The looming problem might be scholarship availability. UCLA currently has 19 verbal commitments, and could very well take upward of 28-30 in the 2013 class. How could they do that, given the limitations on scholarships in any given recruiting year and overall in the program? Geting under the 85-scholarship overall limit isn't that difficult to pull off, since by the time all of the recruits are actually enrolled there is usually room due to medical redshirts and transfers. Jim Mora and his staff didn't have much of a problem finding scholarships last fall to get under that limit of 85. Getting under the limit of 25 scholarships given out per year is a bit more of challenge, and UCLA will probably have to have some early entrants and gray shirts to make it happen.
On the offensive side of the recruiting picture for 2013, UCLA has 12 (or 13 depending on whether you count Mossi Johnson a wide receiver or defensive back) commitments, and obviously looks very good in its offensive line recruiting. You can probably expect UCLA to take upward of six more offensive commitments, mostly in filling out its receiver class.
If there has been one weakness for UCLA in this class, it's at quarterback. Whether it was taking a commitment from an out-of-state quarterback who later parted ways with UCLA, to the misevaluation that led to taking his commitment when there were better, local options, UCLA now finds themselves with very little time, and very little options.
Troy Williams, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne. Williams is the guy we referred to above, the better local option that UCLA missed on last spring when they easily could have had him, and then he verbally committed to Washington. Three UCLA coaches went to his game last Friday and UCLA has contacted him. We've heard UCLA has a slim chance, and more than likely he'll remain committed to UDub. UCLA is up against it, too, in terms of time, since Williams is graduating early and plans to enroll in Washington within a few weeks. Offered.
Hayden Rettig, Los Angeles Cathedral. Rettig is verbally committed to LSU, but UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has stayed in contact with him. We've heard there's a chance UCLA could flip him, but probably not a good one.
***We anticipate that UCLA quarterback recruiting could be very fluid between now and Signing Day, and there could be a number of names that you hear bandied about in that time.
UCLA got one of the best in the West in the 2013 class, and they offered one of the fastest rising backs in the state, and is doing very well with him. They also have a versatile prospect in Ortiz, who could play running back or receiver.
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. Given the loss of Johnathan Franklin, he'll be expected to come in and immediately compete in 2013.
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 had the season that Newby had. He ran for 360 yards and eight touchdowns in a game, and that clearly caught the attention of UCLA, who'd been watching him this fall, and offered him not long after. Cal was a threat for him, but with Ron Gould's departure, likely won't be a serious candidate. Nebraska and UCLA are the two schools that Newby said are recruiting him the hardest, and we've heard the Huskers are the favorite, but UCLA is making up ground. Oregon and Washington are also very much in the mix. Offered.
Cornelius Elder, Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth. The shifty tailback has offers from Nebraska, Ohio State and Tennessee. He took an official visit to UCLA in November and has one scheduled with Mississippi in January. Offered.
Peyton Barber, Alpharetta (Georgia) Milton. UCLA has been recruiting the well-built Mississippi commit, just this week having an in-home visit with him. Offered.
Other Running Backs to Watch
Gerard Wicks, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
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. Which is making their recent push into Texas for Massington important.
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.
Darren Andrews, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. COMMITTED. One of the faster players in the West, Andrews was a longtime Duke commit until UCLA offered him in early November, which came from his uncle, receivers coach Eric Yarber. Andrews thought about it for a couple of weeks and then popped for the Bruins after the USC game.
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 visited Washington officially last weekend. This weekend, UCLA will host Ross on an official visit, which will be his last, and they hope to make a big, closing impression with him. Offered.
Eldridge Massington, Mesquite (Texas). A longtime commit to USC, Massington found out last week he would not be able to enroll early with the Trojans. So he decommitted, and early this week, he took an official visit to UCLA. Massington is an interesting prospect, because he's an elite, fast receiver who suffered a knee injury that robbed him of his senior season, and he's been adamant that he wants to enroll early, so he did a mid-week visit to UCLA, instead of a weekend one, because he needs to get the ball rolling on getting admitted. He'll visit Arizona State this weekend, and he tripped to Alabama last week. What helps UCLA is his initial desire to go to school in Los Angeles. Offered.
Julius Wilson, Culver City (Calif.). Wilson is a player that UCLA has been high on for some time, and UCLA was close to offering for much of the spring and summer. They visited the school last week, and Wilson was offered. He had some academic roadblocks, but has cleared those up, and now boasts an offer from UCLA. He'll visit San Diego State this weekend. Offered.
TIGHT END (Y RECEIVER)
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. 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).
Ammon Barker, Sandy (Utah) Alta. COMMITTED. Barker camped at UCLA during the summer and was offered in October. He committed in early November, and will come in and play the Y spot; Barker took his official visit to UCLA the weekend of the SC game, and said the trip confirmed that UCLA is the spot for him. He's a guy with mid-major offers that some scouts have said is better than those offers. This will be one of those instances where it will show how good this UCLA coaching staff is at evaluating -- if Barker proves that he was an under-recruited prospect or not.
Thomas Duarte, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. UCLA has been on Duarte for some time, with Tuiasosopo attending a couple of games and being at the school last week. Duarte's mom attended UCLA and Duarte was at Junior Day and loved his time there. He was also at the UCLA-Stanford game late in the year. Duarte seems to be focused on UCLA, Washington and Oregon as well as Notre Dame. Offered.
Danny Mattingly, Spokane (Wash.) Mead. UCLA has been heavily recruiting Mattingly for some time. He was committed to Notre Dame, but decommitted last week. While committed to Notre Dame, though, he visited UCLA officially, the weekend of the Stanford game. He can play on both sides of the ball, but UCLA is recruiting him as a tight end. Tuiasosopo is expected to have an in-home with him this week.Offered.
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, and they've made that clear to him. He was supposed to visit officially this weekend, but had to reschedule due to family issues. Offered.
Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm has done a magnficient job in securing what Scout.com is, at this point, calling the nation's #1 offensive line recruiting class (Scout.com's OL Recruiting Class Rankings). With eight commitments, and a good balance of prospects that project as tackles and guards, Klemm is essentialy done in recruitng. Well, at least in getting new commitments. Now he has to work hard to keep all eight in the fold all the way until Signing Day.
In addition, Lacy Westbrook is expected to enroll in January.
Caleb Benenoch, Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes. COMMITTED. Right now, Benenoch may be Klemm's best recruiting job, going into the Lone Star State and taking a kid with offers from Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Baylor. Especially when you consider that UCLA just offered him at the beginning of the season, and not in the spring like the others. At this point, it's safe to say he's the crown jewel of a stellar lineman class.
Alex Redmond, Los Alamitos (Calif.). COMMITTED. Redmond was a player that liked UCLA early on, but when he didn't get an offer, turned his attention elsewhere. He eventually committed to Oregon, then out of the blue, decommitted from the Ducks five months later. UCLA pounced on it, bringing Redmond in for the Stanford game. They offered him last week at his in-home and he jumped on it.
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, and with a new coach in and wanting to make the state a priority, you can bet Morris will be a player they target. UCLA is continuing to focus on Morris.
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 this fall, and visited Washington State the weekend before, but Dowling is solid to the Bruins.
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 also visit Michigan this weekend and potentially Vanderbilt and Ohio State next month.
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 fall. 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. There are some who believe that, after seeing him during his senior season, that the athletic Moala could be the most under-rated and potentialy best in the class.