-- Nick Gates, the OL prospect from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, said he had a good talk with UCLA Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm a few days ago and will likely officially visit Jan 24th. Even though Gates said he was down to Oregon, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Arizona, he's added UCLA because he has liked UCLA for awhile, likes the location and said UCLA-committed 2014 running back Nate Starks and committed 2015 tight end Alize Jones going to UCLA is a big plus. Nebraska is probably the team to beat right now but the longer it goes the better chance for UCLA. Klemm will do an in-home visit following the dead period (which ends January 15th).
-- Kammy Delp, the OL/DL from Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch, had been fully expected to pick up the UCLA hat at the Semper Fi All-American Bowl. So what went wrong? Delp wants to play defense and UCLA's defensive coaches didn't see him there. Klemm had been recruiting him a while to play OL, but he ultimately went with ASU for the chance to play on the DL. Delp had given UCLA a pretty strong indication for some time he was coming, to play on the OL, but he kind of delayed announcing publicly. It was thought that he was waiting for a USC offer, and UCLA, the rumor is, was prepared to drop him but stuck with the three-star prospect. Then he picked ASU.
-- It's always been thought that Juju Smith, the talented, five-star prospect from Long Beach Poly, was sewn up for USC, and it's probably still the case. But we've heard there are some influences close to him that are emphasizing he keeps an open mind, especially toward UCLA. In fact, Smith, who will use his last official visit for USC on January 17th (he's officially visited Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oregon also), could very likely take at least one unofficial visit to UCLA before National Signing Day. Again, we still believe Smith is destined for USC, with his uncle the new USC running backs coach, but there are some rumblings that UCLA is, at least, getting some consideration at this point.
-- We also know that UCLA is still very much pursuing Adoree Jackson, the five-star prospect from Gardena Serra who is also considered a USC lean. Jackson hasn't shown much interest generally in UCLA since last summer, but the talk is that the relationship is getting warmer, with UCLA Coach Jim Mora having some contact with Jackson. Jackson recently announced a final six of Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee, UCLA and USC. He has taken official visits to Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and has one visit remaining. UCLA would love to have Jackson officially visit, or unofficially visit, during its big recruiting weekend January 31st.
-- From the Take-It-For-What-It's-Worth Department: There was an interesting Tweet on Malachi Dupre, the #1 wide receiver prospect in the country from River Ridge (Louisiana) John Curtis Christian, a few days ago. A 2015 prospect from Louisiana who you would presume knows Dupre tweeted "Malachi is going to UCLA." The tweet was up for a few hours before it was taken down.
-- Many BRO readers have been bemoaning 2014 offensive line recruiting and, admittedly, there have been some misses in recruiting the class. But in terms of the status of UCLA's offensive line, it's good to get some perspective.
UCLA intends to give out probably three, but would be okay with just two OLs for 2014. Many fans are concerned about depth, but it just seemed that UCLA was thin last season because of all of the injuries to tackles. I've heard that Simon Goines, Torian White and Conor McDermott will be fine health-wise by next fall. And so much of the OL depth right now is made up of sophomores, freshmen and redshirt freshmen. Adrian Klemm already has a commitment from Najee Toran, and even thought I haven't seen him, those I trust are very high on him. He then needs some tackles, and the targets right now are Kolton Miller, the 6-6 prospect from Roseville (Calif.), and Gates. It's very likely they get Miller, at least that's how it's looking, and I would bet they'll have a very good chance with Gates.
The next guy possibility would be Larry Allen, the son of the NFL Hall of Famer at Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, but the need is more for tackles.
There is also a potential surprise guy here, too.
Then, also looking at 2015, UCLA will probably not need to bring in too many OLs. The entire program will have only 12 to 15 scholarships to give total, so only maybe 2 or 3 will be earmarked for OLs. I could see UCLA being very selective in 2015, with Klemm picking out, say, 8 or so beasts across the country and concentrating on them, and taking the first 2 or 3 to commit.
So, the UCLA OL and recruiting is in good shape.
-- There has been some concern about the academics of Nathan Starks, the running back from Englewood (Col.) who recently verballed to UCLA. We've heard from sources at the high school that Starks does have some work to do but there isn't too much worry that he'll qualify and be admitted into UCLA.
-- We continue to hear that UCLA is doing very well with the Louisiana Three from River Ridge John Curtis, which includes Dupre, linebacker Kenny Young and defensive back Mattrell McGraw. Dupre and Young have long been thought -- by SEC-area people -- to be headed to LSU. But more and more some sources in the region are starting to entertain the notion that UCLA could get all three. Just the mere idea that the idea is being considered possible means that UCLA has a chance. All three will officially visit UCLA on the last weekend of January, along with Davon Godchaux, the defensive end from Plaquemine (Lousiana), who is a soft verbal to LSU. That weekend, January 31st thru Feb. 2nd, is clearly the biggest recruiting weekend for UCLA.
-- The sentiment over quarterback Brad Kaaya from West Hills Chaminade has been on a roller coaster ride over the last couple of weeks. It was thought he was close to flipping from his commitment to Miami to UCLA. Then he went to Miami's bowl game, and the word was that he was concerned, still, with how he'd fit in UCLA's offense, since he's more of a pocket passer. We've heard that Mora and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone had talked to Kaaya, and explained more about how Mazzone's offense has been adapted to Brett Hundley's running ability, and that it was very well suited for pocket guy like Brock Osweiller when Mazzone was at ASU. Then it appeared that Miami's coach Al Golden was in line to take the job at Penn State. So it appeared everything was lining up well for UCLA with Kaaya. But then Golden turned down Penn State and there is no word that Kaaya will even visit UCLA. We believe that UCLA won't hold out much longer for Kaaya, mostly because the Bruins do have a number of back-up options at quarterback that they would need to move on to if Kaaya is sticking with Miami.
-- Apparently Stanford has won its appeal to host official visits this weekend, even though it's within the new dead period. But Stanford supposedly had planned for this weekend to be their big official visit weekend a while ago, so they appealed to the NCAA. I would suspect Stanford won't be allowed to host official visits on one of the other January weekends.
It pertains to UCLA since Solomon Thomas and Harrison Phillips will both take their official visits to Stanford this weekend. It's believed both will be told they've been admitted to Stanford, and that will seal the deal.
-- There is a big-time UCLA target who has already officially visited UCLA that is strongly considering unofficially visiting for the weekend of January 31st, to be a part of UCLA's big recruiting weekend. In fact, we've heard that he's in contact with the Louisiana Three and they're trying to compel him to take the unofficial visit.
Updated as of 3:20 P.M.
-- Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco DE Jacob Tuioiti-Mariner recently said he was thinking about committing on Friday but now wants to visit UCLA, Arizona and Washington before announcing anything. UCLA leads but he has some family members telling him he needs to take more trips before deciding for the experience. I suppose he could commit and still take visits but as of right now, it doesn't sound like he'll be making his decision any time soon.
-- Virginia Beach (Virg.) Ocean Lakes ATH Jaason Lewis will be in Los Angles for a couple of days starting on Feb 6, the day after SD and plans to check out both UCLA and USC. Lewis was the player a lot of people speculated about last week that might be a silent to UCLA or close to committing. I have heard he's a Bruin lean right now and if the visit goes well for him, he could end the process soon after.