Football Recruiting Reset: Offense

We take a look at UCLA's offensive recruiting with two weeks till Signing Day...

We're two weeks away from Signing Day and there are two weekends left of official visits, and less than two weeks of in-home visits and coaches being on the road.

UCLA has added two commitments this past week, both on offense, and that's seven in the month of January, four on defense and three on offense.  They did lose a verbal, but it wasn't one that broke their heart.

The Bruins have 17 commits, with seven on offense and ten on defense.

But there are several big fish still on the radar so the final two 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..***


UCLA finally picked up a quarterback in the 2014 class when Aaron Sharp picked the Bruins on Monday.

Aaron Sharp, 6-3, 190, Houston (Texas) Summer Creek
National Position Ranking: 60, COMMIT
-- Sharp was a very soft commit to Kansas State, and basically, if he took a visit to UCLA or Washington, then Kansas State and Sharp would part ways.  Well last weekend, Sharp visited UCLA officially and the next night, he committed to the Bruins.  His pickup is crucial for depth and even though he's still pretty raw and may be a project, he'll be no worse than the third most talented quarterback on the roster next fall and it gives UCLA another quarterback to battle for Brett Hundley's job when he leaves for the NFL.


UCLA got an Army All-American running back, but not the one many thought.  They have one commit here and they're still open to Mixon coming and potentially bringing Watson in on an official visit. Another running back, Kalen Ballage, has also emerged as a potential option for the Bruins.

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 visited last weekend and had his in-home with UCLA coaches on Wednesday.  He said he's 100% solid to UCLA, despite several schools coming after him since he committed to UCLA.

Joe 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.  Kennedy Polamalu was by his school on Tuesday.

Kalen Ballage, 6-2, 215, Falcon (Col.)
National Position Ranking: 52, UCLA Offer
-- Ballage has recently come on the radar for UCLA with the addition of running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu. Ballage is committed to Arizona State, but the word is that he'll look around, and will officially visit UCLA on the big recruiting weekend at the end of January. Ballage has very good speed for his size, reportedly running a sub-4.5 40 at one point in the last year.

Tre Watson, 5-9, 185, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
National Position Ranking: 49, UCLA Offer
-- It's uncertain if Watson will visit UCLA the weekend before Signing Day. With Starks in the fold, UCLA has their running back and with Mixon still somewhat being in play, they would take those two.  So while Watson still has a visit scheduled, UCLA, from what we know, hasn't had an in-home with him this month and hasn't been recruiting him that aggressively since the dead period ended.


UCLA had five commits at the position at one point, but UCLA parted way with Barry Ware and Dionte Sykes over the course of the season.  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 had an in-home with the Bruin coaches last week since they were in Indy for the coaches convention.  Roberts had a great week at the U.S. Army Bowl.

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 had an in-home with him Thursday.  His coach said on Wednesday too, that despite some Pac-12 schools trying to get him to visit, he declined and is solid to UCLA.

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 were recruiting him but Lasley visited UCLA last weekend and told Biggins that he's solid to UCLA, won't be taking any more trips and has shut his recruitment down.

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 is the leader. Quick announced a top six last week of Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA and USC.  Quick visit USC last weekend and will visit 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.  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 were also 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. Alabama also had him in for a visit and is making a push, but again, we think it's a UCLA-LSU battle.


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.


After taking 7 OLs for 2013, it was thought that in 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, became a point of concern until recently, when UCLA picked up commitments from Miller and fifth year transfer Malcolm Bunche

Najee Toran, 6-3, 260, Galena Park (Texas) North Shore
National Position Ranking: 18 (C), COMMIT
-- Toran has been a recent riser and he was UCLA's first 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.  

Kolton Miller, 6-7, 285, Roseville (Calif.)
National Position Ranking: 28 (OT), COMMIT
-- 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 Miller visited UCLA last weekend.  He had scheduled a visit to Oregon, but he won't trip to Eugene, committing to the Bruins on Tuesday night.

Kolton Miller.

Malcolm Bunche, 6'6, 330, University of Miami
Offensive Tackle/Guard, COMMIT
-- Bunche, a fifth year transfer out of Miami, began to look around for a new school after the Hurricanes' football season ended. After visiting UCLA this past Sunday, Bunche pulled the trigger and committed to the Bruins. He'll have a year to play, and could slot in immediately at either guard or tackle.

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.

Demetrius Knox, 6-4, 305, Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints' Episcopal School
National Position Ranking: 7 (OG), UCLA Offer
-- As of now, Knox is scheduled to visit UCLA the weekend before Signing Day.  UCLA had a visit with him on Tuesday and that got the visit set for that final weekend.  UCLA was in his final two when he chose Ohio State, but at that point, UCLA had the two JC linemen committed.  Now, having said that, he's scheduled to have an in-home with Urban Meyer this week, so the visit could still not happen.  If he emerges from the in-home with Meyer with plans still to visit UCLA officially, that bodes well for the Bruins.

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.

Kenyon Frison, 6-5, 290, West Valley (Calif.) Granger
National Position Ranking: 25 (OT)
-- Frison is another that UCLA could look to get involved with if the Bruins miss on other targets. He recently decommitted from Utah, and the word is that he'd take a strong look at UCLA if the Bruins came calling. As of now, he's considering a list of schools that includes Arizona State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah.


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