Analysis: 2013 Football Recruiting

It's July and UCLA has 11 (or 10) commitments so far from some high-quality 2013 prospects, which puts it in a very good position heading into the 2012 season...

UCLA, at this point in its 2013 football recruiting, is in very good shape.

There are some pockets of concern, but overall the UCLA staff has accomplished quite a bit already with the 2013 class and is in a very good position heading into the 2012 season.

As of right now, UCLA has 11 commitments, but if you're considering the number in regard to how many they can take on their roster and remain under the NCAA limit of 85, we'll call it 10. We're not counting the commitment of receiver Inoke Lotulelei, since he plans on taking his Mormon Mission right out of high school, won't enroll in the fall of 2013 and, therefore, doesn't count.

With 10 committed, then, UCLA will probably fill out a class of 22 or 23.

They'll need to have 4 or 5 scholarships come available by Signing Day in February, but there is always natural attrition through injury and transfer, and that doesn't seem like too far-fetched of a number.

Having 10 commitments on its way to a class of 22 or 23, in July, is a good place to be. You wouldn't want to be filled up at this point, because so many things can change. There is a legitimate possibility that UCLA will have a successful to very successful season, and you'd want 12 of 13 more to give. If UCLA, say, doesn't have a clear-cut successful season, it's still in good striking distance to finish off the class well.

And keep in mind UCLA is a program that has basically played .500 ball for a decade, so the fact that UCLA has 10 commitments, from generally high-ranked prospects, is an accomplishment for the coaching staff.

As a poster on the BRO Football Premium Forum, shoothehorse, pointed out, UCLA's 2013 recruiting class is ranked 19th in the nation, with a star average of 3.36. Jermaine Kelly, a UCLA commitment, will get bumped up to four stars in the next Scout.com ranking readjustment, and not counting Lotulelei, that will raise UCLA's star average to 3.70, which would put UCLA in a virtual tie for 4th-highest average with Texas and Ohio State (they both are currently at 3.71). Only USC, Michigan and Notre Dame are averaging more stars per committed prospect in the nation.

Now, of course, you can't put too much stock in star rankings and star averages, but it illustrates a point: UCLA is doing exceptionally well in getting commitments from a high-quality of recruit for 2013.

And like I said above, it still has the potential to even bump up its quality of recruiting for the remaining 12-13 rides it has to give if UCLA has a good 2012 season.

Here's a breakdown of what UCLA has done and what it can do in recruiting position-by-position.

QUARTERBACK
UCLA To Take: 1
Committed: 1

We've analyzed Eddie Printz, the three-star quarterback from Georgia who is verbally committed to UCLA, enough at this point. We at Scout.com think Printz, while clearly a great kid and a hard worker, is aptly ranked as a three-star prospect -- that is, he projects to being a back-up Pac-12 quarterback. On one hand, UCLA probably could have done better at the position for 2013, especially in its own backyard. And as of right now, looking a couple of years down the line at the UCLA roster, there's a big question mark as to whom is going to sufficiently fill the role of a competent back-up to Brett Hundley from the group of Jerry Neuheisel, T.J. Millweard, Devin Fuller or Printz. On the other hand, Printz has some qualities -- like size, poise and a grasp of offensive concepts -- that might give him a chance to go beyond our expectation. UCLA made a deal to not recruit other quarterbacks if Printz agreed to not look elsewhere, and we'll only know if it was a good deal a few years from now.

RUNNING BACK
UCLA to take: 2
Committed: 1

Keyante Green, the Georgia running back committed to UCLA, is a solid get. With UCLA taking two running backs, it probably would have been too difficult for the Bruins to get two highly-elite tailback prospects in the 2013 class, so having one solid one while still having one more scholarship open for a potentially elite prospect is a good spot to be in by July.

The word is that UCLA is doing well with Craig Lee from Redlands, and if UCLA got a commitment from him they'd close the books on 2013 running back recruiting. But, you never know what could happen with the season -- the tailback spot -- particularly Johnathan Franklin -- could look very good in Noel Mazzone's offense and it could attract more talent. So, again, with 1 commitment and 1 to give, UCLA looks to be in a good spot in its running back recruiting.

WIDE RECEIVER
UCLA to take: 2
Committed: 0

When we said there were pockets of concern with 2013 recruiting this would be one of them.

UCLA's new offense is highly dependent on a huge stable of receivers. It got a big number of receiver types in the 2012 class, but that group also had a decent degree of uncertainty in terms of their chances to pan out. So, it's critical UCLA get two very good receivers in 2013. Regrettably, though, as it's been much discussed on the BRO message board, wide receiver recruiting for 2013, so far, has been a bit distressing. Many elite west coast prospects have either committed elsewhere or stopped looking at UCLA -- many of whom were considering UCLA very seriously back in early spring. One one hand, it's good UCLA only needs to bring in two receivers for 2013. You'd think if UCLA has a good season that it wouldn't be difficult to find two elite prospects. On the other hand, it's distressing, like I said, that UCLA's targets have dwindled so much at this point.

If UCLA could get an early commitment from John Ross, the prospect from Long Beach Jordan, it would go a very long way to allaying worries about receiver recruiting for 2013. It then wouldn't look nearly as distressing to only have to find one more elite prospect by Signing Day in February.

If we had to name one receiver prospect to watch, it'd have to be Joshua Taylor, the prospect from Los Angeles Franklin who looked very good in the recent 7-on-7 at UCLA, in front of UCLA coaches.

While the seemingly lackluster work in receiver recruiting is worrisome, ultimately, though, if the receivers look good in Mazzone's offense this fall finding two of them probably won't be that difficult.

TIGHT END OR Y
UCLA to take: 1
Committed: 0

In Mazzone's offense it's a position where you have some flexibility in terms of what type of player you can plug into it. You can use a more-traditional tight end type, like Joseph Fauria or Ian Taubler, or you could use someone that's a tight end/receiver hybrid type, more like Ryan Mora. Heck, Darius Bell, a 5-11 converted quarterback, looked good at the position in spring practice merely because he showed good hands.

UCLA's target for the spot is Thomas Duarte, the prospect from Santa Ana Mater Dei, and if they got him they would close the books on Y recruiting. If they didn't get him, they could possibly opt for a third receiver -- a bigger type -- to fill the role for 2013. Because of that, and the fact that it's not a traditional tight end spot where you definitely need one -- if not two or three -- players at the position who can really block -- it makes it easier to fill for 2013.

OFFENSIVE LINE
UCLA To Take: 5
Committed: 3

UCLA recruiting under OL Coach Adrian Klemm is really in a perfect spot for July. It needs 5 players, and it already has commitments from 3 guys it clearly wanted and targeted. I think that if UCLA only had 2 commitments, I'd be a little uneasy that UCLA had to find three more high-quality prospects, and if UCLA had 4 commitments, I'd feel there wasn't enough scholarship availability to accommodate a potential wave of interest if UCLA's offense -- and its offensive line -- look good in 2012.

If UCLA can look good in 2012, Klemm will have a very good chance of finishing off the last two spots with elite prospects. Heck, he very well could get the go-ahead from Jim Mora to take 6 if there's another elite prospect who wants to jump in the boat.

DEFENSIVE LINE
UCLA to Take: 2-3
Commitments: 1

UCLA getting the commitment of Kenneth Clark is a huge one, perhaps one of the biggest commitments so far for UCLA with the 2013 class. UCLA is pretty deep at DL on its roster for the near future and it was looking like it could be difficult to attract elite talent. Plus, UCLA's D-line play hasn't exactly been stellar the last few years. New DL Coach Angus McClure, while he doesn't have experience coaching the position, showed Clark that he knew what he was doing at the UCLA Lineman Camp, and that helped spur Clark's commitment. That puts D-line recruiting in a very good spot going into the season, being able to sit back and watch and be selective for that last available spot. It's not a big stretch to think UCLA's talented DL will have a good season, too, so that could help to attract more talent. While it seems like some DL talent on the west coast has looked elsewhere, they could turn back to UCLA as a result of the season. And with Clark on board, having to fill just one more slot puts UCLA D-line recruiting in a good position.

LINEBACKERS
UCLA to Take: 3-4
Commitments: 3

Going into the 2013 recruiting season you would have looked at linebacker and thought it was one of the few most pressing positions of need on the projected roster. Especially after going to a 3-4, UCLA just didn't look very well stocked for the next several years. But then Linebacker Coach Jeff Ulbrich started going to work and (along with some connections from Mora on Myles Jack), has pulled in a truly great LB recruiting class -- and he might not be done.

UCLA's three committed linebackers, Deon Hollins, Jack and Cameron Judge, are ranked #13, #18 and #22 as outside linebackers in Scout.com's rankings. Even if it just holds with that lineup, that will put UCLA among the best linebacker recruiting classes in the nation.

That is easily the biggest accomplishment of the 2013 recruiting season so far, and goes a very long way to making UCLA's recruiting effort a successful one -- doing so overwhelmingly well at a big position of need.

And, as we said, UCLA might not be done. If an elite prospect wants to jump in the boat we've heard there is still room for UCLA to take a fourth linebacker.

CORNERBACKS
UCLA to Take: 2-3
Commitments: 1

SAFETY
UCLA to take: 2
Commitments: 0

UCLA will graduate four of its top five defensive backs after this season, so it's key it loads up in 2013 with some talent. Among those five it will lose two (Sheldon Price, Aaron Hester), and you could count it as three (Andrew Abbott), cornerbacks. That leaves UCLA's cornerback situation young and not very deep.

But if there's a man for the job it's UCLA Coach Demetrice Martin. With how excellent many of the coaches on the new staff have been recruiting, Martin might be leading the pack, being responsible for both Jeremy Castro and Ellis McCarthy in 2012, and consistently being mentioned among the 2013 recruits as the UCLA coach that is so effective in recruiting them. Martin, so far, was key in getting a commitment from a great all-around athlete in Jermaine Kelly, and he has his sites set on completing the DB class in a big fashion, targeting the group of Priest Willis (#3-ranked CB), Tahaan Goodman (#5-ranked safety), Hatari Byrd (#8-ranked safety) and L.J. Moore (#20-ranked cornerback). Martin also has a chance with Johnny Johnson (#5-ranked cornerback) and Tyler Foreman (#21-ranked safety).

The feeling is that Byrd will verbally commit pretty soon, and UCLA leads for Moore. UCLA is in a very good spot for Goodman and Willis, who have said they're going together to college, and if UCLA has a good showing in the secondary in 2012 it's thought Westwood will be their destination.

That class -- Willis, Goodman, Byrd, Moore and Kelly -- would easily be among the best DB classes in the country.

PUNTER
UCLA to take: 1
Commitments: 0

LONGSNAPPER
UCLA to take: 0-1?
Commitments: 0

It's still pretty much accepted that UCLA intends to give a scholarship to a punter for 2013, since it would be without one once Jeff Locke graduates. It did get a verbal commitment from a longsnapper, Cole Mazza, until he switched his commitment to Alabama. The thought now is that UCLA will probably utilize just a walk-on at the position, unless a truly elite longsnapper emerges in the 2013 class.


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