything of late that has him waffling on his commitment to the Bruins. Still, the coaching staff will be watching this one closely. Offered.
Cyrus Hobbi, 6-3, 285, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro. UCLA is definitely in the mix for Hobbi, who's good friend and Saguaro teammate Kody Innes is a freshman with the Bruins. Hobbi is part of a stellar lineman trio from Arizona, and schools all over are noticing as USC, Alabama, Notre Dame and Oklahoma are some of the national programs who've offered. Arizona State has the homefield advantage, and is likely the leader right now, but UCLA is trying to grab another top prospect from Arizona and will probably sic Innes and Hundley on him when he visits in January. Offered.
Donovan Smith, 6-7, 280, Owings Mills (Md.). Smith may be considered a longshot, with Penn State the proclaimed favorite by Smith, but they made a big effort, and major headway, when they hosted him in the early part of December. He and his twin sister, who's a basketball player, have talked about attending school at the same place. He will announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Offered
Stephan Nembot, 6-7, 250, Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair Prep. Nembot is originally from Cameroon, and is a very impressive physical specimen and athlete. One of the reasons he came to Southern California was because of UCLA's former basketball players from Cameroon, Alfred Aboya and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He attended UCLA's linemen's camp and then received a scholarship offer. He committed to Washington State, almost out of nowhere, but was at three UCLA games after he committed to the Cougars, so this one may not be done. Offered
Fou Fonoti, 6-5, 295, Cerritos (Calif.) College. A JC prospect that UCLA has recently offered, Fonoti would love to stay close to home and play near his family, but he's also favoring three schools outside of the area- Washington State, Arizona and Michigan State, and he'll also visit Rutgers next month. Fonoti is planning to visit UCLA the weekend of the 14th. He'll be a end-of-year graduate, so he won't sign until Signing Day and won't be eligible to enroll until the summer. Offered
Other Linemen to watch:
Brian Moran, 6-7, 305, Atherton (Calif.) Sacred Heart
Faitele Faafoi, 6-5, 300, Tustin (Calif.)
Kalvin Cusick, 6-3, 282, Provo (Utah) Timpview
Brian Farley, 6-7, 280, San Diego (Calif.) Patrick Henry