UCLA's 2014 Football Signees

We provide a in-depth look at each recruit UCLA signed in the 2014 class...

UCLA's 2014 Recruiting Class

Ron Robinson, S, 6'2, 195, , Position Rank: 69

Recruiting: Robinson made an early commitment to UCLA, choosing the Bruins over Northwestern soon after UCLA offered in July. Robinson showed well at UCLA's camps in the summer, which led to the UCLA offer. Robinson enrolled in January and signed his papers in December.

Evaluation: Robinson has good size and a frame to add more weight, to the point where many project him as a possible linebacker down the road. He plays as sort of a physical safety, with the ability to jam at the line of scrimmage and play strong in coverage. He's a pretty big hitter as well.

Impact: He'll probably get an initial look at safety, and we suspect that's where he'll slot in his first year. It's going to be interesting, though, to see how much bigger he gets. We know that UCLA has liked using safety-types in the occasional mini-backer role throughout Mora's tenure at UCLA, and we have to imagine that Robinson will be another who can fit that mold.

Zach Whitley, MLB, 6'2, 220, , Position Rank: 6

Recruiting: Whitley was a long-time Alabama commit who began to waver during the season, and took a trip to Los Angeles in December to visit UCLA. We heard word on the trip that he committed to UCLA, but he still had an upcoming visit to Alabama so he wanted to keep it quiet. He held firm to his new pledge to the Bruins and signed with UCLA in January. He was selected to the Army All-American Game.

Evaluation: Whitley is very athletic—we've heard that he tested very well on most of the athletic measurements UCLA does in January, similarly to how Myles Jack tested last year. He's very rangy, with the ability to cover sideline to sideline, and might have the ability to fit in at various spots in the linebacker corps. He didn't show much in the way of coverage skills in high school, but, then again, neither did Jack.

Impact: Immediately, you have to figure that Whitley will have a chance to compete with Isaac Savaiinaea and potentially another recruit for the open middle linebacker position opposite Eric Kendricks. Depending on whether Myles Jack plays more inside or outside, we could see Whitley in the two deep at any of the four linebacker spots. In any case, he's probably not a redshirt candidate.

Najee Toran, C, 6'3, 258, , Position Rank: 18

Recruiting: Toran, a native Texan, was initially committed to Oregon State in August, but flipped to UCLA in November after officially visiting Westwood. Adrian Klemm played a significant role in getting the flip, and Toran also felt a good deal of comfort with Caleb Bennoch, Simon Goines, and Jake Brendel all being Texas natives as well.

Evaluation: A lineman with a nasty streak, Toran has the ability to play any of the three interior line positions. He's actually played a fair bit of tackle for his high school team, and has shown good mobility on the edge. As he adds weight and strength, he should only improve as a player.

Impact: Toran might actually get his first shot at guard, rather than at center, since that's where there is an open spot. Coming in during the spring, Toran will actually be able to join in the competition for the starting left guard spot vacated by Xavier Su'a-Filo. While we can project that one of the returning players will have a leg up in the competition, Toran will get valuable reps and possibly show well enough to carry the competition in to the fall.

Adarius Pickett, CB, 6'0, 185, , Position Rank: 15

Recruiting: Pickett was a heavy UCLA lean for a long time and finally pulled the trigger for the Bruins in September, just after the football season began. He had actually planned to go through the process but committed to UCLA after his official visit and has been rock solid since. Pickett was selected to the Semper Fi All American Game.

Evaluation: He's a very physical corner, with good size for the position and good ball skills. His physicality and strength has carried him a long way, and he showed some development as an athlete this past season, playing several different positions for his high school team, including making an impact on offense. Continuing to develop his athleticism and speed will be important for him going forward.

Impact: Pickett figures to be able to play any position in UCLA's secondary, but the odds are he'll get an initial look at cornerback, with the opportunity to compete with Fabian Moreau and Ishmael Adams (and a host of others) for one of the two starting spots. If he doesn't fit there, Pickett has enough versatility to play any of the other positions in the secondary, or potentially flipping to offense.

Austin Roberts, WR, 6'2, 221, , Position Rank: 36

Recruitment: Roberts has some odd ties to UCLA, with sports information official Rich Bertolucci being longtime friends with Roberts' father. Roberts, an Indiana native, committed to UCLA somewhat out of the blue in June, and has been rock solid since then.

Evaluation: Roberts is another big, rangy type of receiver. He has good speed for his size, and showed very good hands in high school. He has versatility, with the potential to play tight end or wide receiver at the next level, depending on which way his body goes. He's a good blocker as well.

Impact: Between Roberts, Van Dyke, and Lasley, we'd say Roberts has the best chance of competing for immediate playing time simply because his body appears fully college-ready. We could see him playing the Y position to start out with, which could need some additional bodies with the departures of Grayson Mazzone and Darius Bell.

Aaron Sharp, QB, 6'3, 180, , Position Rank: 60

Recruiting: Sharp's recruitment took many sharp turns throughout the process. In June, Sharp was a heavy lean to Utah, with reports that he actually committed. A day later, he switched gears and announced that he wanted to stay closer to home and play at Kansas State. Throughout December and into January, though, UCLA's Taylor Mazzone picked up the recruitment of Sharp and ultimately convinced him to be a Bruin on his official visit in January.

Evaluation: Sharp is an exceptional athlete who is still developing as a thrower. He reportedly ran a 21.19 second 200m, which is incredibly fast. He has decent arm strength, and if he can refine his mechanics, could be a very interesting prospect as a dual threat in the backfield.

Impact: Sharp will have time to develop, with Brett Hundley, Asiantii Woulard, and Jerry Neuheisel all probably ahead of him to start out. If he shows well in fall camp, it's still a good bet that he'll be a redshirt candidate with the quarterback depth ahead of him. If he shows an inclination, though, it wouldn't be a shock to see him get a try at another position, given his athleticism.

Denzel Fisher, CB, 6'2, 170, , Position Rank: 39

Recruitment: After he blew up at the Nike Camp in March, Denzel Fisher finally began to earn some attention. UCLA offered Denzel Fisher in late September, and the cornerback jumped on it soon thereafter, picking the Bruins over Utah and Washington State. UCLA was his longtime favorite school, and even late interest from USC and others didn't sway him from his pledge.

Evaluation: Fisher is long and lean, with good strength and speed. He showed very well at the Nike Camp, and then, during West Coast Bowl practices in January, was easily the best cornerback there, showing significantly better than John Plattenburg. With continued strength training, he has a chance to be a very good corner at the next level.

Impact: Fisher looks like he's added some strength over the last few months, but he probably still has some more weight and strength to add before UCLA would want to throw him into the fire. He'll get the chance to compete for playing time during August camp, but we wouldn't be shocked to see him redshirt this season. He's a pure corner at the next level.

Ainuu Taua, DT, 6'1, 270, , Position Rank: 9

Recruitment: Taua committed to UCLA after officially visiting in early December. The Bruins were the longtime leader for the Lompoc defensive tackle, even though Taua had offers from Arizona State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin, among others.

Evaluation: Taua was the defensive line MVP at the Southern California Nike Camp in March of last year and was also the DL MVP at The Opening. He is very quick and has elite pass rushing skills. The one concern with him was size, but he told us in January that he's already up to 290 pounds, and he looked not too far off that number.

Impact: With the way that Angus McClure likes to mix and match his defensive line to get different skillsets on the field, we could see Taua impacting immediately in that Keenan Graham role that McClure carved out last year, as a situational pass rusher from inside. Of course, Taua could surprise and potentially compete for an even greater role than that in his first year.

Kenny Young, MLB, 6'2, 225, , Position Rank: 7

Recruitment: As we've reported throughout the process, Kenny Young was a longtime silent commitment to UCLA, with Jeff Ulbrich locking him up even prior to his senior season. Young wanted to go through the process, though, so UCLA sweated out multiple official visits before finally inking the talented linebacker on Signing Day. Young was also an Army All American.

Evaluation: Young is a force on the inside, with good ability to range sideline to sideline as well as the bulk and tackling ability to be a run stopper on dives. He's not much of a coverage guy, which might limit how much he can play to start out his career, but his motor and aggressiveness are both plus qualities of his.

Impact: Young could compete with Whitley and Savaiinaea, not to mention Judge and Brown, for the vacant inside linebacker position opposite Eric Kendricks. Even if he doesn't win the starting job, we'd project him making an impact in the two deep and on special teams to start out his career.

Alex Van Dyke, WR, 6'4, 210, , Position Rank: 39

Recruitment: Van Dyke ended his recruitment in October, opting for UCLA over a list of schools that included California, Oregon, and Oregon State. The receiver had 20+ offers, but Angus McClure and Eric Yarber both did a good job of reeling him in fairly early despite UCLA already having several receivers committed.

Evaluation: Van Dyke is big and rangy with good hands, good speed, and good strength. He's already good in the red zone, which might be attributed to his basketball training, and projects to get even taller, which could make him an even bigger touchdown threat. He's a very good athlete, and could be an impact player down the line.

Impact: UCLA uses its receivers in a myriad of ways, and we could see Van Dyke plugging in at either the Y, X, or Z, depending on the way his body goes. We could easily see him playing as a true freshman, but there's also a chance that he will redshirt to gain strength.

Kolton Miller, OT, 6'8, 280, , Position Rank: 28

Recruiting: UCLA came on late for Miller, offering fairly late in the process and having him on a visit for the first time in January. Miller chose the Bruins over Oregon, Oregon State, and a host of other schools who came in with offers for the tackle. Angus McClure did much of the heavy lifting in the Miller recruitment, and Adrian Klemm was able to seal it during the official visit.

Evaluation: Miller, despite his considerable height, moves really well for his size and is a good athlete, with a 27 inch verticle and a 5.1 second 40. He improved significantly from his junior to senior year, and as he continues to get stronger throughout his upper body, could project to be a big-time contributor down the road.

Impact: Miller projects almost exclusively as a tackle, given his height. Depending on Torian White's status in the fall, you could see Miller potentially competing for a spot in the two deep to start out his career. Depending on what kind of shape he is in after summer workouts, it'll be very interesting to see whether he's ready for that kind of role come fall camp.

Jaleel Wadood, S, 5'11, 170, , Position Rank: 8

Recruiting: Wadood certainly enjoyed the recruiting process. At one time, he was committed to Arizona State, then he subsequently flipped to California, and then, after Cal's disaster of a season became apparent, he decommitted from the Bears and opened it up again to UCLA and USC. After connecting with Jim Mora on his official visit, Wadood committed to UCLA and shut down his recruitment.

Evaluation: Wadood has earned a reputation as one of the toughest players in California. While a bit slight for a traditional safety, Wadood makes up for it with great instincts and awareness. He isn't a complete speedster, but his instincts generally put him in the right place at the right time. He also made an impact on offense for St. John Bosco, and could find a role as a slot receiver at the next level as well.

Impact: Wadood will get his first look at safety, but, like Pickett, he has the ability to impact at many different positions, including each position in the secondary. He could easily see the field as a true freshman, either in the secondary or as a playmaker on offense.

Dwight Williams, OLB, 6'1, 212, , Position Rank: 36

Recruiting: Williams had a very volatile recruitment. Beginning in his sophomore year, Williams was one of the most sought after linebacker prospects in the country, earning offers from across the country. In large part due to a lackluster senior season, though, he saw most of those offers float away, to the point where it was an open question whether he'd find a BCS-conference school to take him. Prior to the Army All-American Bowl, though, he indicated his desire to become a Bruin, and UCLA accepted the commitment.

Evaluation: Williams is certainly an athlete, but the question has been how solid his motor is. He took plays and whole games off this year, and didn't seem particularly interested even when Serra was in the playoffs. He has the athletic skills to make an impact at the college level, with good quickness and speed, but his love of the game is probably a question mark.

Impact: Williams probably projects as an inside linebacker in UCLA's system, and he'll have to add weight to be a potential starter there. For his first year, there's a good chance that he'll play on special teams in much the same way that Jayon Brown and Cameron Judge did this past season.

Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, DE, 6'4, 265, , Position Rank: 14

Recruiting: Tuioti-Mariner had a huge senior year, rising from a two-star to a four-star, and the offers flowed in. UCLA offered him during St. John Bosco's playoff run, and, with a firm desire to stay close to home, Tuioti-Mariner committed to the Bruins within a month.

Evaluation: Tuioti-Mariner has very good athleticism for his size, having been a volleyball player as well at the high school level. He's a very good pass rusher, and a good comparison for him would be someone like Cassius Marsh.

Impact: He projects, like Dickerson, as a player with the potential to crack the eight man rotation immediately upon entering school. He gives UCLA that dimension it's losing with Marsh's graduating, providing a good pass rush from one of the end spots. His quickness and pass rush skillset could earn him early playing time.

Matt Dickerson, DE, 6'5, 280, , Position Rank: 22

Recruiting: Dickerson's commitment to UCLA was a bit of a shocker for most involved. The four-star defensive end was committed to Notre Dame for a very long time, but ultimately flipped his commitment from Notre Dame after deciding that he wanted to stay closer to home due to a family illness. Angus McClure kept up with Dickerson throughout the process, giving the defensive end a viable option when he wanted to stay closer to home.

Evaluation: Dickerson is a load, probably even heavier now than his listed 280 pounds. He fits very well in a 3-4 system, with the ability play a strong defensive end role or even slide inside to play nose tackle. He's shown more of a space-eater/run-stopper skillset in high school, but could develop pass rushing skills, since he's a good athlete for his size. He did miss the majority of his senior season with a back injury.

Impact: UCLA likes to use an eight man rotation along the defensive line, and we have to imagine that Dickerson has a chance to compete for a role in that rotation. His size, strength, and athleticism are all college-ready, and the questions are simply whether his back is fully healthy and how quickly he will pick up the technique Angus McClure teaches.

Jordan Lasley, WR, 6'2, 180, , Position Rank: 69

Recruitment: Lasley committed to UCLA prior to his senior year after the Bruins offered based off his performance at their camp. He earned a great deal of attention afterward from USC, and the thought was that he might flip, but, in the end, he shut his recruitment down in January and announced he was staying a Bruin.

Evaluation: Lasley has very good speed and quickness for his size, and a good set of hands. He also runs good routes. The knock on Lasley is that he is a big talker, which can sometimes be taken as a bad attitude. From what we've heard, though, his teammates generally like him, and Jim Mora, in particular, developed a very good relationship with him.

Impact: Lasley provides a good amount of speed, and might be one of the faster receivers on the team next year, depending on how a couple of recruitments go. We see him playing the big outside receiver role, much like Devin Lucien, and we could see him competing for playing time in his first year.

Nathan Starks, RB, 6'0, 190, , Position Rank: 19

Recruiting: Starks was not recruited early on by UCLA when Steve Broussard was the running backs coach, but after UCLA hired Kennedy Polamalu, the Bruins got back in touch with Starks. When UCLA lost the Joe Mixon sweepstakes in early January, they immediately pivoted, asked for a commitment from Starks, and got it that weekend. Starks was an Army All-American.

Evaluation: Starks, at one point, was actually rated higher than Mixon as a running back, and he has a chance to be a very good one. He has good size, quickness, and strength, but lacks true top end speed. He has also shown a solid ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Impact: Starks should compete for immediate playing time in the running back rotation. If you project Jordon James as a starter, the rest of the depth chart is extremely fluid, with Paul Perkins, Craig Lee, Starks, and a few others all in the mix to compete for playing time.

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