FB Recruiting 2004: Defense

Here are the prospects UCLA is targeting on defense for the 2004 class, with the Bruins looking to stock up talent on the defensive line. This list will constantly be updated throughout the season.

Note: Being on the "A List" means UCLA has offered the prospect a scholarship, or is on the verge of doing so.

If you want all of the recruiting information on each recruit, remember to click on the hyper links attached to the names of each prospect to go to their player profiles and story archives.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

With the two-deep thin at defensive tackle, and losing the starting two tackles this year to graduation, the position is a high priority for UCLA.  They need two tackles, and maybe even five defensive lineman types total that could play defensive tackle or defensive end, and could go to the JC ranks to get some immediate help. 

There are a good number of recruits in the 2004 class that look to be recruited for both the offensive line and defensive line.  We included Brandon Nicolas, Leo Talavou and Adam Speer, for example, with the offensive line prospect list. But they very well could end up playing defense on the college level.

Norris Malele, 6-3, 290, Carson (Calif.) High.  Could be the best in the west among defensive tackles, and an elite player nationally, Malele has unlimited potential. He's quick and strong, and he even looks fairly lean at 290 pounds.  Lately the word is that UCLA is at the top of his list, or very close.  A List.

Marlon Favorite, 6-3, 310, Harvey (Louisiana) West Jefferson. Really quick for his size, Favorite is one of the best in the South.  UCLA is among the top five, and they'll have a chance.  A List.

Phillip Mbakagu, 6-3, 250, Hayward (Calif.) High. Athletic, Mbakagu is also considered a potential defensive end.  He was the best DL at the NorCal Nike Camp. UCLA is trying but other schools have a head start. A List.

Lawrence Miles, 6-2, 250, La Quinta (Calif.) High. A bit unknown, but scouts and coaches who know him rave about him. He's also a potential defensive end, with the quickness to play on the edge. UCLA is on a list of five or so.  A List.

Demario Pressley, 6-3, 280, Greensboro (North Carolina) Dudley. Considered one of the best in the country, Pressley has offers from across the nation. UCLA is trying with him. A List.

Darryl Richard, 6-4, 285, Destrahan (Louisiana) High. One of the best in the South and in the country, Richard is getting offers from many schools.  UCLA has been to check him out in this evaluation period, they're recruiting him hard and the Bruins make his early list. A List.

Jesee Mahelona, 6-2, 280, Costa Mesa (Calif.) Orange Coast College.  One of the better JC defensive tackles in the west, Mahelona has the quickness to play defensive end, which he did at Orange Coast last season, but projects as a tackle, being able to use that quickness to his advantage. He attended a UCLA practice this spring.

Randall  Bowen, 6-2, 300, Cerritos (Calif.) Junior College.  You might remember him from his senior year at Compton Dominguez where he emerged as one of the best defensive tackles in his class. He liked UCLA quite a bit, came to practices and the spring game, but UCLA couldn't recruit him because of academics and he signed with Oregon. He didn't qualify last year, but played at Cerritos, where he was named one of the best freshman defensive tackles in the state. 

Joe Bozikovich, 6-2, 265, Portland (Ore.) Wilson. Bozikovich might be proving he's one of the best on the west coast. He's getting recruited by the Pac-10 and waiting for offers, and has UCLA among his top two. 

Nader Abdallah, 6-4, 275, Metarie (Louisiana) Archbishop Rummel. Abdallah has impressed many college coaches this spring, having gained upward of 30 pounds of muscle since his junior season. LSU and Tulane might be hard to beat.

Desmond McCollins, 6-4, 275, Stockton (Calif.) Franklin. Even though we didn't see him, we were told he had a very good showing at the NorCal Nike Camp, enough that his recruiting has really picked up. He plays defensive end in high school, and had 16 sacks as a junior, but looks like he'll get big enough to where he'll play tackle in college. He has said UCLA is his favorite, along with Oregon and Oklahoma.  No offers yet.

Shannon Tevaga, 6-3, 285, La Mirada (Calif.) High. A kid who is thought to be one of the best in Southern California, Tevaga had a strong junior season and showed well at some camps. 

Allan Branch, 6-6, 305, Albuquerque (New Mexico) Cibola.  One of the best in the west, Branch is a nimble athlete who also is an accomplished basketball player (good enough to be at least a mid-major hoops player). 

Others to Watch:

Jason Rooters, 6-3, 300, Fresno (Calif.) Edison
Martell Golden, 6-1, 320, Fresno (Calif.) Edison
Matt Eichelberger, 6-5, 320, Bellingham (Wash.) Sehome
John Torres, 6-4, 270, San Pedro (Calif.) High 
Randy Faletoi, 6-3, 290, Honolulu (Haw.) McKinley
Ra'Shon Harris, 6-4, 270, Pittsburgh (Calif.) High
Chris Mulitalo, 6-0, 275, San Lorenzo (Calif.) Arroyo
Jordan Miles, 6-4, 270, La Quinta (Calif.) High
Chris Matsuoka, 6-1, 265, Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln
Matt Stiles, 6-4, 275, Willits (Calif.) High
Kenneth Lombard, 6-1, 270, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco


DEFENSIVE ENDS

In the same boat as they are with defensive tackles, UCLA needs ends.  Four defensive ends on the UCLA roster will graduate in 2004.  They lost one, young scholarship end this spring. So, ends are a big priority.  As stated above with defensive tackles, there are many prospects listed at other positions (namely defensive tackle or tight end) that could end up playing defensive end in college. 

Brigham Harwell, 6-1, 250, Hacienda Heights (Calif.) Los Altos. One of UCLA's top targets, Harwell is impressive in person, with great quickness, balance and pursuit to the ball.  He's a bit undersized, but he's just a very good football player that could end up at any number of positions, depending on how his body develops. A List.

Jeff Schweiger, 6-4, 240, San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian. One of the truly elite players on the west coast, Schweiger is a can't-miss kind of prospect.  He's the prototypical defensive end, with the perfect combination of size, strength and speed.  It's going to be a battle for him, but if he holds out in his commitment, UCLA has a solid chance with him. A List.

Eugene Germany, 6-2, 250, Pomona (Calif.) High. Like Harwell, Germany might not fit the perfect physical mold for a defensive end and possibly a bit of a tweener, but he's a very good football player. In person, he looks big, quick and very good instinctually.  Which way his body goes could determine whether he plays with his hand down or possibly at linebacker.  A List.

Cyril Obiozor, 6-4, 235, Pearland (Tex.) High. Obiozor is a combo of very good speed and quickness, as well as a very solid student. He ran really well at the College Station Nike Camp, recording a 4.8 forty, a quick 4.21 shuttle and a 31-inch vertical. UCLA coaches were there, heard he was a good student and offered him soon after. They'll be battling it out with some heavy hitters for him. A List.

Jordan White-Frisbee, 6-6, 280, Kenmoor (Wash.) Inglemoor. A behemoth of a lineman, White-Frisbee could also project as an offensive tackle, with very good feet for a man his size. He likes defense, though. UCLA is pursuing him. 

Jason Roberts, 6-4, 220, Fresno (Calif.) Central, Impressive-looking kid at the NorCal Nike Camp where he tested and went through the drills well, Roberts is an athlete. 

Tony Lee, 6-4, 235, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Probably one of the better defensive end-type prospects in Southern California, Lee had a good showing at the NorCal Nike Camp. 

Dewayne Hollyfield, 6-4, 260, Los Angeles (Calif.) Harbor College.  A kid with good agility, who originally was from West Torrance High and known for playing basketball, Hollyfield had a very good freshman year at L.A. Harbor.  He could end up a defensive tackle.

Alan King, 6-3, 240, North Hills (Calif.) Monroe. He was one of the most impressive physically at the Southern California Nike Camp, King has just begun to tap into his potential, having only played football last year. He lists UCLA as his favorite, ahead of Oregon and Washington.

Others to Watch:

David Smith, 6-4, 260, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton
Martin Rashaan, 6-6, 250, Glendale (Ariz.) Mountain Ridge
Calais Campbell, 6-7, 230, Denver (Col.) South
Nate Johnson, 6-3, 240, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes
Jason Bovard, 6-3, 230, Santa Ana (Calif.) High
Maurice Wells, 6-4, 215, Vail (Ariz.) Cienega
Paul Carpenter, 6-7, 260, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain
Devlin Bayne, 6-6, 220, Carlin (Nev.) High
Mike Roland, 6-5, 225, Henderson (Nev.) Foothill
Jay Williams, 6-4, 190, Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty
Matt Rupp, 6-1, 240, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita


LINEBACKERS

It's a fairly thin year in the west, but luckily UCLA isn't too thin at linebacker for the forseeable future. There is still plenty of room for some elite prospects. UCLA definitely needs some bodies at middle linebacker and weakside linebacker, and probably could take 2 to 4 total linebackers.

Kyle Williams, 6-2, 215, Bolingbrook (Ill.) High.  He performed his way into being considered one of the best linebacker prospects in the country at the Nike Camp. Very fast, and well put-together, Williams is getting targeted now by the best programs in the country.  UCLA has been on his short list for a while. A List.

Lance Brandenburgh, 6-1, 215, Overland Park (Kans.) St. Thomas Aquinas. He's really moved up recruiting lists and UCLA particularly likes him. It will be hard to get him away from Nebraska, his childhood favorite. A List.

Andrew Schantz, 6-0, 220, Canyon Country (Calif.) Canyon. Another who performed his way up the recruiting charts at a Nike Camp, Schantz was the consensus #1 linebacker prospect at the L.A. Camp in April. Combining a great body and very good speed, Schantz, though, many schools might wait on him to see how he does this fall.

Lamar Robinson, 6-2, 220, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. A bit of a sleeper, but known by those in-the-know in Southern California, Robinson has good size and very good speed.  UCLA is on him. 

Joe Mortensen, 6-1, 235, Concord (Calif.) Clayton Valley. Another who improved his rep by a performance at a Nike Camp this spring, Mortensen was probably the #1 linebacker at the NorCal camp, putting up 33 reps on the bench while running well.   The Pac-10 is scouting him.

Worrell Williams, 6-0, 245, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant.  Thought to be one of the best in the west, Williams also tested well at the NorCal Nike Camp. He's the half-brother of former big-time De La Salle prospect D.J. Williams. He claims UCLA has offered him. The Bruins are recruiting him. 

Ryan Phipps, 6-0, 205, Corona (Calif.) Centennial.  Phipps had a big junior year, recording 172 tackles, and he showed why at the L.A. Nike Camp when he showed great speed and quickness. 

Russell Allen, 6-3, 210, Vista (Calif.) High. Good size and very good lateral quickness (clocking a  3.96 time in the shuttle at the SoCal Nike Camp), Allen is one of the best in Southern California.

Dustin Kleven, 6-3, 220, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral. Probably the best in Arizona, Kleven moves really well for a prospect his size, with good agility.  UCLA is on his list.

Alan Darlin, 6-1, 223, Elk Grove (Calif.) Laguna Creek. Really impressive at the NorCal Nike Camp, clocking a very quick 4 flat shuttle time, Darlin is now seeing programs get on him, and UCLA is starting to recruit him.

Patrick McKillop, 6-3, 230, Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep. One of the best linebacker prospects in Washington, he's getting interest and an offer from the Pac-10. He has UCLA on his short list.

Parker Hanks, 6-0, 210, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. A player always around the ball, he also had a good showing at the NorCal Nike Camp. He's considered an elite catcher prospect in baseball. UCLA is his favorite.

Jed Collins, 6-2, 230, Mission Viejo (Calif.) High. One of the best in Southern California, with good size and aggressiveness, UCLA is trying with Collins but he has other favorites.

Marcus Freeman, 6-2, 232, Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne. Considered one of the best in the midwest and possibly the country, UCLA has tried with Freeman, but is competing with some of the big names in the region.

Others to Watch:

James Greer, 6-2, 225, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat
Will Price, 6-3, 240, Anaheim (Calif.) Western
Adam Vincent, 6-2, 215, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton
Terrance Kelly, 6-0, 205, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle
Ben Keller, 6-2, 220, Henderson (Nev.) Coronado
Josh Stephens, 6-1, 220, Bakersfield (Calif.) West
Isaiah Cook, 6-3, 200, Claremont (Calif.) High
Thomas Oden, 6-3, 220, Culver City (Calif.) High
Art Drumright, 6-2, 205, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High
Langston Johnson, 6-2, 220, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine.
Joaquin Martinson, 6-1, 215, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant
Matt Miller, 6-3, 220, Las Vegas (Nev.) Cimarron Memorial
Perris Loatman, 6-0, 210, Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard
Ray Mualaga, 6-0, 210, Eureka (Calif.) High
David Haile, 6-2, 200, Union City (Calif.) James Logan
Brady Conrad, 6-3, 220, Gilbert (Ariz.) High


DEFENSIVE BACKS

On the west coast, the defensive back talent is loaded for the class of 2004, with a number of elite, national-level recruits as well as some very strong regional-level talents. 

With UCLA's talented defensive backfield now starting to age a little (Ben Emanuel, Matt Ware and Matt Clark all being juniors next season) this is the recruiting class that UCLA needs to replace that level of elite talent.  With a good number of scholarships overall to give to the class, and the defensive back class being so deep for 2004, look for UCLA to bring in up to four defensive back recruits. Many of these guys are so worthy of scholarships since they're also very good all-around athletes that could plug in to a number of positions.

Rodney Van, 6-0, 170, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly.  COMMITTED. One of the best athletes in the west, with blazing sprinter speed and great agility. He's probably among the top two corner prospects in the west and among the best in the country. Van had UCLA as his leader for a while, and he committed to UCLA on Junior Day, June 31st. A List.

Bryan Payton, 6-0, 185, Covina (Calif.) South Hills. COMMITTED. Among the few best defensive back prospects in the west, Payton had an astounding junior year when he collected 11 interceptions. He's shown well at the various camps, and the Pac-10 was all over him. UCLA offered in May and he waited only a couple of weeks before committing on Junior Day. A List.

Randy Estes, 6-1, 195, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. One of the top five prospects in the country and the #1 safety prospect, Estes could be one of the best to come out of the Los Angeles area in a while.  He's a physical specimen, and one of the best hitters in recent memory.  UCLA was the first to offer him a year ago, and now the bandwagon is being jumped on.  The Bruins will be in a battle right to the end. A List.

Daniel Drayton, 5-9, 185, Hacienda Heights (Calif.) Los Altos. COMMITTTED. A kid who makes plays at safety, despite being 5-9 and not having blazing speed. He's aggressive and a very good hitter. Colorado and Oregon, among others, had shown interest before UCLA offered, and Drayton committed at UCLA's Junior Day. He's also close buddies with one of UCLA's top defensive prospects, teammate Brigham Harwell. A List.

Terrail Lambert, 5-10, 185, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure.  An elite national prospect with blazing speed, clocking an astounding 4.21 at the Nike combine, followed by a 4.35.  He'd be a great corner, also excels at safety, and could actually project as a running back.  Elite programs from around the country are pursuing him. A List. 

Virdell Larkins, 5-11, 190, Oakland (Calif.) Tech.  Good physically, Larkins is a play maker, with a nose for always being around the ball.  He's getting offers up and down the west coast including from UCLA.  A List.

Willie Glasper, 5-11, 180, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle.  Thought to be one of the elite cover corner prospects in the west who will also make national lists, Glasper had a very good showing at the NorCal Nike Camp.  UCLA is on his list of five or so. A List.

Cortney Grixby, 5-10, 170, Omaha (Neb.) Central. Even though he plays mainly quarterback in high school, Grixby projects as a cornerback, with very good speed and quickness. He has offers from most of the Big 12, and UCLA has offered. A List.

Jeremy Payton, 6-0, 180, Covina (Calif.) South Hills.  Along with his twin brother, considered one of the best in the state.  UCLA is hot on the twins, having just offered Bryan, and the Bruins could very well want to make it a twin package deal.  Jeremy was just offered by Oregon State. 

Jerome Boyd, 6-1, 180, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. Big, fast and a good hitter, Boyd is thought to be one of the best in the west.  He has said he wants to stay local, and if UCLA and USC offer, it will probably come down to those two schools.

Bobby Buchanan, 6-0, 180, Joliet (Ill.) Joliet Catholic Academy. Younger brother of Atlanta Falcons cornerback Ray Buchanan, Bobby is thought to be one of the best in the midwest - and he likes UCLA.

Larry Kerlegan, 6-1, 190, La Marque (Tex.) High. A quarterback who accumulated over 2,700 yards of offense last season, Kerlegan's a great all-around athlete who will probably project as a safety in college. He says his favorite school is UCLA.

James Lewis, 6-1, 200, Venice (Calif.) High. A good-looking athlete that could play corner, safety or wide receiver, Lewis looked good at various camps this spring. He came to UCLA's spring practice and has the Bruins near the top of his list.   

Craig Steltz, 6-2, 195, Metarie (Louisiana) Archbishop Rummel. An emerging elite player in Louisiana, Steltz is reportedly a big hitter. He a has brother who is a walk on at LSU, and they have to be hard to beat. Steltz claims UCLA has offered.

Bernard Hicks, 5-11, 190, Fresno (Calif.) Edison. Hicks really upped his stock with a very good performance at the NorCal Nike camp.  The Pac-10 is now getting on him, including UCLA. 

Brandon Underwood, 6-1, 170, Hamilton (Ohio) High. Shaping up to be one of the best DB prospect in the midwest, some big programs are starting to jump on Underwood. He's maintained UCLA in his list of favorites. 

Nick Patterson, 6-2, 200, St. Louis (Missouri) Hazelwood East. Coming from a high school that has sent UCLA both Bryan Fletcher and most recently Aaron Whittington, Patterson likes UCLA. 

Brandon Robinson, 6-0, 185, Minneapolis (Minn.) The Breck School. A very good athlete and a good cover corner who is also a good student, Robinson has been offered, according to reports, by Stanford, Vanderbilt, Minnesota and Wisconsin - but he has said his favorite school is UCLA. 

Antoine Cason, 6-0, 165, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. Definitely a prospect to watch, Cason is still young and developing, but he's talented and has very good quickness. 

Chet Sanders, 6-1, 185, Carson (Calif.) High.  Probably one of the best safety prospects in the Los Angeles area, UCLA is on his list. 

Josh Pinkard, 6-0, 185, Oxnard (Calif.) Hueneme.  An interesting prospect with good size, speed and athleticism. He clocked a 4.49 at the SoCal Nike Camp and jumped 35.1 inches.  UCLA is high on his list, and he has said he'd probably go there if they offered.

Keenan Jones, 5-11, 170, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne.  An athlete who has excelled on both sides of the ball, Jones is physical and quick.  He's probably one of the best in the L.A. area.

Dion Morton, 5-9, 170, Riverside (Calif.) North. Twin brother of Damon Morton (who we listed under wide receivers) Dion is a quick-footed athlete that has good cover skills as a cornerback prospect.  

Mike Davis, 6-0, 200, Anaheim (Calif.) Esperanza. Big and physical, Davis has a good nose for the ball as a strong safety and good athleticism. Also a good student, so he's hearing from UCLA and Stanford.

Charles Dillon, 6-0, 170, Oxnard (Calif.) Hueneme.  He's thought of as one of the best corner prospects in California, but didn't run really well at the SoCal Nike Camp.  He's getting Pac-10 interest but said that if UCLA offered, they'd be the clear leader.

Others to Watch:

Mesphin Forrester, 6-1, 185, Venice (Calif.) High
Marcus Everett, 6-1, 190, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade
Uriah Marshall, 6-0, 170, Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep
Ben Hannula, 6-2, 185, Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep
Marqual Miller, 6-0, 175, Lorain (Ohio) Southview
Rodney Cox, 6-0, 180, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral
Chris Green, 5-11, 185, Sylmar (Calif.) High
Brandon Nichols, 5-10, 165, Valencia (Calif.) High
Jared Billups, 6-0, 170, Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard
Adam Hill, 6-0, 185, Anaheim (Calif.) Esperanza
Marty Tadman, 5-11, 175, Mission Viejo (Calif.) High
Chris Camacho, 5-9, 160, Riverside (Calif.) Ramona
Randy Tresvant, 5-9, 175, La Puente (Calif.) Bassett
Chris Meadows, 5-10, 175, Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo
Paul Thomas, 5-9, 170, Pomona (Calif.) High
Chris Palmer, 5-10, 175, Santa Barbara (Calif.) High


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