Recruiting Class Analysis: Part 2

Now that we've gone through all the rankings and hype of Signing Day, here's what's really important -- an objective look at how the 2011 UCLA Recruiting Class will impact UCLA's projected depth chart, and the realistic chances of the recruits contributing, and when. Part Two.

Will Oliver, OL, 6-8, 295 Brentwood (Calif.) Heritage. This was a name that came completely out of the dark the last week before Signing Day and, we have to admit, we've never seen him play or at a combine. We'll only go on logic and reason, and say that Oliver is probably a longshot to develop into a contributor at UCLA. We don't think we're breaking any news here in saying that. Oliver himself has to realize that he's a complete project. While there have been times that a high school prospect is missed by high-major programs and goes on to be a star in college and even the NFL, it's not that common. It's also particularly more common in cases where a guy was 6-1 and 240 pounds in high school and then grew to 6-5 and 300 later on. But most of the time a kid who is 6-8 and 295 doesn't get overlooked by college coaches. You'd have to surmise that there was a reason a kid his size was commited to Sacramento State before changing his commitment to UCLA. Perhaps this is an instance where a kid with NFL size did, indeed, fly under the radar. But again, going on logic and reason, it's a longshot. This, of course, should make every UCLA fan root harder for Oliver, since he'd be a great story if he did actually develop into a significant contributor.

Mike Orloff, LB, 6-2, 215, Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy. Another late addition to UCLA's class, with the Bruins stealing Orloff away from Iowa, where he was verbally committed to before taking an official visit to UCLA in late January. We, again, have not seen him in person so we don't have a great amount to go on. On one hand, we've heard he has a chance to be a sleeper, that physically he's very well put-together, but still has the frame to put on more muscle. That's a good sign for a sleeper eventually developing. On the other hand, we've heard from a source on the east coast that he's an all-aiport kind of guy, and made a living off of weak high school competition. In logically considering it all, we have to say that Orloff might have the best upside of the group of unknowns UCLA added late to its list of signees (along with possibly McDermott) because he physically has room to continue to develop, and a Big Ten school, one that's been pretty successful of late, thought enough of him to take a commitment from him.

Sam Tai, DE, 6-4, 235, Henderson (Nev.) Liberty. Tai came to UCLA's camp last summer and, at the time, wasn't quite good enough to offer a scholarship. He had a good motor, but looked to be about 6-2 and 220 at the time. Reportedly, he's grown some, and is now close to 6-4 and has developed physically. He had a good senior year, and started quite a bit more recruiting attention. UCLA is pretty loaded at defensive end, especially with young defensive ends, so it knew it would be hard to get a truly elite national guy at the position. Tai, with the improvement and promise he showed during his high school season, and his desire to want to be at UCLA, was a good fit – a solid prospect who has a chance to be a starter down the line and continues to, at least, add depth at the position. Being already enrolled at UCLA he'll be out for spring practice in fall.

Brandon Tuliaupupu, T, 6-1, 296, Claremont (Calif.) High. As we said about Kevin McReynolds, you can never have too many defensive tackles who can play at the Pac-10 level that have good academics. Even though UCLA has very good depth at DT, and young depth, it wanted two defensive tackles in 2011, just to keep the position well stocked. It had always kept tabs on Tuliaupupu, even after he verbally committed to Washington State, but then, with scholarships available, pursued him seriously late and got him to switch. As with Reynolds, he's more of a nose tackle, which is good since UCLA seems to have more three-technique guys on its depth chart. He physically has a good frame to hold good weight, but is still pretty raw, and will clearly redshirt this season. He's a guy you'd hope would be a good contributor by his redshirt sophomore season.

Aaron Wallace, LB, 6-4, 215, San Diego (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo. Wallace is a guy considered to have a great deal of upside, even though he's a bit of a mystery because he missed his entire season due to a torn ligament in his ankle. He's being projected as an outside linebacker, and has the frame to gain weight and grow into the strongside linebacker spot. The fact that he's the son of a former Oakland Raider gives him more credibility, and makes UCLA coaches believe he'll be able to get to the playing size of his father, which was about 245 pounds. Before the injury he showed good athleticism for a kid of his height. Linebacker might have been UCLA's biggest position of need, knowing it'd be losing four by the end of next season (Akeem Ayers, Sean Westgate, Glenn Love, and Steve Sloan), and there are some questions about whether a couple of the current linebackers will stay at that position. It's hoped that Wallace will be able to compete for the strongside ‘backer position once Jordan Zumwalt relinquishes it in 2 or 3 years, so he has time to develop.

Torian White, OL, 6-5, 280, Lakewood (Calif.) High. White provided the story of the recruiting season, being verbally committed to UCLA, then picking the USC hat on Fox television, and later Wednesday flipping back and sending in his NLI to UCLA. Here's an in-depth story by ESPN's Greg Biggins on the White Signing Day Drama. Also, Torian's little brother is now a instant BRO hero because of his visibly pissed-off reaction to his brother picking USC on the telecast: Torian White Picks USC. White was pretty unknown because of a hernia injury kept him out for most of his junior season. But when he showed up at UCLA's camp last June he was very impressive, mostly because he was about 6-4 and 260 pounds and still looked fairly thin while moving really well. He's pretty raw and has a long ways to go, but many observers thought he was among the best O-line prospects in the State of California during his senior season. He'll be groomed to take over one of the offensive tackle spots in a couple of years. The ideal plan would be that Xavier Su'a-Filo returns to UCLA from his Mormon mission and slips into the left tackle spot again in the 2012 as a sophomore, and anchors that position for three years, and White develops and perhaps holds down the right tackle spot, perhaps as soon as his redshirt freshman season in 2012.

Ben Wysocki, OL, 6-5, 280, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. Wysocki came to UCLA's summer camp and got a scholarship offer, and snatched it up. He's not greatly explosive, but he moves very well for his size and has good feet. He projects inside, as a guard, and has a bit of a nasty streak. He really loves UCLA and hung in with his commitment very solidly even after UCLA went 4-8. He's expected to break into the two-deep by his redshirt freshman year, and then the hope would be he could compete to start by his redshirt sophomore season.

Ryan Hofmeister, LB, 6-2, 220, Riverside (Calif.) City College. Linebacker was probably the one spot where UCLA probably needed help sooner to fill out its two deep, so it dipped into the JC ranks to find Hofmeister. Undersized out of high school, Hofmeister went to Riverside City, developed physically and became a big-play guy at the JC level. He's still considered a bit undersized, but he's developed good strength to go along with good quickness and speed. After next season, with the graduation of Love and Westgate, the weakside spot will open up in 2012, and Hofmeister provides UCLA another competitor to win that spot, or at least fill out the two deep there. He'll have three years to play two, so if he's not ready to contribute in 2011 he'll redshirt.


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