2012 Recruiting Reset: Offense

With the fall season close to kicking off, BRO takes a look at where UCLA stands on the defensive side of the ball in the 2012 recruiting class...

With the summer period over and fall camp about ready to kickoff, UCLA's 2012 recruiting has been lukewarm, at best.

But let's be candid: Whatever list we release now is pretty irrelevant. How UCLA does in recruiting on Signing Day 2012 is completely dependent on how UCLA does in its 2011 season. Whatever list of names we put out now is probably going to be different than one next February 2012 – because either one of two scenarios will happen: 1) UCLA has an unsuccessful season, Rick Neuheisel probably loses his job and 2012 recruiting gets a boost from the new head coach, albeit very late in the recruiting season, or 2) Neuheisel has a successful 2011 season, recruits get inspired and jump on board and the list of names has changed significantly from what we released now.

If you want to look at it from an optimistic perspective, both are win-win recruiting scenarios, right? Even if scenario #1 might require a considerable process of pain during the season for Bruin fans, it still more than likely would result in an improved recruiting landscape for UCLA with the 2012 class than it is currently experiencing. And, of course, scenario #2 would be ideal (well, for most Bruin fans who want to see Neuheisel succeed) since, first and foremost, a successful 2011 season is the priority.

Last year at about this time, and throughout the spring, summer and fall, we asserted that 2011 recruits were in wait-and-see mode on UCLA, wanting to wait until the 2010 season to help them make their decision over the UCLA program. Well, we saw what an unsuccessful 2010 season did to the recruiting class. UCLA plainly lost a good amount of recruits you could easily assert it would have gotten had it been successful on the field in 2010. You could say, then, that 2012 recruits are in a very heightened level of wait-and-see mode with UCLA over the 2011 season.

As we've asserted before, if UCLA fans want to put a good spin on the unsuccessful 2010 season, here you go: If UCLA is going to be successful under Neuheisel, it was a season that had to happen, to lead to a purging of an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator that to be candid (again) weren't going to help UCLA win over the long term. We certainly have no idea if the new offensive coordinator, Mike Johnson, or the new defensive coordinator, Jim Tresey, will be an improvement, but we know that it was highly likely the last set wasn't going to get it done.

And, we've said before that, if there was a time in terms of recruiting for this to happen, the 2011 class for UCLA was perhaps optimal. Neuheisel has sold recruits in the last few recruiting classes on the program's potential, and essentially loaded up with top-ten national recruiting classes in doing it. The 2011 class was, then, always going to be a small one, without many rides to give, and if you look at UCLA's projected depth chart for the next couple of years, barring transfers, it looks pretty deep and talented.

UCLA will have anywhere from 15-18 scholarships to give in the 2012 class, and they have 10 commits so far, five on offense and five on defense.

Here is a look at the realistic targets for UCLA in the class of 2012.

QUARTERBACKS

UCLA would like to take a quarterback in this class, but that may be tough with the prospect of Brett Hundley being a year ahead of the 2012 class quarterback, and there frankly is not a Hundley like talent in this class, and certainly not one that UCLA is recruiting.  They've offered a few quarterbacks, but only three from California, and they all committed elsewhere (where the traffic isn't as great).  They've also put offers out to a couple of national prospects.

Devin Fuller, 6-0, 185, Old Tappan (N.J.).  Fuller got one of his first offers from UCLA, in fact, he was the first quarterback UCLA offered in the 2012 class.  Now he has nearly 30 offers that span the country.  UCLA went to see him throw this spring, but he seems to be focusing on mostly Midwest and Eastern schools at this point.  There is also the question if quarterback is his best position, projection-wise, in college.  Fuller will reportedly visit UCLA later this month.  Offered. 

Marc Evans, 6-2, 205, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure.  Evans camped at UCLA this summer in hopes of landing an offer from his favorite school, but it didn't happen. Evans is a smart quarterback with a decent arm, but lacks athleticism, and there's a question about whether he has Pac-12 arm strength.

Matt Morin, 6-3, 215, Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral.  A strong-armed lefty, Morin was the standout passer at UCLA's camp in June, with the UCLA coaches clearly impressed with him. He nearly committed to Arizona State but held off because of UCLA. They still have yet to offer, and while Morin has been strong in camps all spring and summer, the Bruin staff will likely want to see what he does on Friday nights before offering.

Tyler Stewart, 6-3, 195, Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon.  Stewart has good size and a good arm, and put up some good stats last fall, albeit at a smaller school. He also camped at UCLA, made a favorable impression and he may be the best fit for the Pistol.  UCLA will likely watch his first few games and could offer him if he starts out strong.

Other Quarterbacks to watch:
Tommy Armstrong, 6-2, 205, Cibolo (Texas) Steele- Offered
Brendan Keeney, 6-3, 215, Granite Bay (Calif.)
Myles Carr, 6-2, 205, Arcadia (Calif.)

RUNNING BACKS

UCLA signed one running back in 2011 and has commitments from two backs in this year's class, though one, Wooching, will likely play F-Back, while Lakalaka is more of the runner.  But they've offered some others out west, in what may be one of the shallowest running back pools in recent memory.

Steven Lakalaka, 5-11, 185, Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou.  COMMITTED. Lakalaka was the first verbal to the Bruins, committing in the middle of May after UCLA assistant coach Inoke Breckterfield made his way to the Islands.  Lakalaka comes from one of the top programs on the Islands and is a good compact back.  He's also teammates with a couple of other UCLA targets in DeForest Buckner and Luke Kaumatule and the hope is he can help sway those two to be Bruins. Offered

Psalm Wooching, 6-3, 215, Kailua Kona (Hawaii) Kealakehe.  COMMITTED. Wooching will likely end up playing the F-Back position for UCLA, but he could also play outside linebacker.  He had a good junior year, albeit against a lower level of competition compared to Lakalaka.  Offered

Byron Marshall, 5-11, 185, San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian.  UCLA gave Marshall an offer not too long ago and he's the best back in the West in the class of 2012, but he's got a plum selection of schools.  The feeling is that he won't leave the Bay Area, with offers from Cal and Stanford, and if he does, it will be to Arizona State, where his older brother, Cameron, is a running back.  Still, UCLA will keep trying.  Offered

D.J. Foster, 6-0, 185, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro.  The top back in Arizona, Foster has a who's-who of offers, and UCLA is one of them.  He's mentioned them as a school of interest, but they'll have work to do to get him.  Offered.

Davien Payne, 6-0, 212, Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill.  One of the top backs in the Southland, Payne got an early offer from the Bruins, but he likes Colorado quite a bit now.  Payne is expected to be on the UCLA campus this week.  Offered.

Robert Lewis, 5-8, 170, South Gate (Calif.) South East.  A commit to SMU, Lewis has started to rack up offers from around the country, as a running back and as a slot receiver.  UCLA is a school he's long been interested in, though, and if they offered, could catapult themselves right into the mix for him.  Lewis camped at UCLA and offensive coordinator Mike Johnson told him to get his grades up and an offer could come.  He was the RB MVP of the Stanford NFTC.  Offered.

Other Running Backs to watch:
Barry Sanders, 5-9, 185, Heritage (Okla.).- Offered
Jeffrey Coprich, 5-9, 195, Stevenson Ranch (Calif.) West Ranch
Shaun Wick, 5-11, 190, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure

RECEIVERS

It's a good receiver class, and UCLA only signed one last year in Devin Lucien, so they need to get two three in this class.  The loss of Paul Richardson hurt their depth and they still haven't gotten great production out of the receiver position for some time, so a gamebreaker would be ideal.  This is one of those key positions where UCLA's offense this fall will go a long way in determining who might sign.  A year ago, they lost Brandin Cooks after he saw the Pistol and didn't think he was a good fit.  So Johnson's offense this fall will need to show some life, particularly in the passing game, to really woo some top talent.

Gabriel Marks, 5-11, 175, Venice (Calif.).  SMU made a big impression on Marks, who could also play cornerback, and he ultimately committed.  But he was quick to indicate that he'll still take all of his visits.  And UCLA was his favorite school growing up so it could be tough for him to leave home.  Like Lucien did, he'll look at all of his options around the country.  Pretty much it probably comes down to this: Throw the ball well and they will come. Offered.

Davonte' Neal, 5-9, 185, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral.  The top athlete in Arizona, Neal, like Foster, has a who's-who of offers, and UCLA is one of them.  He's mentioned them as a school of interest, but with his list of schools, UCLA will have to do a lot of work for him.  Offered.

Darius Powe, 6-2, 185, Lakewood (Calif.).  Powe is one half of the top 1-2 punch at receiver in the Southland.  He's been to UCLA for an unofficial and he's saying he's wide open right now.  Powe said his top five were UCLA, Oregon State, Miami, Michigan and Utah.  Offered

Kenny Lawler, 6-3, 185, Upland (Calif.).  An early commit to Arizona State, almost from the day he committed, Lawler said he's been wide open and a soft verbal to the Sun Devils.  The Bruins offered him and are very much interested in him and the interest is mutual. Offered

Chris Harper, 6-0, 180, Encino (Calif.) Crespi.  Playing opposite Lucien last year, Harper benefited from teams trying to take away Lucien, and had a big junior season.  He's really emerged as a prospect this spring as well and could end up with a late offer from UCLA after camping with them.

Other Receivers to watch:
Derrick Woods, 6-1, 180, Inglewood (Calif.)- Offered
Trent Sewell, 6-3, 205, Bothell (Wash.)- Offered
Jordan Payton, 6-2, 195, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian- Offered
Darreus Rogers, 6-3, 195, Carson (Calif.)- Offered
Richard Smith, 5-9, 170, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly- Offered
Kenneth Walker, 6-0, 175, Richmond (Calif.) Kennedy- Offered
Jake Maulhardt, 6-6, 190, Camarillo (Calif.)
Justin Johnson, 6-2, 185, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Sean Miller, 6-3, 205, Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley
Cameron Countryman, 5-10, 175, Beverly Hills (Calif.)
 

TIGHT ENDS

With the transfer of Morrell Presley and Cory Harkey graduating after this season, UCLA needs to add at least one tight end to the mix, but could add two.

Ian Taubler, 6-6, 250, Fresno (Calif.) Bullard.  COMMITTED.  Taubler fits the bill of the all-around tight end -- he's a tremendous blocker and has great size, but he can also get out and catch the ball and run.  UCLA was one of the schools he coveted an offer from and even with USC offering him at their camp, Taubler turned it down and committed to the Bruins.  Offered.

Caleb Smith, 6-6, 245, Kent (Wash.) Kentridge.  Smith is an intriguing prospect in that he's a big kid, but has very little experience at tight end.  He played quarterback most of his junior year, before moving to tight end during the season.  A very good athlete, he's also a basketball player, Smith has a high ceiling. Offered

Other Tight Ends to watch:
Jeremiah Valoaga, 6-7, 215, Oxnard (Calif.) Channel Islands
Trevon Calahan, 6-3, 245, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
 

OFFENSIVE LINE

It's quite possibly the best offensive line class in the West, ever. There are numerous elite linemen to be had. On one hand, it's good for UCLA and on the other it isn't. Most of the high-end guys are rarely mentioning UCLA, but the class is so deep there are plenty of quality prospects to go around, who would have been top-tier guys in any other year. Again, if UCLA's offense does well, and the team wins, UCLA will probably have enough very talented OL prospects knocking at its door.

Isaiah Folasa, 6-3, 335, Corona (Calif.) Santiago.  COMMITTED.  A mammoth offensive lineman, Folasa shined at UCLA's camp and landed an offer from the Bruins not too long after.  Not long after that, Folasa jumped on it and committed to the Bruins.  He has some work to do in the classroom, but if he's squared academically, he'll be a Bruin.  He's also a cousin to Hiva Lutui.  Offered

Mario Yakoo, 6-4, 320, Spring Valley (Calif.) Steele Canyon.  COMMITTED.  One of the top linemen in San Diego, Yakoo came to UCLA's camp with just a couple of offers, but UCLA then offered him and he committed on the spot.  Yakoo could play guard or center in college.  Offered

Hiva Lutui, 6-3, 280, Euless (Texas) Trinity.  One of the premier interior linemen nationally, Lutui has a slew of offers from the Southwest, but his top three schools are all in the Pac-12: UCLA, Oregon State and Utah.  Lutui is originally from Southern California and with his cousin Folasa on board UCLA could be in a good spot for him.  Offered

Joshua Garnett, 6-5, 295, Puyallup (Wash.)-  The top offensive guard in the country, Garnett is planning an unofficial visit to UCLA this week while also visiting USC.  UCLA was his first offer, and made his top 11, but they're not in the first tier of schools.  But this is the type of player that UCLA could seriousl pick up interest in the Bruins if they win. Offered

Jordan Simmons, 6-5, 335, Encino (Calif.) Crespi.  The top lineman in Southern California, Simmons has offers from all over, and has rarely mentioned UCLA, other than they have offered.  But if UCLA can turn things around, there is always a chance, however long of one it may be.  Still, UCLA isn't giving up with Simmons and recently made his top 15.  Offered

Ronnie Stanley, 6-7, 295, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. The top prospect in the state of Nevada, Stanley came to UCLA's Spring Game, the only school he visited unofficially during that time, and UCLA has made him a top priority and is doing well with him.  They'd like to continue that throughout and Stanley is very interested in the Bruins.  He may be their top tackle target in this class.  USC though is a very serious threat for Stanley. Stanley's mother went to UCLA and, again, if the Bruins win in 2011 it would go a long way in swaying her son. Offered.

Lacy Westbrook, 6-5, 295, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez.  One of a number of Dons with a UCLA offer, Westbrook may be the best prospect of them all.  A top guard nationally, Westbrook has offers from coast-to-coast, with Auburn offering, but he's likely to stay in the West, where both USC and UCLA have offered.  UCLA has made a good impression on him so far and he's said that UCLA is recruiting him the hardest.  Offered.

Jeremiah Poutasi, 6-5, 300, Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines.  Behind Stanley in Nevada, they give the state one of their best 1-2 punch of offensive line, arguably, ever.  UCLA was one of the first schools to offer Poutasi before he blew up this spring.  He's also cousins with UCLA freshman defensive lineman Sam Tai and the two are extremely close.  Offered.

Walker Williams, 6-7, 331, Tacoma (Wash.) Tacoma Baptist.  UCLA was the first school to offer Williams, a mammoth offensive lineman.  We've seen Williams quite a bit the last year, and he has reshaped his body for the better, spending time in the off-season working on it. The question for Williams is he plays against inferior competition and hasn't necessarily dominated at that level, but he has size that makes coaches drool and is similar to the type of linemen Wisconsin (who has offered) get.  And Bob Palcic is a former Wisconsin coach.  Williams camped at UCLA earlier this summer. Offered.

Colby Cyburt, 6-5, 270, Mission Viejo (Calif.).  UCLA is one of Cyburt's most recent offers, he took an unofficial visit to UCLA in June and they're one of his top schools.  Offered.

David Barajas, 6-4, 290, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure.  UCLA offered Barajas after a good showing at their camp, and they'd like him to come in and play center.  He'll need to improve in the classroom, though, but UCLA is his leader.  Offered.

Matt Cochran, 6-3, 320, Atwater (Calif.) Buhach Colony.  Cochran got an offer from UCLA in early June.  He's the top pure center in the West and has offers from most of the Pac-12.  Alabama is a school he's interested in and Auburn recently offered him too. Offered.

Brandon Fanaika, 6-3, 295, Pleasant Grove (Utah).  The top lineman in Utah, Fanaika has interest from programs as both an offensive and defensive lineman.  Stanford is doing well with him, as is BYU.  Like many players in this class, he's related to Sam Tai.  Offered.

Kyree Oliver, 6-5, 295, Brentwood (Calif.) Heritage.  The younger brother of UCLA signee Will Oliver, the younger brother has flown under the radar, backing up two D-I signees a year ago.  He has an offer from Colorado but he'll be a guy that UCLA will probably watch as a senior to see how he progresses.

Other Offensive Linemen to watch:
Arik Armstead, 6-8, 285, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove- Offered
Kyle Murphy, 6-7, 285, San Clemente (Calif.)- Offered
Freddie Tagaloa, 6-8, 300, Richmond (Calif.) Salesian- Offered
Garrett Weinreich, 6-5, 295, Arroyo Grande (Calif.)
Kwayde Miller, 6-6, 280, Ramona (Calif.)
Eduardo Middleton, 6-5, 295, Oceanside (Calif.) 


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