Prediction Friday

For the next week and a half leading up to National Signing Day, on Tuesday and Friday, we're predict UCLA's final 2014 Recruiting Class...

There is just a little over two weeks before National Signing Day, and we thought it'd be fun to have a regular feature of our 2014 class predictions. The plan is to release five predictions, every Tuesday and Friday before NSD on Feb. 5th.

So here we go.


Aaron Sharp, 6-3, 195, Houston (Tex.) Summer Creek

The Word: We were going to release these predictions yesterday and look really smart in predicting Sharp. It's a great get for UCLA, definitely needing a quarterback in 2014, and Sharp fits the Brett Hundley model in UCLA's offense.

Running Back:

Nathan Starks, 6-0, 195, Englewood (Col.) Cherry Creek

The Word: Left on the board are Kalen Ballage, Darrel Williams, and an outside shot at Joe Mixon. Even though Jim Mora and Kennedy Polamalu are seriously recruiting Ballage, and he's visiting on the 31st, we think he sticks with his commitment to ASU. Williams is planning to visit on the 31st, but we think he sticks with his LSU commitment. We don't feel Mixon will come off his commitment to Oklahoma.

Wide Receiver:

Austin Roberts, 6-2, 221, Carmel (Ind.)
Alex Van Dyke, 6-4, 210, Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks
Jordan Lasley, 6-1, 185, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Malachi Dupre, 6-3, 195, River Ridge (Louisiana) Curtis

Austin Roberts.
The Word: The elephant in the room is the prediction here that UCLA will get Dupre. We know we should be skeptical and go with conventional wisdom that an SEC power like LSU isn't going to allow Dupre to get away from them, but we've heard enough inside stuff to believe that UCLA pulls off a major upset here. The only other possibility is Michiah Quick, but while UCLA was making up some ground on Quick about a month ago, Oklahoma was probably always leading and we're hearing that everything is pointing toward the Sooners now. Quick, though, is scheduled to visit UCLA Jan. 31st and that huge recruiting weekend could be the Mother of All Recruiting Weekends for UCLA. On yesterday's BROCast, Brandon Huffman and predicted UCLA would get Quick, coming off such a compelling recruiting weekend, but I'm going to differ.

Tight End:


The Word: UCLA is still in play for Bryce Dixon, who unexpectedly picked USC over UCLA at the U.S. Army All-American Game. Dixon is supposed to visit UCLA on the 31st, and UCLA is still going after him aggressively. We, though, think he'll stick with his commitment to USC.

Offensive Line:

Najee Toran, 6-3, 265, Galena Park (Tex.) North Shore
Kolton Miller, 6-8, 280, Rosemont (Calif.)
*Malcolm Bunche, 6-6, 330, University of Miami graduate transfer

The Word: Toran and Bunche are committed and Miller is looking like a pretty sure thing. While there is some talk that UCLA has a chance to pull off the upset with Damien Mama we're skeptical. Demetrius Knox, the lineman prospect from Texas, is the new name here (well, not new since UCLA recruited him heavily before he verbally committed to Ohio State in August). While there are some sources close to the recruitment that believe Knox will flip to UCLA, we think he'll ultimately stick with Ohio State. He had been scheduled to visit Texas this weekend, but has not backed out of that. We'll see if he actually does stick with his planned visit to UCLA on the 31st or whether OSU effectively puts on enough pressure to get him to not visit.

**Bunche, of course, is a counter in terms of the amount of players on scholarship for UCLA and how many UCLA can sign in one year, but he doesn't count in the recruiting rankings.

Ainuu Taua.
Defensive Tackle:

Ainuu Taua, 6-0, 280, Lompoc (Calif.)

The Word: Taua is committed and a big get. UCLA would be completely happy with only Taua as their defensive tackle class. Trey Lealaimatafao is still a remote possibility, but we're skeptical UCLA would take him at this point and the word is that he's leaning to Oregon. So, it's just Taua, and we're good with that.

Defensive End:

Matt Dickerson, 6-5, 270, San Mateo Serra
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, 6-4, 260, Bellflower St. John Bosco,

The Word: Dickerson and JTM are a great defensive end class. UCLA, though, is still pursuing five-star Solomon Thomas and four-star Davon Godchaux. There's plenty of room for Thomas and/or Godchaux, though, since they're very different players than Dickerson and JTM and would would fill different roles on UCLA's mix-and-match defensive line. Thomas could take an unofficial visit to UCLA for its big weekend on the 31st. If he does, we might change this prediction, but we still feel he'll opt for the Cardinal. Godchaux has changed his opinion on whether he would visit UCLA a couple of times and we're even skeptical if he makes it to L.A. on the 31st.


Zach Whitley, 6-2, 220, Galena Park (Tex.) North Shore
Cameron Griffin, 6-3, 210, L.A. View Park
Dwight Williams, 6-1, 212, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Kenny Young, 6-2, 225, River Ridge (Louisiana) Curtis
Rashaan Evans, 6-3, 218, Auburn (Ala.)

The Word: We don't feel this is going that much out on a limb. We've said UCLA was the leader for Young for sometime and nothing we've heard has changed that opinion. And we think with Evans, like with Dupre, UCLA pulls off the major coup. There is just so much evidence that Evans is going to UCLA, up against the traditional reasoning that an SEC-area kid ultimately opts for an SEC program. We aren't homers, and we'd usually go with conventional wisdom, but we know enough to predict – at this time—that Evans will be a Bruin. If he takes the unofficial visit to UCLA on Jan. 31st, on his own dime, that's a pretty strong indication. We'll go out on a limb, though, and predict UCLA gets Whitley.

If UCLA does, indeed, get these guys this is easily the #1 linebacker recruiting class in the nation, and perhaps one of the best ever in recent memory. Linebacker U Anyone?

Jaleel Wadood, 5-11, 180, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Ron Robinson, 6-2, 195, Corona (Calif.) Santiago
Budda Baker, 5-10, 185, Bellevue (Wash.)

Jaleel Wadood.

The Word: Everything now points to UCLA getting Baker. He will come in as a defensive back, receiver and kick returner. We don't feel UCLA will ultimately get five-star Juju Smith.


Adarius Pickett, 6-0, 185, El Cerrito (Calif.)
Denzel Fisher, 6-2, 175, Compton (Calif.) Centennial

The Word: Both Pickett and Fisher are committed, and we don't see anything new happening here that could change this. Fisher had flirted with other programs but after his official visit last weekend we think that's over.

Perhaps one of the strangest recruitments in recent memory has been that of Adoree Jackson, the five-star athlete from Gardena Serra. Literally no one really has an idea as to what Jackson is thinking at this point. We don't feel, however, that UCLA has made any kind of in-roads with him. If they can get him on campus for a visit we might re-assess.

Where Would the Class Rank?

It would be a class of 22 incoming players, but Bunche doesn't count in the class rankings, so for those purposes it'd be a class of 21. rewards points on recruits up to 25 recruits, so being four short would, of course, hurt UCLA's rankings.

If we project the class above, and the points for the class, comparing it to the class recruiting rankings from 2013, it would put UCLA at 11th in the country. Add one more recruit to get to 22 and it would be 10th. Add three more – to get to 25 – and it's close to 8th. If it had a completely ridiculous NSD and a number of the elite recruits not currently leaning to UCLA did, in fact, jump in the boat and UCLA went over 25, the way the rankings work is that it takes the points from the top 25 players in the class. In that case, UCLA would potentially finish in the top five in the nation (again, based on the 2014 recruiting rankings).


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