As we all are aware of, Jim Mora has been traveling around Northern California with a big contingent of his assistants doing in-home and in-school visits with recruits. Mora has been doing some of the traveling via UCLA-affiliated private jet, and will even use it to fly to Ventura Country today.
We had reported that UCLA would meet with some Fresno recruits Tuesday, but that didn't materialize. According to a Fresno Central coach, Mora called and said they were having mechanical issues with their plane and couldn't get there but will reschedule later in the week to see Michiah Quick and potentially Arizona-committed running back Nick Wilson from Fresno Central. UCLA is doing very well with Quick at this time, in his top three, along with Oklahoma and Notre Dame. That's substantial, since Quick has already officially visited Oklahoma and Notre Dame, and has yet to visit UCLA, which should happen in January.
Mora and Co. did stop in to see Alex Van Dyke Tuesday at his high school, Elk Grove Consumnes Oaks. We received a text from Van Dyke, on his reaction to Mora signing a contract extension, as well as the reaction from other prospects: Recruits React to Mora's Extension. The UCLA coaches, which included Angus McClure, Demetrice Martin, Noel Mazzone, Lou Spanos, and Adrian Klemm, met with Van Dyke, and then had an in-home visit with his father later. UCLA also while at the school offered 2015 four-star receiver L.J. Reed, a 6-4, 205-pound specimen who is considered a top-20 national receiver prospect. He's similar to Van Dyke, but probably more physically developed at this point. McClure is close with the Consumnes Oaks head coach, which has given UCLA an edge at the high school, and it's believed the Bruins will have a great shot at Reed.
UCLA, to start the week, visited with UCLA-committed linebacker Cameron Griffin, from Los Angeles View Park (whose team is in the CIF-City Section D-III finals this weekend) on Sunday night.
UCLA had an in-home with Dwight Williams on Sunday, the four-star from Gardena Serra. Williams told Scout early Sunday that he did not go to the USC game, but did watch it from home. Williams is set to announce his decision at the U.S. Army Bowl, but if Serra continues to win, he will likely not take any visits in the month of December before he announces the first Saturday in January. That probably helps UCLA, since he's been to UCLA's campus often, and has only taken an official visit to Oklahoma. Williams said he's still considering his Top 16, but we've heard from some close to his recruitment that UCLA remains in the driver's seat. We'll have an update from Williams on his recruitment later today.
Mora and his assistants were in the home of five-star running back Joe Mixon Monday night. Scout.com's Greg Biggins spoke with a source close to Mixon on Sunday and Mixon has UCLA on his very, very short list, with what appears to be Cal, Washington and Wisconsin rounding it out. The visit apparently went very well, and Mixon later tweeted those four schools as his leaders, listing UCLA #1, if that means anything. We did a story on Mixon after the UCLA visit: Mixon Down to Four.
UCLA also visited El Cerrito four-star cornerback and UCLA commit Adarius Pickett on Monday. Mora and his staff had dinner with the Picketts, and that's when Mora told the Picketts he was "100% to UCLA."
UCLA coaches potentially visited other recruits in NorCal, but we're not at liberty to release information about it.
As we reported Sunday, UCLA will visit Ventura St. Bonaventure tight end Bryce Dixon today (Wednesday), as well as travel to Lompoc to visit Ainuu Taua, the four-star defensive tackle. We're hearing that UCLA is doing very well with both of them. In fact, it's believed that Dixon has already expressed some strong inclination toward being a Bruin.
When the coaches get back to Los Angeles, the plan is to visit UCLA-committed wide receiver Jordan Lasley, the receiver from Gardena Serra, for an in-home and they'll very likely be in the home of five-star offensive lineman Damien Mama on Thursday night as well.
We heard recently that UCLA could very well get Mama's last official visit. Now of course, much could still change, especially with Steve Sarkisian being hired at USC, but our sources are saying that Mama could be taking that official to UCLA and the Bruins are still very much in the mix.
UCLA will conduct a visit with West Hills Chaminade quarterback Brad Kaaya, who UCLA has offered, and who was recently offered by USC.
UCLA just offered quarterback Luke Rubenzer, the prospect committed to Cal. Rubenzer is undersized, listed liberally at 6-0 and 185. Cal, clearly, is struggling, with recruits starting to jump ship, and Rubenzer probably sees the writing on the wall with true freshman Jared Goff having such a great season. Greg Biggins on Rubenzer: UCLA has offered Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro QB and Cal commit Luke Rubenzer. It's an interesting offer. He had a huge year and put up crazy numbers. Doesn't have the great physical tools you want in a next level QB, is more of a game manager, smart, cerebral, doesn't get rattled and makes plays. Is he an All-Pac 12 level QB, probably not but he's not a bad option as a guy who is that No. 2 backup, will be happy in the program and if your starter goes out, he's capable of coming in and running the offense smoothly.
We also heard that UCLA is getting back in the race for Adoree Jackson. How much remains to be seen, but UCLA's win on Saturday certainly helped its recruitment of him. Jackson was one of the Gardena Serra contingent that was hanging out in the UCLA tunnel at the Coliseum after the game, and had to be led over to the USC tunnel. Mama was also looking very friendly and familiar with the UCLA players after the game.
As we reported Sunday, UCLA has a very good chance to get an official visit from Jabrill Peppers, the #2-ranked cornerback in the nation from New Jersey who is verbally committed to Michigan. The word is that Michigan will try to convince him specifically not to visit UCLA. Peppers has said the one other visit he'd like to take is to UCLA.
As Chad Simmons reported, Rashaan Evans was at Auburn this weekend and saw their win over Alabama. We've heard UCLA doesn't feel great about their chances of getting Evans. What remains to be seen, too, is if Antreal Allen stays on board with the Bruins should Evans choose elsewhere. We've heard more SEC schools are interested in him and that could sway him to stay closer.
BRO broke the news Tuesday that Mora is interested in hiring Kennedy Polamalu as the new UCLA running backs coach. Polamalu earned a reputation as a very good coach and recruiter at USC, but was fired last January. He apparently got in an altercation with then-USC coach Lane Kiffin, and the inside story was that Kiffin had ordered Polamalu to pull the scholarship offer on a long-time USC commit, and Polamalu refused, since he had been committed to that recruit for a long time. The fact that Mora just got a serious bump in his assistants salary pool could very well enhance his chances of getting Polamalu. We've heard, however, that Mora will interview other high-level candidates. UCLA student assistant and former NFL player Deshaun Foster is also being considered and has earned the respect in the program, as a coach and potential recruiter.
Finally, the coaches will likely be out at games on Friday and Saturday for the CIF finals. With the new rules by the NCAA limiting their weekends, it's more likely that UCLA will be doing the chunk of their official visits in January.