With UCLA off to a 3-0 start as they get set for Pac-12 play next week, recruiting has been on the upswing since the summer, with the Bruins in on several elite guys nationally, strengthening where they stand with other regional prospects and putting themselves firmly in play for prospects they were out of it for.
As Jim Mora said last week, it's probably fun to recruit when you're 3-0, and UCLA coaches were all over the country this past weekend to see guys, as well as back in Westwood for one of their top targets' official visits.
UCLA has brought in some big classes in Jim Mora's first two recruiting classes, for 2012 and 2013. The 2014 class looked like it'd have about 18 scholarships to give, but with transfer and attrition already, it's pretty easy to project it to be in the 22-25 range.
***As we've said on the message board, with UCLA looking like it's a program on the rise, there have been prospects from around the country that are starting to show interest in UCLA. Some we can't share here, since they are committed elsewhere and it could disrupt their recruiting, and UCLA's chances with them. If UCLA continues to have a successful season there will undoubtedly be more viable prospects that show interest in UCLA.***
It's been uncertain at times if UCLA would take a quarterback in 2014, but with the transfer of T.J. Millweard it looks completely necessary. But to be candid, at this point UCLA's quarterback recruiting is in a precarious position, much like a year ago. There is likely not an Asiantii Woulard out there to fall in their lap. You can even make a case that's its more precarious because they even told elite 2015 quarterback Josh Rosen that if he commits to UCLA they wouldn't take a quarterback in the 2014 class (although that was earlier in the summer, and the terms of that are likely no longer there). This week, though, UCLA finally offered Brad Kaaya. Now they sit and wait to see if he'll flip.
Brad Kaaya, 6-4, 208, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade
National Position Ranking: 17, UCLA Offer
-- Kaaya is a commit to Miami, and he made it clear after Kyle Allen's commitment that he was solid to the Canes. He also threw in the fact that at Miami he was a priority and doesn't think he's a good fit for UCLA's offense. But we've heard that if UCLA were to offer Kaaya, there could be some serious consideration. He's had an up-and-down start to the season and UCLA was at his game last week against Oaks Christian (Jim Mora and Taylor Mazzone). On Tuesday, UCLA finally offered Kaaya. Now the four-star will have to weigh the local school against the first school to offer him before Signing Day.
Rafe Peavey, 6-2, 200, Bolivar (Mo.)
National Position Ranking: 30
-- As we reported a week ago in the recruiting buzz, there are some players committed elsewhere that UCLA is still looking at closely and Peavey is one of them. Peavey is a commit to Arkansas, but Taylor Mazzone will be in Missouri this weekend to watch Peavey throw. There hasn't been much public buzz about Peavey reconsidering his decision to commit to Arkansas, but there is likely some method to this.
Others to Watch:
Chase Forrest, 6-3, 180, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
UCLA is targeting a couple of running backs and likely would take two if both of their main targets wanted to come.
Joe Mixon, 6-1, 195, Oakley (Calif.) Freedom
National Position Ranking: 5, UCLA Offer
-- UCLA's path with Mixon has been much discussed, but long story short, after pretty much being out of the mix for him, UCLA has crept back in and Angus McClure and Steve Broussard went to see Mixon play last weekend. Mixon was hoping to get down to UCLA for the New Mexico State game, but couldn't make it, but said he will be down for a game unofficially and plans to visit UCLA officially as well. Safe to say, he's likely their top offensive target. Washington had Mixon in for a visit and with one of his teammates on the team, the Huskies are, much like UCLA, making up major ground for him.
Bo Scarborough, 6-2, 234, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG
National Position Ranking: 11, UCLA Offer
-- A commit to Alabama, Scarborough said he remains solidly committed to the Tide, despite moving into Florida, but has also said he will take official visits and he plans to take one to UCLA during the season. Alabama brought in a slew of backs in the past two classes so there is talk that the glut of backs in Tuscaloosa at least has his eyes opened. The majority of the schools he's still looking at are in the South, though aside from a planned visit to UCLA, he also has one set for Notre Dame in October.
Tre Watson, 6-0, 185, Corona (Calif.)
National Position Ranking: 50, UCLA Offer
-- Watson committed to Cal earlier this summer, after getting an offer from the Bears, his longtime favorite. But UCLA offered in June, and have made a big push for him. Watson said that he's hearing from UCLA running backs coach Steve Broussard all the time and isn't opposed to their pursuit. He said he remains solid to Cal, but he also has said that Cal is throwing the ball a little more than a running back might like. We've heard too, that his solid with Cal isn't quite so solid. He also visited Boise State over the weekend.
C.J. Leggett, 5-10, 210, Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett
National Position Ranking: 136, UCLA Offer
-- Leggett camped with UCLA and also visited Cal and Stanford during the week. The Georgia native was out during the spring as well for UCLA practice. The Bruins were his first offer and they're one of his more remarkable offers, with Vanderbilt and Pitt the only other standout offers.
Others to Watch:
Rashaad Penny, 6-0, 185, Norwalk (Calif.)
UCLA receiver recruiting has been much discussed. They have four commits at the position and the approach to WR recruiting has been interesting. Also, when Roberts' committed, it somewhat came out of the blue.
Austin Roberts, 6-2, 221, Carmel (Ind.)
National Position Ranking: 31, COMMIT
-- Roberts wasn't even on the Bruins' radar when July came around, but got an offer not too long after the month started and committed just a couple of weeks later. Roberts has plenty of connections to UCLA, from the sports information office to his dad coaching with Eric Yarber with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His commitment was a big boost for the Bruins, whose recruiting had been lagging before his verbal. Roberts could eventually grow into a Y down the line for UCLA. Adrian Klemm was in Indiana over the weekend to watch Roberts play.
180, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
National Position Ranking: 71, COMMIT
-- Lasley was the only player to get an offer the night of UCLA's Elite Camp, and he jumped on his dream school's offer the next day. Lasley is a late-bloomer, transferring from Carson to Serra and playing in a backup role for his junior year. He blew up this offseason, and UCLA gave him an offer after the camp, before he had a chance to blow up more. He did camp at USC a week later, and the Trojans could offer him too this fall, which could make somewhat of an impact so that will be a storyline to watch. Jim Mora was at Serra's game on Friday to see Lasley and the other Serra targets.
Barry Ware, 6-3, 205, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
National Position Ranking: 79, COMMIT
-- Ware was UCLA's first commit in the 2014 class, committing just a few days after the Bruins offered him. UCLA was his first offer, a surprise considering his size, skill set, and junior film. A few more schools offered since he committed, but Ware, who was invited to UCLA's Junior Day in February, long favored the Bruins. Schools like Utah and Washington State are still recruiting, the Utes especially making a push for him, and there are still a lot of questions if Ware would make it academically into UCLA, so that's another key aspect to watch there.
Dionte Sykes, 6-2, 210, Chandler (Ariz.)
National Ranking: 97, COMMIT
-- Sykes has had an interesting recruitment with UCLA. Only recently have we heard enough to consider him a UCLA commit and one who UCLA would take, but we've also heard that he's got some work to do academically. He's a talented player, coming from Brett Hundley's alma mater, and UCLA would like to continue to bring in guys from Arizona.
Michiah Quick, 5-11, 175, Fresno (Calif.) Central East
National Position Ranking: 5, UCLA Offer
-- Quick is one of the top priorities in the 2014 class for UCLA, and for many programs around the country. UCLA obviously has good connections at Central, signing his teammate Johnny Johnson, and his coach has had numerous players go to UCLA. UCLA wasn't originally on his short list, but after a visit to one of UCLA's spring practices, the Bruins moved into his top five, and UCLA will continue to heavily pursue him. Oklahoma, who signed two of his teammates, is also very much in the mix for Quick. It might still be too premature to call this a two-horse race, especially with expected official visits to Alabama, Notre Dame and Oregon but we've heard enough that the Sooners and Bruins are doing very well with him.
Malachi Dupre, 6-3, 175, River Ridge (Louisiana) John Curtis Christian
National Position Ranking: 1, UCLA Offer
-- Dupre is a big target in the SEC, but likes UCLA and visited UCLA in February for the Bruins' Junior Day. He also returned to UCLA for the Spring Game and raved about the visit and his relationship with Eric Yarber, the Bruins' receivers coach. Dupre also visited UCLA in June for the B2G Elite Camp. That is three unofficial visits on his own, which certainly is an indicator of his interest in the Bruins. While he hasn't set a leaderboard yet, he told Scout earlier in September that Alabama, Florida State, LSU and UCLA are his top four schools. UCLA coaches Eric Yarber and Jeff Ulbrich were at his game on Thursday. We've heard that UCLA feels very good about their chances with Dupre.
Erik Brown, 6-1, 175, Fontana (Calif.)
National Position Ranking: 17, UCLA Offer
-- A commit to Washington, Brown favored UCLA early on before he chose the Huskies in July. Having said that, he's officially visited Nebraska and Oregon State (doing so last weekend), and plans to visit Notre Dame and Washington and told Scout he may take his fifth visit to UCLA. So UCLA is still somewhat trying with him and invited him to their last game against New Mexico State.
Alex Van Dyke, 6-4, 200, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove
National Ranking: 37, UCLA Offer
-- The top skill player in the Sacramento area, Van Dyke has great bloodlines. His father was an all-American at Nevada before playing for several years with the New York Jets. Van Dyke was offered in March and UCLA is definitely in the mix for him; he visited unofficially in February and has long coveted a Bruin offer. He played with cornerback Marcus Rios as a sophomore and is good friends with Rios, who spent time with him on his unofficial visit. Oregon offered him in May as the evaluation period closed and he also camped with USC in June for Rising Stars, and they could offer him as well this fall, which could complicate things for the Bruins. He did tell us in the summer that he will take an official visit to UCLA at some point, with Oregon and Cal also set to get official visits and already having visited Oregon State.
Others to Watch:
Tyler Whiley, 6-1, 190, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
Donovan Lee, 5-9, 165, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade
Justin Holmes, 6-2, 185, Roseville (Calif.) Oakmont
Randall Cunningham, 6-4.5, 185, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
UCLA is looking pretty good at the position, but it will undoubtedly bring in at least one Y.
Tyler Luatua, 6-4, 215, La Mirada (Calif.)
National Position Ranking: 2, UCLA Offer
-- Luatua hae seemed to be favoring Alabama for some time, and it makes sense, with his brother, Isaac, a sophomore offensive lineman there. He's cooled on USC some, though, and we've heard if he stayed local, UCLA would have a very good shot at him, however UCLA isn't really putting much effort into recruiting him either and really has cooled on him as well. Texas offered him in the spring and he has some other big national offers, but Notre Dame seems to be in the drivers seat now with Alabama cooling on him now.
Bryce Dixon, 6-4, 220, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
National Position Ranking: 6, UCLA Offer
-- Dixon has been on UCLA's radar for months, earning an offer from the Bruins back in the fall. He was at UCLA's select Junior Day in February and it's clear to him that he's coveted by the Bruin staff and is near the top of their board. Dixon has said that UCLA is certainly a school he's highly interested in, but he's got a handful of national offers, including Oregon, USC, Florida and Ohio State, so they'll still have to work to get him. He told Scout earlier this fall that his main three were Oregon, UCLA and USC, though he said he had a top five that included Miami and Florida. And he's set to officially visit Oregon in October. But Dixon has also said he'll have a hard time leaving Southern California, so this is pretty much a UCLA-USC battle for him.
Others to Watch:
Zack Bornstein, 6-4, 210, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
After taking 7 OLs for 2013, it was though the 2014 UCLA really only needed two, but with the class expanding its available scholarships that could become four. What looked like the strength of the Bruins' 2014 class early on, when Jermaine Eluemunor and Dominick Jackson were committed, has now become a point of concern, with both players flipping to SEC schools, leaving UCLA without an OL commitment. It is not likely UCLA will pursue Eluemunor or Jackson any longer. Plus, Demetrius Knox, who was clearly a long-time UCLA lean, committed last month to Ohio State, leaving offensive line recruiting in a bit of scramble mode, although with the class they signed a year ago, offensive line recruiting wasn't as vital this year. Frankly, the JC players were an embarrassment of riches, but with their departures, UCLA still needs some depth.Damien Mama, 6-5, 340, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
National Position Ranking: 1 (OG), UCLA Offer
-- UCLA seemed completely out of it for Mama for a while, but then, out of nowhere, took an unofficial visit to UCLA in June, spending a couple of hours on campus with Adrian Klemm. He was then back a couple of days later for the UCLA Elite Camp, not to work out, but to spend more time with Klemm on campus. Mama is now saying that the Bruins are on his short list with Alabama and USC and they're back in the running and Klemm is targeting him heavily. Mama is clearly UCLA's top offensive line target and he's been to both of UCLA's home games so far and getting plenty of attention from the Bruin coaches, particularly Klemm. Who USC hires, though, could make an impact with Mama.
Viane Talamaivao, 6-3, 285, Corona (Calif.)
National Position Ranking: 9 (OG), UCLA Offer
-- Talamaivao committed to Alabama this spring, but like Mama, he showed up in June for the UCLA Elite Camp, and spent a lot of time shadowing Klemm. UCLA was the first school to offer him, doing so after his freshman year, when Rick Neuheisel was the coach, and then Klemm offered him when he got to Westwood. The two sides seemed to cool, though, and then Talamaivao committed to Alabama. But with Jackson headed to Alabama, UCLA is now back on Talamaivao, and he and Mama are very close. He's said he's solid to Alabama, but UCLA will continue to work on him.
Kammy Delp, 6-4, 305, Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch
National Position Ranking: 18 (OG), UCLA Offer
-- Delp got the much-hoped for offer from UCLA towards the end of summer and he then took an unofficial visit a couple of days later. While he didn't commit to the Bruins, they've definitely assumed the leader position in his recruitment, though Washington, Washington State and Oregon State are still pushing for him. But Delp made it clear how much his family wanted him to be close to home and how much an offer from UCLA meant to them. He's also very close with Mama and Talamaivao, so UCLA would love to bring him in as a commit and then have Mama and Talamaivao follow suit.
Kenyon Frison, 6-5, 290, West Valley City (Utah) Granger
National Position Ranking: 31 (OT), UCLA Offer
-- Frison committed to hometown Utah early, almost instantly after the Utes offered. Then he went to the Oakland NFTC and was stellar and then Oklahoma and Washington offered. UCLA has recently gotten on board with him and is hoping to bring him out for an official visit and will try to flip him. He's got tremendous upside and has a chance to be a good player in college. UCLA is also playing up the fact that the last lineman they got from Utah has turned out pretty good.
Morgan Richey, 6-5, 275, Bellevue (Wash.)
National Position Ranking: 49 (OG), UCLA Offer
-- A three-year starter on one of the best teams in the country, Richey was offered, as he said, out of the blue, in the middle of September. The Bruins also offered the tackle he lines up next to, 2015 four-star Henry Roberts and they're recruiting his other teammate Budda Baker, while having Myles Jack, another former teammate, on the roster. Richey said he wants to take an official visit to UCLA and that could happen later in he year.