There has already been some attrition this offseason with players leaving the program that still had eligibility (Iuta Tepa and Chris Ward among others), so when players leave, that leaves more scholarships for UCLA to give in the 2013 class. There is also the uncertainty of some 2012 signees, like Jeremy Castro, who will take the ACT this weekend to achieve a qualifying test score, and Lacy Westbrook, who had some health issues after signing. And it appears that Javon Williams and UCLA have parted ways as well.
Right now, UCLA has 17 verbals, with nine on offense, six on defense and one on special teams. Like we said in the preseason, UCLA would need to have some more scholarships come February, and they're already on track for that.
UCLA will probably fill out a class of 22 or 23 but are recruiting as if they'll sign 25.
Here is a look at where UCLA stands with their top defensive targets.
With a redshirt freshman starting at quarterback and three true freshman on the roster, UCLA could very well not take a quarterback in this class. They had a commitment from Eddie Printz, an ill-fated decision to take him, when they had more talented local prospects they could have and should have pursued. Now, with UCLA and Printz parting ways in September, it's a little late to get an elite quarterback. So UCLA may opt to not take a quarterback, especially if Devin Fuller returns back to quarterback for the 2013 season.
Darryl Richardson, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood. UCLA has offered Richardson, though they like him as a receiver or tight end (likely as a Y), but his heart is at quarterback. If he came to UCLA, he would likely be destined for the inside receiver, sooner rather than later, but they could give him a shot, initially, at quarterback.
Other Running Backs to Watch
Kelly Hilinski, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
UCLA got one of the best in the West in the 2013 class, and they recently offered one of the fastest rising backs in the state.
Craig Lee, Redlands (Calif.) COMMITTED. One of the top prospects in the Inland Empire, Lee got an offer from UCLA in January, but got his first offer from Washington, from then-coach Demetrice Martin, and Martin has continued to recruit him now that he's with the Bruin staff, as has Steve Broussard, who's the running backs coach and recruits the Inland Empire. Ten of the 12 Pac-12 schools have offered, but UCLA got him in the summer, a huge pickup for the Bruins, as he's the #2 running back in the Golden State. He's been stellar this season.
Jalen Ortiz, Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial COMMITTED. Ortiz plays running back, but UCLA wants to bring him in as a slot, playing the same spot that Steven Manfro/Kenny Walker player, and Ortiz could also return kicks and punts.
Terrell Newby, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade. Few backs in the golden state have been having the season that Newby has. He ran for 360 yards and eight touchdowns in his last game, and clearly caught the attention of UCLA, who'd been watching him this fall. Even before he was offered, he was raving about his relationship with Steve Broussard, and Broussard and the Bruins offered him on Thursday. Now Newby is saying he's going to wait on making a decision and the Bruins are most definitely in the mix for him. Offered.
Other Running Backs to Watch
Khalfani Muhammad, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Its been painful to watch Brandin Cooks play how he has at Oregon State, especially considering he was UCLA's first commit in the 2011 class. But that's what the pistol offense did to receiver recruiting. And its why getting a bunch of good receivers in this class is so important. Having said that, UCLA doesn't have much traction with top receivers out West, and though they have a commitment from one player who will likely end up here (Johnson), they need much, much more.
Mossi Johnson, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. COMMITTED. A two-way threat, Johnson is listed as a safety by Scout, but he's likely going to end up on offense when he gets to UCLA. He's been great on both sides of the ball for the Cougars this fall, with a handful of interceptions (including two against Oaks Christian which preceded his offer, and commitment, to UCLA). But his versatility, and UCLA's need for receivers, will likely put him on offense. OFFERED.
Devon Allen, Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep. The top receiver in Arizona, Allen has made no bones about UCLA being on his extremely short list, and everything we've heard is that they lead, heavily. Jalen Ortiz, in fact, has said Allen is the number one player he's recruiting out of Arizona to UCLA. Allen took an unofficial in September and returned for his official visit for the Utah game. UCLA would love to get a commitment for him and are doing extremely well with him. OFFERED
John Ross, Long Beach (Calif.) Jordan. Ross has been one of UCLA's primary targets for some time. He's visited Oregon officially and unofficially visited to Washington, and has been to a UCLA game, and those are the top three. UCLA definitely has to keep working on Ross, who's leaning towards leaving the state, but being the hometown school gives them a punchers chance. OFFERED
Dominique Hatfield, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. Hatfield had been under-the-radar when Utah offered him earlier this month, and then he committed. On Thursday, they offered Hatfield, who, like his teammate Johnson, can play on both sides of the ball. While he said he's still committed to Utah, you can bet the local offer, and a teammate being already committed, can help the Bruins. OFFERED.
Sebastian LaRue, Santa Monica (Calif.). A highly skilled two-way athlete, LaRue committed to USC in June, but with their tight numbers crunch, and the likelihood that they will move him to corner, LaRue could end up opening things up. He's already planning to take some official visits, but UCLA could be cooling on him. OFFERED.
The days of the traditional tight end might be gone at UCLA, with the move to the "Y" position by Joe Fauria and Marques Tuiasosopo being called the "Inside Receivers" coach as much as tight ends coach. The players they've offered at this position are more in the pass-catching tight end mold (think Ryan Moya) rather than the sixth lineman (think Cory Harkey).
Thomas Duarte, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. For the first time in recent memory, Mater Dei didn't have a player sign with an FBS school. Duarte will make sure that doesn't happen in the 2013 class, already holding a UCLA offer and attending numerous games last fall. His mom attended UCLA and Duarte was at Junior Day and loved his time there. USC was his favorite school growing up, not uncommon for Mater Dei players, especially with two of his teammates playing for the Trojans, and while they haven't offered, they're still on his short list, along with Oregon, who offered during the summer. The other three schools in his top five include Notre Dame, Washington and UCLA, all who've offered. OFFERED.
Other Tight Ends to Watch
Siale Fakailoantonga, Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood
With Adrian Klemm now coaching the offensive line, the Bruins have their best recruiter on offense, and probably their best offensive line recruiter, in well, a long time. He's the polar opposite from Bob Palcic, his predecessor, who was not much of a recruiter at all (although, to his credit, he was instrumental in landing Xavier Su'a-Filo the first time). UCLA didn't bring in a lot of offensive linemen in 2012, in what was a banner year for the position, but they got their most important recruit back in Su'a-Filo. Now Klemm will have had a whole year to recruit this position, instead of less then a month, and he's already off to a good start, with seven linemen committed. That said, the attrition of linemen, and the need for more instant impact, is evident, so he may not be done recruiting at this position.
Christian Morris, Memphis (Tenn.) East. COMMITTED. Morris is probably UCLA's biggest priority on the offensive line- keeping his commitment, while fending off Nebraska, Oklahoma and Ole Miss. Plus, there is always Tennessee, if a new coach comes in and wants to make the state a priority, you can bet Morris will be a player they target. Klemm went to Tennessee last weekend to see Morris, so it's clear they know they've got to continue to show him the love.
Sean Dowling, Fallbrook (Calif.). COMMITTED. Dowling was first offered by Colorado but then took a trip to UCLA for the Bruins' Junior Day and was one of a select few to leave with an offer. Dowling has a 4.1 GPA too, so academics are a big deal for him, and the time in Westwood left a good impression on him. About a month later, Dowling committed to the Bruins, and gave them their second tackle prospect in this class. Oklahoma offered late in spring and he visited there last weekend, and visited Washington State the weekend before, and plans to visit Oregon State and Vanderbilt, but he's said since he committed, he was going to take all five visits.
John Lopez, Orange (Calif.) Orange Lutheran. COMMITTED. Lopez was offered by the previous UCLA staff before he ever played a down of varsity football. He has lived up to it too, with a number of other offers. He was in Westwood for the Bruins' Junior Day and said it was a completely different atmosphere than what he was first introduced to. After a so-so junior year, he re-shaped his body and had a good showing at the SoCal NFTC and The Opening and is having an excellent senior season. This summer, Lopez's recruitment came full circle, and he committed to UCLA a little over two years after first being offered.
Kenny Lacy, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe. COMMITTED. The top offensive lineman in Arizona, Lacy was collecting offers from all over the country and while it appeared that Lacy and UCLA weren't on the same page, that changed in late summer, and UCLA shot to the top of his list. Lacy took an official visit to UCLA when they played Nebraska, and committed the day after he got home. He has visited Nebraska and will visit Oklahoma next month, but he said he's solid to the Bruins.
Scott Quessenberry, Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon. COMMITTED. Another one of UCLA's top targets, Quessenberry was not really feeling UCLA during the summer, but towards the end of summer, and at the beginning of fall, UCLA got right back in it, and he eventually committed to UCLA earlier this month. Quessenberry, an UnderArmour All-American, is one of the top center prospects in the country, and he will play that spot at UCLA.
Poasi Moala, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde. COMMITTED. Moala was offered by UCLA in June, and then committed to Washington a couple of days later. That said, UCLA's proximity to home, and Moala's own comments after he committed, had UCLA thinking they still had a chance, and Moala ended up flipping his verbal to UCLA in September. Washington is still trying with Moala, but the hometown flavor that UCLA offers is going to be tough to overcome.
Erik Bunte, Mission Viejo (Calif.). COMMITTED. Much has been made of Bunte. He transferred from Santa Margarita to Mission Viejo, and while he's saying he's committed to UCLA, it's uncertain if he will, in fact, sign with UCLA in February. He hasn't, though, publicly decommitted.
Cameron Hunt, Corona (Calif.) Centennial. Hunt said after the Cal-UCLA game, he was solid to the Bears, but after they got blown out by Stanford, and the tenuous position of Jeff Tedford in Berkeley could make Hunt second guess his decision down the road. UCLA is still in it, and still recruiting him, so Tedford's job status will be a huge determining factor here. OFFERED.
Donovan Munger, Shaker Heights (Ohio). Munger is a four-star defensive tackle, but with Klemm recruiting him, he's a guy that UCLA could bring in as a general lineman. His first spot would be on defense, but the OL, much like Kevin McReynolds, isn't out of the question entirely. Munger will visit UCLA officially for the USC game. OFFERED.
Caleb Benenoch, Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes. Benenoch has quite a bit of interest in the Big 12, and primarily, in the Midlands, including in-state Texas and Texas A&M, but UCLA finds themselves in his top five, and will be getting an official visit out of him. Before Klemm went to see Morris, he was in Texas checking in on Benenoch. OFFERED.