The new UCLA coaching staff provided the camp so much energy that, even despite the lack of talent participating, it was a highly successful camp. When you have a coach like Demetrice Martin, who doesn't have much to do at a lineman camp besides hanging out and providing colorful, encouraging commentary, along with offensive line coach Adrian Klemm coaching up the campers, as well as all the other very energetic UCLA coaches, it makes for a dynamic camp.
In terms of the talent, there was only a handful of legitimate prospects. Perhaps the most talented was 2014 defensive end Soloman Thomas, from Coppell (Tex.) High. Thomas, who recently received a UCLA scholarship offer, is about 6-2, 240, and showed off nice athleticism and quickness, in both the individual drills and one-on-ones. The UCLA coaches were spending a great deal of time with him, during the camp and on the sideline talking him up.
Thomas was the only prospect that participated in the camp that had a UCLA offer.
There were other talented players in attendance -- with a UCLA offer -- but they didn't participate: UCLA-commited OL Sean Dowling from Fallbrook (Calif.), top OL target Nico Falah from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, and 2014 OL Viane Talamaivoa from Corona Centennial.
Dowling had just attended the USC Lineman Camp earlier in the day, but we heard he is very set on his UCLA commitment, and he looked it, talking with the coaches and chumming with Falah. Falah, too, looked very comfortable with the coaching staff. We also heard some indications that Talamaivoa really likes UCLA.
Perhaps the next most talented player without an offer -- that did participate in the camp -- was offensive lineman Cameron Hunt, a teammate of Talamaivoa's at Corona Centennial. Hunt chose the UCLA camp over the USC camp, thinking that he had a more realistic chance of getting a UCLA offer. Physically Hunt has a ways to go, at about 6-4 and 250-ish. There might be some question as to how much weight he could actually put on, too, with fairly narrow shoulders and a smaller frame. He started off the camp slowly, looking just okay in the agility and strength drills, but then he really came on during the one-on-ones, particularly in what they call the Battle of the Bruins drill. It's a game where one team is made up of two blockers and one ball-carrier, and they have to keep a pass-rushing defender away from the ballcarrier for 10 seconds without double-teaming him. Hunt was an animal in this drill, on both the blocking and pass-rushing side, using very good technique, toughness and a particular mean streak to shut down his opponents consistently. Hunt's team won the Bruin-on-Bruin competition.
We talked to Hunt after the camp (we'll have the interview coming soon), and he said he was encouraged by what Coach Klemm told him after the camp about a potential scholarship offer.
Ray Davison is a DE/LB from Encino Crespi that, here, in this environment, when matched up against bigger offensive linemen, was just too athletic and quick to be contained in one-on-ones. Davison is probably 6-2+ and about 210 pounds, and projects as an outside linebacker, so he had an advantage going up against offensive tackles.
Other potential prospects of note:
Jacob Alsadek, OL, 6-6, 300, Encinitas (Calif.) Torrey Pines, had some impressive moments. He showed decently quick feet for his size in the drills, but was only fair in his flexibility and knee bend. In the one-on-ones he struggled some to stay in front of his pass rusher, but sometimes, when he had leverage, had the strength and long arms to overpower them. He suffered a pretty bloody nose in the one-on-ones and sat for a good portion of the camp. He's someone to watch.
Garrett Hughes, DE, 6-2, 225, Corona (Calif.) Centennial, was also part of the the championship-winning Battle of the Bruins team, and had a good motor and toughness.
Ricky Vichot, OL, 6-4, 260, 2014, Downey Warren. Had a good body and frame, and moved fairly well for his size.
Austin Kurke, 6-5, 215, DE, 2014, El Segundo (Calif.). Good body, wide shoulders, the kind of frame that could easily add weight, and he moved well and showed good toughness.
We'll have interviews with Dowling and Talamaivoa also coming soon.