it's fun, though, to speculate about it, and project out where UCLA could end up in the final Team Recruiting Rankings.
There has never been a time in recent memory, in late December, when UCLA's recruiting was better poised to make a big run to the finish line of Signing Day and culminate such a stellar class.
You'd probably have to go back to 1998 or 1999, when UCLA was in the midst of a 20-4 run over two seasons and ended up signing the #1 and #2 recruiting classes in consecutive years.
And actually, those two recruiting classes might not even rate compared to this one if you're projecting how this class could finish off the recruiting season.
How UCLA Could Finish in the Rankings
The way the 2013 recruiting class is playing out there might not be a program in the country that has a better chance of improving the ranking of its overall recruiting class between now and NSD than UCLA. It's just a confluence of factors that have created a great recruiting situation -- UCLA's good season on the field; the Bruins' coaching staff being very effective recruiters; USC's not-so-good season and the limited number of recruits they can sign due to NCAA sanctions; and the fact that UCLA leads for many highly-rated -- and still uncommitted -- recruits.
Right now, in Scout.com's team recruiting rankings, UCLA has the #10 class in the nation. But doing a fairly educated review of the programs currently listed ahead of the Bruins or relatively close behind them, UCLA is involved with and has a great chance to sign more elite-level prospects (four- and five-star) than just about any other program. UCLA currently has a commitment from one Top 100 player (Myles Jack), but has a good chance at probably five more. It currently has 19 prospects verbally committed and will probably sign upward of 27 or 28. Those next 8 or 9 commitments will probably all be at least four-star prospects that are among the top 50 at their position in the nation. Using Scout.com's formula for how it assigns points to rank the recruiting classes, UCLA could further boost its point total by upward of 2,000. Again, analyzing the other recruiting classes, having a rough idea of the prospects they're involved with and how many more prospects they'll get, and the fact that Scout.com only gives a program credit for its top 25 signed recruits, UCLA could have a very good chance of finishing anywhere from #3 to #8 or so in the national rankings on NSD.
UCLA, too, is very well is on its way to the #1 recruiting class in the Pac-12. USC, which is currently at #5 in the nation, won't be able to improve its point total too dramatically since it's limited in the number of recruits it can sign. Washington, ranked right behind UCLA at #11, already has two more commitments than UCLA, so it will add less players and thus less points, and it isn't involved with as many four-star or better prospects as UCLA. Oregon, which only has 12 commitments and is currently ranked #35, isn't involved with enough elite recruits to finish with a competitive point total.
As I said above, the manner in which UCLA could fill its last 8 or 9 spots could be very impressive.
If you project out, conservatively, that UCLA gets the uncommitted recruits it's leading for, and some things happen that we're getting hints about could happen, then UCLA will fill those final rides with some stellar talent.
UCLA leads for:
Priest Willis, #23 in the nation, 5-Star, #3-ranked CB (297 points)
Tahaan Goodman, #58 in nation, 4-Star, #5-ranked S (215 points)
Johnny Johnson, #72 in the nation, 4-Star, #7-ranked CB (213 points)
UCLA then has a very good chance with:
Isaac Savaiinaea, #42 in the nation, 4-Star, #3-ranked MLB (217 points)
Thomas Duarte, #214 in the nation, 4-Star, #8-ranked TE (212)
Devon Allen, #112 in the nation, 4-Star, #14-ranked WR (206 points)
John Ross, #208 in the nation, 4-Star, #28-ranked WR (192 points)
UCLA is very much in the running for:
Danny Mattingly, TE, 4-Star, #12-ranked TE (208)
Joe Mathis, #144 in the nation, 4-Star, #15-ranked DE (205)
Jermaine Kelly, #194 in the nation, 4-Star, #22-ranked CB (198)
Terrell Newby, #196 in the nation, 4-Star, #24-ranked RB (196)
Cornelius Elder, 4-Star, #36-ranked RB (184)
Then, there is the Holy Grail:
Eddie Vanderdoes, #8 in the nation, 5-Star, #2-ranked DT (298)
Conservatively, again, let's say that UCLA gets Willis, Goodman and Johnson: 725 Points.
Let's say it gets two among the four "good chance" guys, that would be approximately 413 points.
Let's say it conservatively gets two from the five "Very Much in the Running" Guys: 396 points.
And then, for for the piece de resistance, let's throw in Vanderdoes: 298.
That's eight more recruits, with a point total worth 1832.
UCLA currently has a point total of 2916 on 19 recruits. But then if you add in these additional 8 recruits, you then have to cut from the list the bottom two committed to UCLA in terms of rankings, Darren Andrews and Sean Covington. They fall off the list of players used to formulate the point total since it only values the top 25 committed recruits. So you subtract their combined point total of 60.
Then, I have it on good authority that committed OL Poasi Moala could be getting a fourth star and move up in the OT rankings, which would boost his point total from 103 to probably around 190. So that's an additional 87 points.
There is also the chance that 4-star recruits like Jack, Savaiinaea, or Goodman leap up to 5-star status, which garners 80 points just for that move.
And this isn't even considering four-star players (and the point totals they represent) like Carl Lawson, (#11 DE), Naim Mustafaa (#20 DE), Elijah Qualls (#12 DT), and Tyler Foreman (#8 S). We know that Lawson, Mustafaa and Qualls all intend to officially visit UCLA.
Do the math we figured above, and UCLA finishes with approximately 4775.
We're not going to take you through each individual program and the projected point totals, but suffice it to say we picked the well-versed brain of Brandon Huffman for the loose point projections. We took into consideration the number of recruits each program had remaining to get to 25 and the level of recruits each program was still involved with.
In that projected final ranking, UCLA finished ranked 4th in the nation, behind Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and just about tied with Alabama.
That's pretty lofty company.
In other words, get prepared for what looks to be shaping up as a spectacular run for UCLA recruiting from here to the finish line of National Signing Day.