2014 Football Recruiting Reset: Offense

Here's a look at where UCLA stands in recruiting on offense after the dead period...

The dead period ends tonight and UCLA coaches are out on Thursday to make in-home visits, then back home this weekend for the first of three big official visit weekends leading up to Signing Day.

UCLA has added five commitments during the dead period alone, four on defense and one on offense, while losing one defensive commit.

The Bruins have 16 commits, with six on offense, three at receiver, and ten on defense.

But there are several big fish still on the radar so the three weekends of visits in January, and the weeknights spent on in-homes will be crucial for the UCLA coaches to sign another top tier class.

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 in the past, 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.***

QUARTERBACK

Despite Brett Hundley announcing he was returning to UCLA, the Bruins still need a quarterback in the 2014 class for spacing.  While they lead for 2015 five-star Josh Rosen, they can't afford to wait until next year to get quarterback, they need one in this class.

Brad Kaaya, 6-4, 208, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade
National Position Ranking: 18, UCLA Offer
-- Kaaya is tentatively set to visit UCLA the final weekend before Signing Day.  He's supposed to visit Miami this weekend, where he's been committed since May, and then Boise State next weekend, where new Bronco offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, who recruited him at Stanford, is.  If the Bruins get a strong indication this weekend from Aaron Sharp, they'll likely move on from Kaaya; if not, they still may keep their hands in the Kaaya jar.  From what we've heard of late, though, is that it is unlikely that Kaaya will end up at UCLA, but that seems to change every day..

Aaron Sharp, 6-3, 190, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro
National Position Ranking: 60, UCLA Offer
-- Sharp is a very soft commit to Kansas State, and basically, if he takes a visit to UCLA or Washington, then Kansas State and Sharp will part ways.  That puts UCLA in a good position to get his commitment if the visit goes well this weekend.  He's already committed to a Pac-12 school once, in Utah, before quickly flipping it to Kansas State.  Sharp is a lefty who's ridiculously athletic but very raw as a passer.  We've heard UCLA feels good about their chances of getting a commitment from him.

***As we've said, UCLA has some back-up options at quarterback that we can't reveal at this time.***

RUNNING BACK

UCLA got an Army All-American running back, but not the one many thought.  They have two commits here, but only one can you say is strong, and they're still open to Mixon coming and bringing Watson in on an official visit.

Nathan Starks, 6-0, 190, Englewood (Colo.) Cherry Creek
National Position Ranking: 19, COMMIT
-- Starks was offered by UCLA a long time ago, but then he had off the field issues that forced him to leave Bishop Gorman and move to Colorado.  The week of the U.S. Army Bowl, Starks said UCLA was in his top three, but hadn't heard from the Bruin coaches since Steve Broussard left.  That triggered a crazy week for Starks, who had a good week in San Antonio and then was offered by UCLA again on the Saturday after the Army Bowl and he immediately committed.  Starks was actually one of the top running backs in the early on out West before a few moved ahead of him after good springs, summers and season, but he's a tremendous talent (he also could be an elite safety).   Starks will visit this weekend and he's close friends with 2015 tight end commit Alize Jones.  With Mixon announcing for Oklahoma, getting Starks was a bigtime consolation prize.

Marlon Mack, 5-11, 195, Sarasota (Fla.) Booker
National Position Ranking: 58, COMMIT
-- Mack came out of nowhere to commit to UCLA in the fall.  Mack plays on both sides of the ball, and has been compared by Scout's Florida analysts favorably to former Florida two-way prospect Fabian Moreau, who came in as a running back and is now starting at corner for the Bruins.  While he was originally ranked as a safety by Scout, UCLA will bring him in as a running back.  That said, he recently told an independent blog that he committed to UCLA to drive up more attention in him, so with Starks in the fold and still a possibility for Mixon and Watson, UCLA could choose to go in a different direction, but for now, Mack remains committed.  He's scheduled to visit UCLA next weekend.

Joe Mixon, 6-1, 205, Oakley (Calif.) Freedom
National Position Ranking: 5, UCLA Offer
-- UCLA's path with Mixon has been much discussed, but long story short, if Mixon wanted to sign with UCLA, they pretty much would take him.  He's committed to Oklahoma and publicly saying he's solid to the Sooners, but we've heard that UCLA is still in talks with Mixon, so we're not completely closing the door on Mixon.

Joe Mixon, 6-1, 205, Oakley (Calif.) Freedom
National Position Ranking: 5, UCLA Offer
-- UCLA's path with Mixon has been much discussed, but long story short, if Mixon wanted to sign with UCLA, they pretty much would take him.  He's committed to Oklahoma and publicly saying he's solid to the Sooners, but we've heard that UCLA is still in talks with Mixon, so we're not completely closing the door on Mixon.

Leonard Fournette, 6-0, 227, New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine
National Position Ranking: 1, UCLA Offer
-- Fournette is a commit to LSU.  He's also the No. 1 player in the country.  So the likelihood of UCLA taking the top player in the country out of Louisiana is a long shot.  But UCLA is trying.  And they'll have coaches in for an in-home with him this week with the hopes they'll get him in for an official visit the weekend before Signing Day with the Louisiana Three.  Is it a long shot?  More than you can imagine.  But don't tell that to Jim Mora, who's taking a shot.

WIDE RECEIVER

UCLA receiver recruiting has been much discussed.  They had five commits at the position at one point, but their two least regarded receivers and UCLA went their separate ways.  Of course, UCLA would love this class to be at five receivers again, with their two biggest targets still on the board.

Austin Roberts, 6-2, 221, Carmel (Ind.)
National Position Ranking: 36, 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 in September to watch Roberts play and Roberts will have an in-home with the Bruin coaches this week since they're in Indy for the coaches convention.  Roberts had a great week at the U.S. Army Bowl.

Alex Van Dyke.

Alex Van Dyke, 6-4, 200, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove
National Ranking: 39, COMMIT
-- 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; he visited unofficially in February and had long coveted a Bruin offer.  He then visited officially for the Cal game, and committed before he went back home.  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 and Oregon State and Cal were also in contention, but Van Dyke felt UCLA was the best place for him.  He had a monster senior season too and he more so than Roberts could move to Y at UCLA. UCLA coaches will have an in-home with him Thursday.

Jordan Lasley, 6-1, 180, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
National Position Ranking: 69, 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, having played as a back-up as a junior, but he blew up last summer and looked very good in his senior season. The Trojans offered in fall and are recruiting him. It's still uncertain if he'll visit USC this month, and he's planning to take his official to UCLA on the 24th. We've heard of late, though, that Lasley is more solid to UCLA than he's been in some time.

Michiah Quick, 5-11, 175, Fresno (Calif.) Central East
National Position Ranking: 6, 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 has continued to heavily pursue him.  Oklahoma, who signed two of his teammates, is also very much in the mix for Quick and may be the leader. Quick announced a top six this week of Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA and USC.  Quick will visit USC this weekend and then UCLA the weekend before Signing Day.

Malachi Dupre, 6-3, 175, River Ridge (Louisiana) John Curtis Christian
National Position Ranking: 2, 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 in September.  We've heard that UCLA feels very good about their chances with Dupre but as is always the case, when you have an elite prospect in the South, they're tough to get out of that region.  He will visit officially with two of his teammates this month, the weekend before Signing Day.  The UCLA coaches will also be at his home on Thursday, in full and total force, to continue to push for Dupre. Experts in the SEC region all are making the call that he's going to LSU, but we definitely believe it's a toss-up right now between LSU and UCLA.

TIGHT END/Y

UCLA is looking pretty good at the position, but it will undoubtedly try bring in at least one Y, so Van Dyke and Roberts could be that guy if need be.

Bryce Dixon, 6-4, 220, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
National Position Ranking: 3, UCLA Offer
-- Dixon committed to USC at the Army Bowl, after long being thought of as a UCLA lean, so it was somewhat of a surprise when he picked the Trojans.  Having said that, UCLA will get an official visit from Dixon the weekend before Signing Day and continues to recruit Dixon, knowing that even if he had committed to UCLA during the Army Bowl, this one was coming down to Signing Day.

OFFENSIVE LINE

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 with only one OL commitment. And with injuries hurting UCLA this year, they've started three true freshman on the offensive line, so depth continues to be an issue.

Najee Toran, 6-3, 260, Galena Park (Texas) North Shore
National Position Ranking: 18 (C), COMMIT
-- Toran has been a recent riser and he's UCLA's lone offensive line commit.  A commit to Oregon State, Toran flipped to UCLA and then helped get his teammate Zach Whitley to flip from Alabama to the Bruins.  Toran was hoping to be enrolled in January, but now it looks like he'll enroll in April for spring practice.  

Damien Mama, 6-5, 340, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
National Position Ranking: 2 (OG), UCLA Offer
-- UCLA is in the final four for Mama, along with Alabama, BYU and USC.  The feeling is still that he's USC's to lose, especially with him taking his last two visits to USC on the 24th and BYU on the 31st, with UCLA not getting an official visit.  He's playing for a year then leaving to serve his LDS mission, so there is that.  UCLA would still take him, but with his definite plans to serve a mission, doesn't make him as crucial.

Nick Gates.
Nick Gates, 6-5, 270, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
National Position Ranking: 24 (OT), UCLA Offer
-- Gates had a pretty solid top four of Arizona, Nebraska, Oregon and Texas A&M, but then UCLA offered him after a great showing at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, and Gates, who had a visit left, scheduled a trip to UCLA on the 24th.  He'll visit Arizona this weekend and UCLA will be his final trip. UCLA has some ground to make up, but getting the visit is a step in the right direction.

Kenyon Frison, 6-5, 290, West Valley City (Utah) Granger
National Position Ranking: 25 (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 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.  Academics, though, could derail those plans.  UCLA is hoping he'll visit this month.

Derrick Kelley, 6-6, 285, Havana (Fla.) East Gadsden
National Position Ranking: 37 (OT), UCLA Offer
-- UCLA offered Kelley last week, along with a slew of Southern schools as his senior film made its way out.  He's visiting South Florida and LSU this month but has a weekend open at the end of the month and UCLA is hoping he'll be visiting Westwood, though nothing has been set.

Kolton Miller, 6-7, 285, Roseville (Calif.)
National Position Ranking: 52 (OT), UCLA Offer
-- UCLA offered Miller last month after he visited Oregon State and Wisconsin.  Angus McClure had been recruiting him for a while, but Adrian Klemm did the offering last month and now Miller will take an official visit to UCLA this weekend and the Bruins have a very good chance with Miller, who had a terrific senior season.  Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and Oregon are all hoping he'll visit next weekend, but UCLA is hoping he'll end his recruitment after the trip.

Denzel Ward, 6-8, 290, Chicago (Ill.) Simeon
National Position Ranking: 79 (OT), UCLA Offer
-- UCLA offered Ward once during the summer than went back in on him after the season.  He's scheduled to visit the weekend before Signing Day, after he visits Syracuse and Nebraska respectively the next two weekends.

Larry Allen, 6-3, 250, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle
National Position Ranking: 25 (OG)
-- The son of arguably the finest offensive guard in NFL history, Allen has been a stalwart for the Spartans offensive line and has a number of offers.  But he covets an offer from the in-state schools and while he is also looking at the Ivy League schools, he'd like to go to one of the in-state academic powerhouses, so he's not committed anywhere and still looking at schools like Cal, Stanford and UCLA as a potential late offer guy.

***There is the possibility of a Signing Day Surprise at offensive line.***


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