More importantly, though, is where they stand with recruits.
How UCLA does in recruiting on Signing Day 2012 is completely dependent on how UCLA does ithe rest of the 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, there could be a change in the coaching position and the Bruins get a boost from the new head coach, albeit very late in the recruiting season, or 2) Neuheisel and the team rip off a successful rest of the 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 said before, 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 12 commits so far, six on offense and six on defense.
Here is a look at the realistic targets for UCLA in the class of 2012.
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 visited UCLA unofficially during the summer and may likely return for an official visit this fall. 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.
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 and Stewart said that has been reiterated to him.
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 another UCLA target in DeForest Buckner and the hope is he can help sway him 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. Wooching started out the season playing in Utah but has since transferred back to Hawaii. 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
Byron Marshall, 5-11, 185, San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian- Offered
D.J. Foster, 6-0, 185, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro- Offered
Jeffrey Coprich, 5-9, 195, Stevenson Ranch (Calif.) West Ranch
Shaun Wick, 5-11, 190, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
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 Richards hurt their depth (and frankly, their production- based on what he's done at Colorado) 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.
Darreus Rogers, 6-3, 195, Carson (Calif.). UCLA was at his game on Friday, with offensive coordinator Mike Johnson there to witness his 200+ yard performance against a stout Long Beach Poly defense. Rogers said he's interested in UCLA and UCLA is very interested in one of the premier receivers in the country. While he says he's still committed to USC, he's open to taking trips and you can bet UCLA will be picking things up with him. Offered
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 a pretty gifted 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 and being in the same boat as Lucien, who didn't get an offer from UCLA until October and then ultimately signed with the Bruins.
Other Receivers to watch:
Derrick Woods, 6-1, 180, Inglewood (Calif.)- Offered
Jordan Payton, 6-2, 195, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian- Offered
Richard Smith, 5-9, 170, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly- Offered
Michael Thomas, 6-4, 175, Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks
Jake Maulhardt, 6-6, 190, Camarillo (Calif.)
Cameron Countryman, 5-10, 175, Beverly Hills (Calif.)
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, though the pickings are slim at the position.
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.
Other Tight Ends to watch:
Jeremiah Valoaga, 6-7, 215, Oxnard (Calif.) Channel Islands
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.
Hiva Lutui, 6-3, 280, Euless (Texas) Trinity.COMMITTED. One of the premier interior linemen nationally, Lutui has a slew of offers from the Southwest, but he chose the Bruins. Lutui is originally from Southern California and with his cousin Folasa on board, UCLA got into a good spot for him and they landed what is arguably their top commit, a top ten player nationally. Lutui has said he may still take some trips, but UCLA is very much the favorite to keep him. Offered
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
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 seriously pick up interest from 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.
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 three schools, along with Stanford and Colorado. If he's admitted into Stanford, the Cardinal will be tough to beat, but UCLA is going to try. 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.)