Measuring Stick Recruits: 2015

UCLA is on the cusp of being among the elite programs in the nation. With the 2014 class we listed the Measuring-Stick recruits -- those that would send a message that UCLA has arrived. It's now a regular BRO feature...

We did a piece last fall about "Measuring-Stick Recruits," those prospects in the 2014 class that, if UCLA got, it would mean the program measures up in terms of recruiting at an elite level. We decided, since the piece was so popular, to make it a regular feature. So here's our early list of Measuring-Stick Recruits for 2015 – these are the guys, as of right now, that are the type of prospects who send a message that UCLA's program is recruiting with the big boys.

The Measuring Stick Sweet 16:

#16) Isaiah Langley, 6-0, 170, Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill
, Ranking: #8 WR, #78 Overall

Langley is a top 100 national prospect, and it's a testament to how far UCLA has come in recruiting that you can kind of take it for granted that UCLA is seriously involved with so many of them in the 2015 class. But it only got two in 2014, so they don't grow on trees. Langley, too, will have some big-named programs pulling out all the stops for him, so it would definitely show that UCLA is capable of beating out other elite programs on a recruit that wasn't necessarily leaning any way going into the recruiting cycle.

Osa Masina
#15) Osa Masina, 6-4, 210, Salt Lake City (Utah)
, Ranking: #7 OLB, #57 Overall

It's always an accomplishment to get an out-of-state, top-60 national prospect like Masina. You have to beat out other nationally elite programs and then the local favorites. We think by the end of summer Masina could emerge as an even bigger name, once he displays his size and athleticism on the camp circuit, and he'll become an even bigger get by National Signing Day.

#14) Stanley Norman, 5-10, 170, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
, Ranking: #6 CB, #48 Overall

Norman is among the top ten recruits in California for 2015, and the #2 cornerback in the west. It's a sign that UCLA has elevated its recruiting under Mora when, just going into the 2015 recruiting cycle, UCLA is already leading for so many top-50 national prospects, like Norman.

#13) Kahlil McKenzie, 6-4, 310, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle
, Ranking: #8 DE, #39 Overall

McKenzie might be the #1 defensive tackle in the west. We think he'll probably show very well this spring and summer at the various camps and combines and solidify his place as a top-40 national prospect. UCLA didn't get a top-40 national prospect in 2014, and got just one in 2013 (Eddie Vanderdoes) and one in 2012 (Ellis McCarthy), so if it got a few of them in 2015 it would really show UCLA's climb in recruiting, and McKenzie would be a big part of that.

#12) Tevita Halalilo, 6-6, 320, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
, Ranking: #8 OG, #162 Overall

He's probably the #1 offensive line prospect in California, so getting him, to go along with the #1 OL in the west (Walker), it would be a great 1-2 combo on the offensive line. In a year when there aren't many elite OLs in the west, if UCLA could snag the #1 guy in the state it would be significant.

#11) Victor Alexander, 5-10, 220, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian
, Ranking: #15 OLB

First off, we consider Alexander under-rated as a three-star prospect and we would suspect that's going to change. So, then, secondly, getting a four-star or better prospect from SEC country would support UCLA's burgeoning capability of recruiting against the big boys. Alexander is going to have a great deal of SEC pressure, particularly from Florida, especially with so many of his high school teammates getting recruited by the SEC, so if UCLA can hold off all of that and hold onto Alexander it would be big.

Canton Kaumatule
#10) Canton Kaumatule, 6-6, 270 Honolulu (Haw.) Punahou
, Ranking: #6 DE, #26 Overall

Hands down, if UCLA ever gets an out-of-state, top-30 national prospect it's measuring-stick-worthy. Kaumatule is a big name, and there would be some added coup-age since his brother is at Stanford (even though Canton might be precluded from Stanford because of academics, it would still be an added p.r. victory that UCLA got him while his brother was at Stanford). The biggest reason Kaumatule makes this list is that UCLA would beat out elite programs for an out-of-state elite recruit.

9) Marvell Tell, 6-2, 185, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
, Ranking: #1 S, #33 Overall

To get the #1 prospect at any position is a huge win. UCLA, in fact, hasn't gotten the #1 prospect at a position since 2009 (Morrell Presley), and only twice in the last 13 years (Marcedes Lewis, 2002). UCLA, though, has a legitimate chance to get three #1 prospects at their position in 2015. How's that for an indication of how far UCLA has come in recruiting under Mora? UCLA currently leads for Tell, but it would still be a true victory to hold on to him when he has every major program in the nation after him.

#8) Alize Jones, 6-5, 215, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
, Ranking: #1 TE, #24 Overall

With this list you can tend to discount the elite prospects that UCLA leads for – thinking it wouldn't necessarily be measuring-stick-worthy to get them. But you have to step back and appreciate that it would be a major accomplishment to get a top 25 national prospect, even if UCLA leads for him early and has a verbal commitment from him. Jones stands out, too, because he's the five-star-level athlete that UCLA didn't get in the previous two coaching regimes – the kind of guy that used to go to USC. If Jones were a defensive end he very well could be the #1 prospect in the west, he's that talented of an athlete.

Roquan Smith
#7) Christian Kirk, 5-10, 190,Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro
, Ranking: #4 WR, #35 Overall

It has all the makings of a great showdown: Kirk is the #1 receiver in the west, he has elite national programs pursuing him, USC is a contender so that provides the rivalry angle, and he'll get pressure to stay home. Throw in that he's the type of fast, elusive receiver UCLA is missing a bit in their receivers group and it just heightens the drama.

#6) Keisean Lucier-South, 6-5, 220, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran
, Ranking: #3 DE, #18 Overall

It's similar with Lucier-South as it is with Jones, that you potentially wouldn't give UCLA enough credit if it, indeed, got him since he's local and a UCLA lean. But despite expectations, it would be a major coup, especially since Lucier-South fills a big-time need in a rush end/linebacker. To keep him away from Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon and other elite programs, too, would be a big accomplishment, so it's not really fair to take for granted that UCLA probably is the early leader for him, or if it gets him.

#5) Rasheem Green, DL, 6-5, 270, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
, Ranking: #4 DE, #19 Overall

Green is the #1 defensive lineman in the west and in SoCal; he's thought to be a USC lean, and he's at a high school, Serra, that has a perception it's USC-leaning (despite UCLA getting two 2014 prospects from there). This would be close in impact to getting Marshall, but we think UCLA has less of a chance with Green than they do with Marshall – which would make it an even bigger coup.

#4) Any Out-of-the-West Top 100 Prospect

This would be one prospect, just one, from guys like Florida defensive end CeCe Jefferson (#5), Virginia defensive tackle Tim Settle (#14), Florida receiver George Campbell (#23), Florida linebacker Jeffrey Holland (#34) or Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith (#89). UCLA pursued a number of Top-100 SEC-area prospects for 2014, and you have to give them some credit for being involved to the end with each one – but the Bruins missed on them. It was good in a way; it made national headlines – that UCLA is a program on a level that will now compete for elite prospects in SEC country. We're not necessarily advocating that spending a great deal of time recruiting these types of players is a practical idea, just merely stating that, if UCLA does pursue them aggressively, getting one would be another indication to the college football world that UCLA is now among the elite programs in the country. If it got two of them it would be an even stronger message. The Bruins, with a top-ten national season in 2015, might have more recruiting power with SEC-area recruits than it did with 2014.

Iman Marshall
#3) Iman Marshall, CB, 6-1, 190, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
, Ranking: #2 CB, #6 Overall

Iman "Biggie" Marshall is the #1 prospect in the west, and it's thought he has childhood-favorite and family-favorite USC leading. UCLA missed out on the top two prospects in the west in 2014 – to USC – so this would send a strong message that UCLA is on top in the west and in SoCal. We think it's still a longshot, but believe UCLA has a better chance with Marshall than it had with either Adoree Jackson or Juju Smith. Jim Mora has really taken on this recruitment personally – and early.

#2) Keenan Walker, 6-6, 280, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
, Ranking: #10 OT, #94 Overall

It's the showdown at the OK Corral: Walker is the #1 offensive line prospect in the west for 2015; he's coveted by big-named programs like Texas, USC, and Texas A&M, and you can probably expect the SEC and Big Ten to get involved soon; he'll be pressured to stay home and go to Arizona State, and UCLA's Offensive Line Coach and Recruiter Extraordinaire, Adrian Klemm, has him in his sights. This would be Klemm's biggest recruiting accomplishment yet.

#1) Josh Rosen, 6-3, 190, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
, Ranking: #2 QB, #11 Overall

As we've said, he's kind of the bellweather of this class: If UCLA gets him, the 2015 class will almost certainly be considered successful; if not, it probably won't. Whenever you get the #1 quarterback prospect in the country (even if Scout.com hasn't made him #1 yet, we clearly believe he is), you have to out-recruit other elite programs to get him. Yeah, UCLA has an advantage, that Rosen lives a couple of blocks away from Jim Mora, but you still would have to give them credit for not letting him get away. It can't be hyped up enough: Rosen would be the biggest recruiting accomplishment since Mora has come to UCLA, not only in terms of what it means in rankings, national image, etc., but the impact Rosen potentially will have on the program.


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