Of course, it's incredibly premature, with 356 days to go before National Signing Day. And this is in no way a prediction of UCLA's class, because making that kind of prediction would be really foolish.
This is the class that, as of right now, UCLA has a realistic chance of getting that would best fill its needs. So it's not an outlandish dream team, which would list prospects that UCLA has little chance to get; it's a list of 2015 prospects that we could reasonably see UCLA getting. We also recognize that there are elite prospects omitted here that UCLA has a decent chance with, and that so much can happen between now and next February.
, Ranking: #6 DE, #26 Overall
Kaumatule might be the #1 true defensive end prospect in the west. He's all upside at this point, with a great, long body and athleticism. His older brother, yes, is at Stanford, but the word is that the younger Kaumatule might not have the academics to make it into Stanford, and UCLA could be there for him. You can expect the Bruins to go hard after him.
, Ranking: #8 DE, #39 Overall
McKenzie has emerged as one of the best defensive tackle prospects in the west, having gotten quite a bit bigger and better. He was probably 270 pounds going into the season, but he's now 300+. UCLA has some advantages in the recruitment, with the mother being a Bruin, and UCLA assistant Adrian Klemm going back a ways with the father. In fact, the dad was an assistant general manager with the Packers when Klemm played in Green Bay, and Klemm and the McKenzies are actually still close friends.
, Ranking: #3 DE, #18 Overall
Lucier-South is easily one of UCLA's biggest targets, for a number of reasons. He and Alize Jones could be the two best 6-5 athletes in the nation. Lucier-South fits perfectly into Anthony Barr's rush linebacker role, and it's a great place for Lucier-South to display his talents for the NFL. He's a great kid that gets respect from his high school coaches. And reportedly, he's leaning to UCLA. We've heard, however, that Michigan, his childhood favorite (since his dad went there) is going to be tough to beat. Lucier-South spent a couple of hours Saturday on UCLA's campus (Story).
, Ranking: #15 OLB
Alexander didn't have many high-major offers when UCLA offered him in November and he quickly committed. There are two problems here, though. Other big-named programs in the area are bound to jump on board with an offer; Florida already has. As coaches get out to see him in spring they're going to recognize that Alexander plays much bigger than his 5-10 height, especially since he's a legit 220 and hits like a truck. So, the first problem is going to be SEC-area programs recruiting Alexander hard, and the second will be UCLA trying to hold onto him. Also, Trinity Christian is loaded with talent, and SEC and ACC programs will play up the package attraction for Alexander and his teammates, like fellow linebacker and friend Jeffrey Holland, who is a beast in his own right. UCLA is going after Holland, so perhaps UCLA can use the package effect to its advantage and get Holland, too. We think it's a very good bet Alexander ends up a four-star prospect.
, Ranking: #7 OLB, #57 Overall
We are fond of big, long, athletic prospects who have frames that could easily put on 30 pounds. That's Masina, and in our opinion, he could be the best linebacker prospect in the west for 2015. Many big-named programs have recognized Masina, too, as an elite prospects – like Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford, and USC. Masina's brother is at Utah, but the Utah program isn't exactly a great attraction right now. We haven't heard that UCLA has any particular connection with Masina, but UCLA does have, first, Kennedy Polamalu, who has the Polynesian connections and Utah ties. Then, there is UCLA DC/LB coach Jeff Ulbrich, who is a great recruiter. Ulbrich has an uncanny knack for getting linebackers to bond with him and want to play for him. So far, Ulbrich has only really gone aggressively after mostly out-of-the-region linebacker prospects. So, now, with Masina, Ulbrich will be able to stay closer to home to pursue a prospect he almost certainly covets, so we have to give UCLA a chance with Masina. We think that, once Masina is seen more at various camps, he'll move up in the rankings and be in the five-star range by next February.
, Ranking: #1 S, #33 Overall
Tell is the #1 safety in the nation and all accounts point to him being an early UCLA lean. He has great range and instincts, and combines that with athleticism and length. It isn't going to be easy, though, to get him, with the likes of USC, Notre Dame, Nebraska and, inevitably, more elite national programs coming hard after him. More than likely Tell, if he retains this level of national ranking, will end up a five-star prospect.
, Ranking: #11 CB, #79 Overall
We're not sure Holiday ends up a cornerback in college but, regardless, he's a great-looking prospect no matter what position he plays. He has excellent ball skills, and looks very natural at receiver, too. He might grow into a good cover safety also. UCLA doesn't have many defensive secondary scholarships available for 2015 and Holiday might be a great fit because of his versatility. We have heard UCLA is doing very well with him, and he recently visited UCLA unofficially.
Ranking: #6 CB, #48 Overall
Norman is another guy that we're not sure about in terms of his college position. Most of the time he's considered a cornerback, but he looked so good at UCLA's camp last summer at receiver. He's a bit smallish, but quick and with very good ball skills. "Scrappy" has some big-time offers, from USC, Florida State and Oklahoma, and the fact he's transferred to Gardena Serra isn't considered necessarily a positive for UCLA's recruitment of him. But as of right now, we have it on good authority the Bruins are the solid leaders for him.
, Ranking: #22 WR, #178 Overall
Lewis just committed to UCLA and, like we've said, it's difficult to turn down a 6-3, 235-pound guy who can really run. UCLA recruited him as a running back, and there's as good a chance as any that he ends up being UCLA's change-of-pace big back. He also could end up a Y receiver or (and perhaps most likely?) a linebacker. Even though he has said he's committed and won't change his mind about his UCLA commitment, sources in the area think he might, and that it's going to be an adventure keeping him committed up to NSD next year.
CALIBER OF RECRUITING CLASS
Warning: If you don't care for highly-speculative analysis for entertainment purposes only, don't read any further.
This projected, reasonable dream class would be one with 16 high school seniors and one transfer – a pretty small class, but a very talented one. In terms of its ultimate ranking, this 16-member class (transfers don't count if we're doing this with Scout.com's rankings in mind) could rank among the best, in terms of talent per signee, than any class in the last 14 years. It's conceivable, if you go by how the five-star designation was given out in 2014 and some conservative projection, this class could have 8 five-star prospects (Rosen, Jones, Kirk, Kaumatule, McKenzie, Lucier-South, Masina, Tell), and 8 four-star prospects, which would give it a 4.5 average star ranking. That would be the highest in the history of Scout.com's rankings. Only 10 classes have even averaged over 4 stars since 2002, and USC's class in 2013 averaged the highest, 4.42. Even if this dream class had just 7 five-star prospects, it would still average 4.43.
Of course, we're getting way ahead of ourselves. But it illustrates the point that UCLA's reasonable dream class, or even one close to it, which UCLA has a reasonable chance of getting in 2015, could conservatively rank among the five most-talented classes in college football in the last 12 years.