UCLA Perspective on L.A. Nike Camp

We run down and evaluate the UCLA prospects and targets at Sunday's SoCal NIKE Camp, including quarterback Kyle Allen, defensive tackle Ainuu Taua, and some new names...

The SoCal NIKE Camp took place Sunday at Redondo Union High School, and there were plenty of UCLA prospects on hand. Here are the ones that stood out.

QUARTERBACK

Kyle Allen, 6-2, 195, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain. Allen is ranked the #4 quarterback prospect in the nation, and he lived up to the hype. He's good-sized, might even be a little taller than 6-2, and has a good frame, and has filled out well, and could easily fill out more. His mechanics are advanced, his footwork is smooth and deliberate and, more than anything, he throws a very strong, accurate spiral almost effortlessly. He won the QB MVP of the camp, and he was probably the #1 prospect overall. He was supposed to swing by UCLA on his way out of town for an unofficial visit. We have an interview on the way.

Morgan Mahalak, 6-3, 200, Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic. Mahalak has good size and moved fairly well for that size. His throwing motion is a bit hitched, taking the ball back and releasing it at a little bit of an awkard angle, and he had just decent arms strength. Interview coming.

Brandon Dawkins, 6-4, 215, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. He has a great body, with a good frame, which you could see eventually holding 235 pounds easily, and combines that with good athleticism. His throwing motion is still a bit long, even though it's improved, but he didn't throw with the accuracy of others Sunday.

Brady White, 6-1, 180, Newhall (Calif.) Hart. White is a good-looking sophomore, with an easy motion, and he probably was the second-most accurate on the day. He threw a deep out to a receiver that was tightly covered and laid it softly in his hands. Physically you have to hope he gets a bit bigger, since he might be on the smaller side of 6-1, has a bit of a narrow frame, and hasn't gotten much bigger in the last six months. His dad is a UCLA alumni, and we'll have an interview with him coming up.

Josh Rosen, 6-3, 200, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. A big, wide-shouldered kid with a strong arm that could zip it without much effort. He had a nice, quick motion and the ball came out of his hand very well. If there's a concern, he didn't appear to be a particularly elite athlete and he's already well-built, and you'd be worried that he might fill out too much by the time he graduates from high school. But he's definitely a potential high-major quarterback prospect.

Bryce Perkins, 6-3, 185, Chandler (Ariz.). Perkins, the 2015 prospect and the younger brother of UCLA freshman tailback Paul Perkins, is a big, good-looking athlete but, by the way he throws the ball, is probably not a quarterback on the college level.

RUNNING BACK

Royce Freeman, 6-0, 210, Imperial (Calif.) High. Freeman might have been the most anticipated guy to see Sunday, since he has some exceptional offers, but we hadn't seen him recently and had to question the competition he plays against at Imperial (the high school of Bruins Robert Thomas and Christian Ramirez). But he proved he was worthy, combining a very well-built body with very good quickness. He was probably the biggest running back at the camp and among the quickest in the drills. In one drill where he had to run through a couple of pads, while the other running backs were making slapping sounds on the pads, his were thunderous thuds. In some RB/LB one-on-one stuff he didn't look like he had that much shake, but in the passing one-on-ones he got off the ball really quickly and had a very nice catching technique. He'd be the bigger, workhorse ball carrier in your backfield.

Demario Richard, 5-9, 185, Palmdale (Calif.). Richard isn't a slight 5-9, but well put-together, with some room for more. He looked just okay in the drills, without as good of feet as you might have expected. In the RB/LB drill he looked a bit better, even in a very small space being able to display some moves. He was probably best in the pass-blocking drills, where he completely dominated every linebacker he went up against.

D.J. Riggins, 5-11, 175, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. Riggins has looked good in recent events, and did so here again, showing some very good quickness and ability to get away from tacklers and, in passing drills, get separation. He might be a F-back type, because he probably doesn't have the frame to carry enough weight to be an every down back. His quick feet truly set him apart.

WIDE RECEIVER

Dionte Sykes, 6-2, 195, Chandler (Ariz.) High. There wasn't a great turnout of receivers at the camp, but all in all, Sykes looked like the toughest to cover. He's a big kid, and not skinny, but for someone fairly well-built he had good acceleration and quickness. He was able to get just enough separation from every DB he went up against, and then once the ball was in the air, it was his. He made a couple of sliding catches that were very impressive, and shielded out defenders on long balls easily. He had been leaning to Colorado, but with the coaching change recently said he was looking elsewhere and liked UCLA. An interview is on the way.

Equanimeous St. Brown, 6-1, 175, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. A very good-looking prospect for 2015, that probably not too many know about, St. Brown is a long, rangy receiver who was very good at snatching balls away from defenders. Definitely someone to watch.

Christian Kirk, 5-9, 175, Scottdale (Ariz.) Saquaro. Kirk won the receiver MVP, being very polished for a 2015 prospect who runs great routes and has good hands. UCLA has offered.

Lamarriel Taylor, 6-3, 175, San Diego (Calif.) Mission Bay. Another long, rangy type who used his length well to catch balls over defenders, Taylor, like Sykes and St. Brown, ran well and showed very good athleticism.

Trent Irwin, 6-1, 185, Newhall (Calif.) Hart. Irwin has been well-known as a prospect for 2015 for a while, and he kept hooking up with his teammate Brady White Sunday to take advantage of defensive backs. He might be maxed out physically, but he still gets the advantage and makes the catch more often than not.

Donovan Lee, 5-9, 170, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade. Lee worked out with the running backs Sunday, and looked pretty quick in the drills. He is a talented athlete that might not have a pure position, but could fit in at the f-back spot in UCLA's offense.

Ladarius Wiley, 6-1, 175, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral. The long and rangy types stood out Sunday, and Wiley was another one, showing a nice ability to get open and good hands.

Tyler Luatua, 6-3, 220, La Mirada (Calif.). He's the #2-ranked tight end prospect in the nation, but looked just okay as a prospect Sunday. He doesn't run particularly smoothly and his catching technique also looked a bit raw.

Jalen Brown, 6-2, 180, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe. He didn't participate due to the shoulder he injured last week in Las Vegas. He intended to go by UCLA Monday for an unofficial visit.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Damien Mama, 6-5, 340, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. The OL talent for the camp was a little thin, and Mama won the MVP, showing a nice ability to move for a person his size. He's pretty athletic for weighing a good 340ish, and has good feet. UCLA hasn't been active in recruiting him.

Viane Talamaivao, 6-3, 285, Corona (Calif.) Centennial. Talamaivao doesn't have a fantastic body, with sloping shoulders, but he has very good feet and keeps them moving well. He and Mama were clearly the two best OLs on the day, and you could make the case that Talamaivao was even better. UCLA

Reno Rosene, 6-6, 300, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. Rosene, a 2015 prospect, is one big dude, and it's not sloppy. For his size and age, he moves pretty well, and will undoubtedly be one of the best 2014 prospects in the west.

Natrell Curtis, 6-2, 300, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe. Curtis didn't participate due to injury, but we've heard he intends to visit UCLA Monday with the other Arizona recruits. An offer could be tendered at that time.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Ainuu Taua, 6-0, 275, Lompoc (Calif.). Taua won the DL MVP, showing his quickness and ability to get off the ball. He isn't very big, might even be 5-11, and might top out at 300-ish when it's all said and done, but he's quick and strong, and very difficult to get any leverage on. An interview is coming up.

Malik Dorton, 6-2, 220, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Dorton was probably the second-most effective DL Sunday, using his quickness as a defensive end to get around slower OLs. His issue might be that he's a stand-up defensive end, a tweener, not potentially big enough to be a defensive end in the 3-4, and not quick enough to be effective in coverage as a linebacker. He moved well, though, and could eventually project as an outside linebacker. Even though he said UCLA was his leader previously, and there was a rumor he could commit this week, that looks unlikely.

Kennedy Emesibe, 6-3, 235, Oak Hills (Calif.) . Emesibe was among the three best DLs at the camp, with a good body, long arms and a pretty good burst off the ball. He might have the same issue as Dorton, being a tweener in the 3-4, even though he looked bigger and potentially able to put on more weight and be a defensive end than Dorton.

Jalen Jelks, 6-6, 250, Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista. Definitely passes the eyeball test, a big, raw athlete who looks like a defensive end but needs to learn technique. For his size, he had good mobility. Jelks is scheduled to visit UCLA unofficially Monday.

LINEBACKER

Dwight Williams, 6-1, 212, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Williams won the LB MVP. He might be a little narrow, and could top out at maybe 230-ish in college, but his instincts and athleticism are phenomenal. We've heard he's very much liking UCLA. An interview is on the way.

Zach Brown, 6-2, 230, San Diego (Calif.) Henry. Good-looking athlete with a good frame that looks like he could carry quite a bit more weight, Brown showed decent athleticism.

John Houston, 6-3, 200, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Houston was very impressive for a 2015 prospect, with a great body, one that could easily put on 25 more pounds in the next couple of years in high school. He was perhaps the quickest and most agile linebacker out there and played with aggressiveness. A future star.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Denzel Fisher, 6-1, 170, Compton (Calif.) Centennial. Fisher, in a bit of a surprise, among a pretty loaded DB group, won the DB MVP. He is a long, lanky athlete who moved very well, with receivers unable to shake him. His length was an issue, with the ability to reach in and poke away passes. UCLA has been in contact and he said the Bruins are favorites. An interview is coming.

Naijiel Hale, 5-11, 175, Bellflower St. John Bosco. He combines quickness, which he showed in the drills, and considerably toughness, which he displayed in the one-on-ones. Probably one of the best cover prospects in the west, but UCLA hasn't shown interest lately.

Jonathan Lockett, 5-11, 175, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Lockett is a decent athlete, and showed considerable savvy in his coverage. UCLA recently offered.

Jaleel Wadood, 5-11, 165, Bellflower St. John Bosco. The Arizona State commit looked good in drills and strong in coverage.

Quentin Tartabull, 5-10, 180, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany. He's a bit undersized for a safety, but he's athletic, running a 4.5 40 and jumping 38 inches.

Adoree Jackson, 5-10, 170, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. The five-star prospect attended but didn't participate.


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