Thursday Recruiting Buzz Word

More elite prospects are signing up to visit UCLA Jan. 31st, there is one big visit this weekend from a 2015 prospect, and more...

-- Jim Mora and Kennedy Polamalu were in the Denver area and had in-home visits with UCLA-committed running back Nathan Starks, from Englewood (Col.) Cherry Creek, and then running back prospect Kalen Ballage, from Falcon (Col.). We've heard from various sources that both went well, and that UCLA might have an even better chance of flipping Ballage from his commitment to ASU than previously thought.
He visited ASU last weekend, will visit Washington this weekend and then see UCLA Jan. 31st. UCLA ideally would like two running backs in the 2014 class, but would also be pretty happy with only Starks.

-- Today, Mora is in Northern California to have an in-home visit with Kolton Miller, the 6-8 offensive lineman who verbally committed to UCLA Tuesday.

-- Darrel Williams, the four-star running back from Marrero (Louisiana) Ehret John, will officially visit UCLA on Jan. 31st, according to Louisiana sources. He's a soft verbal to LSU, but Jim Mora visited him last week when he was on his Louisiana swing. He'll visit with the Louisiana contingent of receiver Malachi Dupre, linebacker Kenny Young and defensive end Davon Godchaux.

-- It's not completely a done deal, but there is a very good chance that Solomon Thomas, the five-star defensive end from Coppell (Tex.) will unofficially visit UCLA on the weekend of January 31st. It's a pretty huge development if it happens, and a sign that UCLA definitely has a legitimate shot at beating out Stanford for Thomas. Thomas has long been considered a heavy Stanford lean. When he visited UCLA in early December there was some buzz that the Bruins had put themselves in a good spot with Thomas. But then he officially visited Stanford Jan. 10th, Stanford admitted him academically, and the sentiment has been since that Stanford is back to leading for him. There have been some undercurrents still, though, that UCLA has a legit chance. If UCLA does get him in town for the big Jan. 31st weekend, when the Bruins have a crew of elite prospects officially and unofficially visiting, it definitely couldn't hurt UCLA"s chances with Thomas.

-- UCLA's defensive line recruiting is focused on Thomas and Godchaux, the four-star defensive end from Plaquemine (Louisiana). Godchaux is a soft verbal to LSU, but has gone back and forth on whether he was going to visit UCLA. At this point, the visit is on. UCLA already has Ainuu Taua, from Lompoc, Matt Dickerson from San Mateo Serra and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, from Bellflower St. John Bosco, committed, and would probably take one (or both!) of Godchaux and Thomas, or neither if neither wanted to come, and then call it a day. Defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao, from San Antonio (Tex.) Earl Warren, is also out there, and he's said that it's between UCLA, LSU and Oregon, but we think ultimately it's unlikely UCLA takes him.

Josh Rosen.
-- We previously reported that Josh Rosen, the five-star 2015 quarterback from Bellflower St. John Bosco, would be taking an unofficial visit to UCLA Sunday, Jan. 26th. We also said that there would be a reasonable possibility that he could verbally commit to UCLA and Jim Mora on that day.

We also reported that he more than likely would still take a visit or two to other schools, but that, naturally, UCLA would much rather have him verbally committed to UCLA than not committed when visiting elsewhere.

Yesterday, then, Rosen reached out to some 2014 UCLA prospects on Twitter, like Malachi Dupre, Bryce Dixon and Joe Mixon, for them to PM him. Of course, I'm not completely privy to what Rosen said to them, but it's probably a good assumption that he might be compelling them to jump on board UCLA, because he is.

-- It looks like UCLA will focus the remainder of its offensive line recruiting on Demetrius Knox, the four-star guard prospect from Fort Worth (Tex.) All Saints' Episcopal. With commitments from Najee Toran from Galena Park (Tex.) North Shore, Kolton Miller from Roseville (Calif.), and Miami graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche, we're getting a sense that UCLA could be done, with or without Knox. There is Damien Mama, the five-star prospect from Bellflower St. John Bosco, and we had reported that there had been a little bit of an uptick in UCLA's chances with Mama lately, but the feeling is that Mama is still very much a heavy lean to USC. There had recently been some chance that UCLA would try to bring in Kenyon Frison, the four-star tackle prospect from West Valley City (Utah.) Granger, for an official visit, with the possibility of it being the Jan. 31st weekend, but it appears that's unlikely at this point. There is also Larry Allen, the prospect from Concord De La Salle, the son of the NFL Hall of Famer, but with three in the fold, and the possibility of Knox, and good, young depth on the current UCLA OL, UCLA very well could want to save another OL-earmarked scholarship for the 2015 class, since they'll be scarce.

Demetrius Knox.
With Knox now opening up his recruitment just a bit, Texas and new coach Charlie Strong have gotten involved, with Knox visiting Texas this weekend. Remember, Knox was previously committed to Texas under coach Mack Brown, but de-committed when he wanted to take other visits. Now, the Longhorns are back after him, and Texas coaches came by All Saints last week. His high school teammate, fullback prospect Daniel Gresham, might be a key here, too, with the word at one point being that the two wanted to go to the same school together. Gresham, at one time was a Texas commitment also, and decommitted from Texas right after Knox did (he also committed to Louisville after that, but also decommitted from there). It doesn't appear UCLA will recruit Gresham, and it's uncertain how that will impact UCLA's chance.

The Ohio State coaches, including Urban Meyer, had a visit with Knox and his family yesterday, and pictures quickly turned up on Twitter. Tom Herman, an OSU assistant coach then also tweeted: "Flag FIRMLY planted in Fort Worth. No worries. Just smiles. #ProudBuckeye #Dream14 #NotOnMyWatch — Tom Herman (@CoachTomHerman) January 23, 2014 That sounds like a gauntlet being thrown down to UCLA and Texas.

Knox subsquently tweeted that he's not talkng to the media, except for one Ohio State blogger.

-- Brandon Huffman spoke with Elk Grove Cosumnes Oaks coach Ryan Gomes Wednesday, and he said despite some other Pac-12 schools trying to get him to at least visit (Oregon State and Oregon were two specifically), he said receiver prospect Alex Van Dyke is 100% solid to UCLA, ready to sign, ready to be at UCLA and has no plans to visit anywhere else. He took his official visit to UCLA in October, when he committed. The coach also said AVD is having a terrific basketball season, averaging 17 points and six rebounds. Mora and Angus McClure had their in-home with Van Dyke last week.

-- There was a rumor that UCLA-committed defensive back Jaleel Wadood from St. John Bosco would take an official visit to USC this weekend. On the contrary, there's a good chance Wadood will unofficially visit UCLA this weekend to bond with his fellow defensive back recruit, Budda Baker, from Bellevue (Wash.), who is officially visiting this weekend. Wadood and Baker have become friends, and Wadood is very personable so it would certainly help with Baker. Wadood's teammate, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, the defensive end committed to UCLA, is also officially visiting this weekend. And he could also be there to see his other teammate officially visiting, Rosen.

-- We're hearing that Tre Watson, the running back from Corona (Calif.) Centennial, will probably not take his official visit to UCLA on Jan. 31st. At this point, it appears that UCLA and Watson have gone their separate ways.


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