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.
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.
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.
Rodney Van, 6-0, 170, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. One of the best athletes in the west, with blazing sprinter speed and great agility. He's probably the #1 corner prospect in the west and among the best in the country. Van has had UCLA as his leader for a while, but the Bruins will probably have to get through a long recruitment with him. A List.
Bryan Payton, 6-0, 185, Covina (Calif.) South Hills. 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 is all over him. UCLA recently offered and the Bruins are the clear leader. Payton said he probably won't wait too long to make a decision. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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