But Bruin Report Online is in the business of making predictions and projections far prematurely. So, we thought we'd entertain ourselves, and you indirectly, by taking a far-too-early shot at predicting UCLA's 2014 recruiting class. We completely absolve ourselves from being held to this prediction since it is so premature. But there are some elements to the 2014 class that make an early prediction have a little more credibility:
-- UCLA isn't going to have a big – in numbers – class, probably in the 17-20 range, so that makes it easier to predict.
-- This early on, UCLA is doing well with a good number of elite prospects, moreso than at this time of year than in any recruiting season in recent memory.
The big variable here is the UCLA 2013 season. If UCLA has a hugely successful season – say, winning 11+ games – all bets are off. There will be recruits' names not even associated with UCLA yet suddenly showing interest in the Bruins. So, we're basing this prediction on a solidly successful season, not one poor enough that it would dissuade any recruits presently with an interest in UCLA to not go there, and not one so successful that five-star prospects from around the country are knocking down the doors.
So, here we go:
Kyle Allen, 6-3/195 | Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain
National Position Ranking: #1 |
The Word: Yes, we're going to predict that UCLA gets the #1 quarterback recruit in the nation. As of right now, the word is that he's leaning toward UCLA. Even though Alabama and Ohio State have offered him recently, those close to the recruitment believe it's between UCLA and Arizona State, and that the Bruins lead. We've heard that his family has endorsed him going to UCLA, which is a big deal. Allen has said that he'll commit by the end of summer, so it won't drag on long. It will also be a huge get, not just in terms of Allen's talent, but in the exposure his commitment will get the program nationally, and the influence it could have on other recruits.
RUNNING BACK: 1?
Royce Freeman, 6-1/210 | Imperial (Calif.)
National Position Ranking: #33 |
The Word: If we had to guess, knowing what we know, we think it's unlikely any of the running back prospects UCLA is recruiting at this point will end up being Bruins. UCLA will be in it until the end with Joe Mixon, but it's going to be a circus until Signing Day. We think Mixon will take all five visits, go see programs around the country, and be starry-eyed and thinking he wants to go away. We know that UCLA is still involved with Arizona-committed Nick Wilson, but are also not feeling that they'll be able to steal him away. If we had to choose anyone from among those UCLA is presently recruiting, we'd say Royce Freeman. Freeman needs to get in front of the UCLA coaches to keep their interest, so it's important he attends UCLA's camp in June. He also is a change-of-pace bigger back that UCLA wouldn't have on its roster in a couple of years. We could also see D.J. Riggins attending UCLA's camp, and the coaches envisioning him as the F back in UCLA's offense. The thing is, UCLA is pretty well-stocked with running backs, with Rushel Shell transferring in and now that Craig Lee looks like he'll qualify and be enrolled this fall. UCLA might not even necessarily bring in a running back. It's going to have to be someone they're very high on and are inspired to recruit aggressively.
WIDE RECEIVER: 3-4
Jalen Brown, 6-3/190 | Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe
National Position Ranking: #7 |
Tyler Whiley, 6-1/190 | Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
National Position Ranking: #12 (CB) |
Alex Van Dyke, 6-4/210 | Elk Grove (Calif.) Consumnes Oaks
National Position Ranking: #35 |
Barry Ware, 6-3/205 | Corona (Calif.) Centennial, Committed
National Position Ranking: #87 |
The Word: Looking at this list, it appears UCLA is going for the bigger, X- or Z-type receiver prospects for 2014. I don't think they necessarily are targeting that, but it could be the way it ends up. With Brown, we've heard UCLA is doing very well with him, and we think he could get swept up in the wave of Arizona kids, like Allen and Curtis, coming to UCLA. His teammate, 2013 offensive lineman Kenny Lacy, will be in Westwood this fall. It's pretty compelling to catch the passes of, first, an ex-Arizona quarterback in Brett Hundley, who would almost certainly be a clear Heisman Trophy candidate in 2014, and then those of Allen. Whiley, too, is close with Allen, visited UCLA with him for the Spring Game, and we know that Whiley really enjoyed the visit. Whiley is ranked as a cornerback, but we think he'll end up at wide receiver in college. We know that Van Dyke really likes UCLA, and it's mutual. We believe that Ware is probably 50/50 whether he qualifies for UCLA. We ultimately can't see UCLA getting Juju Smith, Michiah Quick or Malachi Dupre, even though we've heard UCLA is doing very well with Dupre at this point. Ultimately we think Dupre ends up staying in SEC country. We're tempted to put Erik Brown on the list, since he essentially told UCLA he was coming, but we've heard the smart money is on him ultimately going to Washington. One wild card here is Rahshead Johnson, the Washington commit, who has said he likes UCLA and the Bruins are starting to recruit him seriously. Johnson would be the explosive speedster of the group, but we're hearing it will be difficult to pry him away from the Huskies.
TIGHT END: 1
Bryce Dixon, 6-4/220 | Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
National Position Ranking: #8 |
The Word: It was looking like UCLA pretty much had Dixon, until USC just recently offered. Admittedly, the USC offer has made Dixon re-evaluate, and UCLA isn't the clear leader anymore. But we think, ultimately, Dixon will opt for UCLA, for a few reasons. UCLA assistant Angus McClure recruits the region, and he's going to doggedly stay on Dixon. Dixon will continue to note that UCLA's spread offense uses the Y position, which will feature his pass-catching abilities more than a traditional pro-style set, like USC's, where he could find himself blocking more than catching. USC will probably win just enough for Pat Haden not to be able to fire Lane Kiffin, so Dixon won't be swept up by the buzz of a new USC coach. If not Dixon, the other scenario we could see is Mark Andrews, Kyle Allen's teammate and buddy. It would be pretty compelling to continue to catch Allen's passes in college, and he could get caught up in the Arizona-to-UCLA trend, even though, from what we've heard, Andrews is indicating he won't put too much stock in the package-deal thing. We think Tyler Luatua will go to Alabama, but if he doesn't, we've heard UCLA would be the local leader. Watch out for Dylan Keeney, the 6-5, 215-pound athlete from Granite Bay. The Pac-12 is starting to discover him, even though they're unsure exactly what he is – a tight end, defensive end or linebacker. The thing is, it's not that they're confused because he doesn't fit any of the positions; it's because his athleticism lends itself to possibly all of them. And, McClure is the coach recruiting Keeney.
OFFENSIVE LINE: 4
Dominick Jackson, 6-7/315 | San Mateo (Calif.) College of San Mateo
National Position Ranking: N/A |
Demetrius Knox, 6-4/305 | Fort Worth (Tex.) All Saints' Episcopal School
National Position Ranking: #6 (OG) |
Natrell Curtis, 6-2/300 | Elk Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe
National Position Ranking: #7 (OG) |
To Be Determined
National Position Ranking: ?? |
The Word: Even though UCLA is bringing in 7 offensive line recruits this fall, a few OLs on the roster have left the program (Greg Capella, Albert Cid, and Alexandru Ceachir), and at least a couple more might leave for lack of playing time, so we think Klemm will still bring in four more OLs in 2014. We're feeling really good about predicting Jackson, Knox and Curtis will be Bruins at this point. Jackson is leaning heavily to UCLA, and we think it will hold up once he sees other programs (We gave him four stars because we think he'll get them from Scout eventually). Both Knox and Curtis have given indications that UCLA is the clear leader. The prediction on the fourth OL is just too tough to call at this point. It very well might be the JC OL, Jermaine Eluemunor, since we're hearing UCLA is doing well with him. We just think it's going to be a challenge to ultimately get him away from Alabama, Ohio State and the other elite east coast programs that have offered. With the way Klemm has worked his magic in OL recruiting, we could completely see him adding an elite name to this list later in the game.
The prediction for the defensive commitments in the class of 2014 is coming soon…