UCLA Skills Camp Evaluations

There was a decent amount of talent on Spaulding Field Sunday for UCLA's Skills Camp, particularly among wide receivers and defensive backs, including cornerback Raymond Ford, receiver Richard Smith and tight end Ian Taubler...

There was a decent amount of talent at Sunday's Skills Camp, but probably not as much as there was at Saturday's Lineman Camp.

There weren't any 2012 quarterbacks or running backs that are probably worthy of a UCLA scholarship offer. The linebackers, too, were lacking talent. There were a good amount of receivers and defensive backs, which set the stage for some good 1-on-1s.

Probably the guy that improved his stock the most, at least in the eyes of UCLA, was Raymond Ford, the 5-9, 160-pound Gardena Serra cornerback, who ran a 4.38 40 and said he had a UCLA scholarship offer. Ford was probably the best cover guy at the camp, utilizing that speed to stay with receivers and showing good aggressiveness. In the 1-on-1s, when Rick Neuheisel wanted to match up the best corners against the best receivers, he grabbed Ford for the first rep.

The guy he matched up against was Richard Smith, the Long Beach Poly receiver, who is verbally committed to Arizona State. Smith, who's about 5-9 to 5-10 and probably about 160 pounds himself, has a great burst off the line and good quickness in running his routes. In terms of pure athleticism and quickness, he was the best receiver Sunday.

Also among the group of prospects at the camp that UCLA would take a commitment from was Ian Taubler, from Fresno (Calif.) Bullard. At about 6-4 and a well-built 250 pounds, Taubler physically stood out from the other tight ends in the camp, displaying great punch and strength in the drills. He was a bit hindered by what looked like a knee injury, but he did enough to impress, showing soft hands to go along with his college-ready body. In fact, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to see him grow into being an offensive lineman in college.

All three of those prospects didn't participate in the afternoon, with Taubler sitting because of the injury, and Ford and Smith leaving before the afternoon session.

Other prospects that looked like they have a chance:

Travis Talianko, WR, 6-0, 200, La Canada (Calif.) St. Francis. Talianko wouldn't jump out at you initially, not being particularly big or fast. He's probably a 4.5 to 4.6 40 guy. He's well-built, but probably just a smidge over 6-0. He actually doesn't have great moves and is actually a bit stiff in his running style. But when he goes 1-on-1 you immediately notice his effectiveness – first, in his ability to get open, running sharp routes, and then in his pass-catching ability, with very soft hands. He was easily the most effective wide receiver on the day, making catch after catch, against any defender. While there is pretty good depth of talent at wide receiver in Southern California, and some that might be more overtly impressive with their speed, Talianko is definitely a guy to watch.

Shannon Edwards, CB, 5-10, 175, Bakersfield (Calif.) Ridgeview. Edwards displayed some serious speed, being clocked at 4.39 in the 40, and showed it in the 1-on-1s. His frame's a bit narrow, but he showed good coverage skills and was particularly aggressive. With that speed, Edwards appears to be a bit under-recruited at this point and you could see UCLA and other Pac-12ers getting involved.

Jerico Richardson, CB, 5-11, 175, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany. Two weeks ago, Richardson came to UCLA's Early Elite Camp and worked out at mostly receiver, and we wrote at the time that he seemed better suited as a defensive back. Richardson returned to UCLA's campus on Sunday and worked out as a cornerback and was impressive, picking off at least three balls in the 1-on-1s, having a combination of a good body, size, and athleticism. He showed enough for UCLA to probably start showing him solid recruiting interest.

Reshawn Hooker, S, 6-0, 190, Fontana (Calif.) A.B. Miller. A good-looking physical specimen who was impressive in drills, Hooker, though, looks physically more like a safety than a linebacker. With his athleticism it was easy to see why some Pac-12ers have offered him. UCLA coaches were talking him up considerably.

Jevon Hasten, WR, 5-11, 160, El Cajon (Calif.) Valhalla. Fairly unknown, Hasten looked smooth and athletic, and possessed good hands. He's not a burner, which will probably keep him from getting recruited at a high level, but he had very good overall skills.

Bryan Harper, DB, 6-0, 170, Ontario (Calif.) Colony. Harper played quarterback and receiver in high school and is relatively new to cornerback, and you could see that, getting some extra attention from the UCLA coaches on technique. But he's a good-looking athlete who runs wells and had good mobility, so you can understand the Arizona State offer.

Bryce Treggs, WR, 5-11, 175, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Treggs has a good body, and showed very good pass-catching ability. He flashed some speed at times, but has a bit of an awkward running style. He's rated the #12 wide receiver in the country. While he said recently that his leader is Cal, where his father played, UCLA coaches seem to have a very good rapport with him. He sat out the afternoon session. He also was in attendance at UCLA's Early Elite Camp a couple of weeks ago.

Desmond Lewis, the 6-0, 165-pound cornerback prospect fro Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove, wasn't expected to be at the camp, but showed up and was impressive. He's still pretty skinny, but has a fairly wide frame, and good height, possibly being 6-1. He was very effective in coverage, jumping routes consistently and showing very good instincts.

Travis Gardner, 6-1, 185-pound receiver from Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake. Gardner had probably just moderate speed, but showed a very advanced pass-catching ability, coming down with everything, making a couple of one-handed catches.

Christian Tago, LB, 6-1, 210, Palmdale (Calif.) Highland. Tago came to the Early Elite Camp a couple of weeks ago and mostly worked as a quarterback. On Sunday he worked out with the linebackers, what looks to be a more natural position for him, and he had some impressive moments.

Chancellor James, S, 6-2, 190, Spring Valley (Calif.) Spring Canyon. James is a big boy, with a good body and long arms, who ran well for his size. He's someone to watch.

The quarterback group was interesting. There was really not one 2012 quarterback at the camp that had the combination of size, athleticism, arm and mechanics that would make him a Pac-12 level prospect. But, intriguingly, there were some guys who could spin a ball pretty well, who just lacked the body type. Perhaps the guy who put together the best combination was Drew Austin, the 6-2, 185-pounder from Graham (Wash.) Graham Kapowsin. Austin doesn't have a great body, a bit slight, and has a decently strong arm, and was fairly accurate. Tyler Stewart, from Chastworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon, definitely looks the part, at 6-3 and 205, with an athletic-looking body, and he threw the ball fairly well. Tyler Ferguson, from Bakersfield Ridgeview, had good size, at probably 6-3 and 190, but had an awkward throwing motion and average arm strength. Rene Medina, the QB from Bellflower St. John Bosco, might have had the strongest arm on the day, but is probably 6-0, with sloping shoulders and below-average athleticism. Henry Omana, from Diamond Bar, had a fairly good body, at about 6-3 and 208, and a fairly strong arm, but raw mechanics. Ross Anderson from Orinda (Calif.) Miramonte, was tall and pretty skinny, about 6-5 and 180 pounds, ran very well for his size, but had some hitches in his throwing mechanics.

If you've been following the recruitment of Matt Morin, the quarterback from Temecula Chaparral, you'll understand the significance of there not being a clear-cut UCLA-level quarterback recruit Sunday. Morin was impressive at UCLA's Early Elite Camp two weeks ago, but the Bruins didn't offer. He was about to commit to ASU last Monday, when Rick Neuheisel compelled him to hold off. Morin said in an interview that Neuheisel told him they wanted him to wait until after the Skills Camp, for UCLA to check out the quarterbacks participating. In our opinion, there weren't any worthy of a UCLA scholarship offer, so it will be interesting to see how the UCLA-Morin relationship proceeds from here.

There were some junior-to-be quarterbacks at the camp that are definitely worth watching. Garrett Bogart, the 6-2, 195-pounder from San Diego Cathedral, was intriguing, with a good frame and body, given that he has a couple more years of high school, and he had nice mechanics while throwing a good ball. Cameron Birse, from Danville San Ramon Valley, looked to be about 6-2 and 200, with a slightly less athletic body, but with an equally strong arm. Matt Simko from Claremont was about 6-1 and 200, and had a good arm.

There were some pretty big-named guys in attendance that didn't participate, all with UCLA scholarship offers.

Gabriel Marks, the wide receiver from Venice, Ishmael Adams, the cornerback from Westlake Village Oaks Christian, and Kenny Lawler, the receiver from Upland, hung out for most of the day, and hung together quite a bit. Treggs didn't compete in the afternoon session, then also joined up with them.

Caleb Smith, a 6-5, 245-pound tight end prospect from Kent (Wash.) Kentridge, attended the camp, but didn't participate due to an injury. Neuheisel and the coaches were giving him quite a bit of attention throughout the day. We learned that Smith, indeed, has a UCLA scholarship offer.

Malik Cyphers, the junior-to-be cornerback prospect, who is going to Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, was having a good day before injuring his knee toward the end of the afternoon session. UCLA Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson carried him off the field and stayed with him while he was being attended to by a trainer. Cyphers, who already has a scholarship offer from SMU, is reportedly a cousin of Adams, and the UCLA coaches were showing both a good deal of attention all day.

Players not in attendance that were expected:

Butch Pauu, LB, Servite
Chris Harper, WR Crespi
Randall Goforth, WR, Poly
Kache Palacio, DE/LB, Serra
Royce Dodd, TE, Serra
Josiah Blandin, WR, Poly

Out at the camp were various UCLA players, including Randall Carroll, Datone Jones, Sam Tai, Kevin McReynolds, and Torian White.

We have plenty of interviews from the camp on the way.


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