Football Recruiting Reset: Offense

UCLA's recruitment of the 2015 class will be different than in recent years, with UCLA getting more selective and specific about its needs...

UCLA football recruiting for 2015 is a bit different than it's been in Jim Mora's first three recruiting classes, because of a few factors. First, UCLA has limited scholarships for 2015, probably ultimately giving out 15-18, and the depth chart has some considerable young talent; combine that with a stronger interest in UCLA from recruits because of UCLA's success under Mora, and the staff is being far more selective – and specific. Not only are they pursuing fewer recruits, and a higher level of recruit, but they are targeting recruits more specifically for certain roles.

In the past under Mora, UCLA just needed talent. The theory was – get the most talented and plug them into a position later. Now, with UCLA having established some defined roles on both offense and defense, and its luxury of being able to be picky, it can target recruits for more specific needs. For instance, it's clear that UCLA is pursuing pass rushers, specifically five-technique types of rush defensive ends (think Cassius Marsh). It's also specifically targeting rush outside linebackers (of course, think Anthony Barr). On offense, it's looking for speed and elusiveness at wide receiver and in the slot.

Here's a more specific resetting of the recruiting table, given how UCLA's recruiting is different for 2015.

These lists aren't comprehensive, but are comprised of the prospects UCLA has offered that they have a legitimate chance to get, prospects UCLA is fairly close to offering, and those we feel have a good chance to garner a UCLA offer.

QUARTERBACK

Needs at Position: 1

Josh Rosen, 6-4, 205, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Ranking: #12 Overall, #2 QB COMMITTED

UCLA secured a huge part of its recruiting class when Rosen verbally committed March 20th. As we've said previously: the success of UCLA's 2015 recruiting class is almost completely based on whether it gets an elite quarterback prospect, and it got one in Rosen. He'll more than likely be moved to the #1 quarterback spot in Scout.com's rankings, and deservedly so. Rosen has so many of the tools you need to be an elite college quarterback – size, athleticism, a strong arm, accuracy, touch, and intelligence. He also seems to be maturing in terms of leadership, too, which is a big factor. Rosen, too, has been recruiting for UCLA, and it's pretty clear that his commitment will impact a number of recruits, especially receivers who want to catch his spirals for a few years. To UCLA's vast credit, it did an excellent job of recruiting Rosen. The Bruins were trailing for him early on, but Jim Mora himself and quarterback coach Taylor Mazzone were very effective in recruiting Rosen. Then, once they surged ahead for him they got the commitment. It wasn't Kyle Allen Part II. And also to their credit, they weren't as linear in their quarterback recruiting; even though it looked like a pretty sure thing they'd get Rosen, the UCLA staff was recruiting other quarterbacks for 2015 just in case they missed on Rosen. It appears, too, that Rosen's commitment will be incredibly solid to UCLA, and there isn't much worry of a de-commitment.


RUNNING BACK

Needs at Position: 1-2

We added a "1-2" in the needs for running backs in this version of the reset because, even though UCLA probably has room for just one running back, it's recruiting like it's open to taking more than one. When it got an early commitment from Olorunfunmi you might have thought running back recruiting was over, but that's clearly not the case. In fact, Jaason Lewis, who is verbally committed to UCLA, is also ostensibly being recruited as a running back (we've put him in the ATHLETE category in this reset).

Bolu Olonrunfunmi
Bolu Olorunfunmi, 5-11, 210, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis North
Ranking: #55 RB COMMITTED

Olonrunfunmi is a solid running back pick-up, who fulfills the role that UCLA wants and Running Backs Coach Kennedy Polamalu prefers – that of the bigger, NFL-prototype back. He doesn't have great top-end speed (running a 4.7 at the Nike Camp), but he had good quickness in the Nike Camp drills for his size, and when he gets it all moving forward he looks like a locomotive.

Sotonye Jamabo, 6-1, 190, Plano (Tex.) Plano West
Ranking: #32 Overall, #1 RB Offered

It's now public that UCLA is recruiting Jamabo and that he has interest in UCLA. The #1 running back prospect in the country, Jamabo is a big power runner, with a great body that could add quite a bit more bulk, and good explosion. He's not ranked #1 in the country for nothing. He's clearly showing interest in UCLA and it's mutual. UCLA Running Back Coach Kennedy Polamalu has a connection to Jamabo and he's having an impact on the elite prospect. Jamabo plans to visit UCLA sometime this spring or summer, and we've heard that UCLA has a legit shot with Jamabo.


WIDE RECEIVER

Needs at Position: 2-3

UCLA got a number of bigger-type receivers in the 2014 class and are really targeting the fast, elusive game-breaker types. In UCLA's offense it always needs a good amount of receivers, so even in a year when UCLA doesn't have many rides to give out, it's still very feasible that UCLA takes three receivers for 2015, especially if it means getting elite big-play guys.

Christian Kirk
Christian Kirk, 5-11, 190, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro
Ranking: #29 Overall, #4 WR Offered

After watching Kirk at the SoCal Nike Camp, it's a bit uncertain exactly what position he'll play in college. But he's not one of those guys that you say that about since he's not really a fit at any position; with Kirk it's a matter that he could play a number of positions really well. He's getting recruited as a wide receiver, and in UCLA's offense he could split out wide as an X or Z, or be a slot guy at the F, or definitely take some handoffs at tailback. In other words, he could be a major weapon in UCLA's offense. We're hearing UCLA is doing very well with him, and the two current leaders are the Bruins and Texas A&M. Getting the commitment from Josh Rosen clearly helped with Kirk. His recruitment is going to be a long haul, though, and all the elite programs in the country will be pursuing him.

Cordell Broadus, 6-3.5, 190, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #131 Overall, #14 WR Offered

Broadus is considered a top-five receiver in the west, and after seeing him at the SoCal Nike Camp, he solidified that status. He's gotten taller, a legit 6-3, and his body has muscled out some and is developing well. He's not lightning fast, but pretty quick for his size, and has good length to go along with good pass-catching skills. After taking a few big receivers in 2014, UCLA is targeting quicker, elusive receivers, but Broadus might be too good to pass up if he wants to commit. And we're hearing UCLA is probably his leader at this point, after the commitment of his friend Josh Rosen.

Derrick Dillon, 5-11, 175, Franklinton (La.) Pine
Ranking: #35 WR Offered

Dillon plays quarterback at his high school, and he might have one of the best highlight tapes we've seen in recent years. UCLA is looking for elusive, and Dillon is the guy. Mora and the UCLA staff are going after him pretty hard.

L.J. Reed, 6-3, 205, Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks
Ranking: #130 Overall, #14 WR Offered

Reed was offered early, and isn't the fast, elusive receiver UCLA is targeting in 2015, but he's too good not to take. UCLA, actually, ideally would like one bigger-type of receiver in this recruiting cycle and Reed could be it. He very well could end up a Y, too, since he's not only big, as in tall, but pretty thick. He's an exceptional athlete who might actually plug in to a number of spots on either side of the ball. He's high school teammates with incoming freshman receiver Alex Van Dyke, and UCLA's Angus McClure is recruiting him aggressively.

Ryan Newsome, 5-9, 175, Aledo (Tex.)
Ranking: #198 Overall, #26 WR Offered

Ryan Newsome
Newsome is the type of speed guy UCLA is targeting at receiver in 2015. He has offers from some of the elite national programs and his recruitment is going big. Mora, though, has been recruiting him personally and the word is that UCLA is doing very well with Newsome, to the point the Bruins could be leading for him. He plans to visit UCLA sometime spring/summer.

Michael Chigbu, 6-2, 210, New Orleans (La.) Holy Cross,
Ranking: #45 WR Offered

UCLA offered Chigbu, being among the guys the program is targeting in Louisiana for 2015. It appears, though, that Chibgu is leaning more toward Texas A&M, Georgia and Auburn. We've heard that Chigbu is a potentially elite prospect, but there are bigger-type receivers in the west – like Broadus – that UCLA is doing better with and have a better chance to get.

Equanimeous St. Brown, 6-5, 200, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Ranking: #88 Overall, #9 WR

Since UCLA is taking one big receiver, St. Brown might be the best of that type in the west. He's looked great so far this spring, having filled out really well since last year and actually looking like he's improved his quickness, which is pretty good for a guy his size. He has offers from USC, Notre Dame and most of the west, while UCLA is recruiting him pretty consistently but hasn't offered as of yet.

Lavan Alston, 5-11, 175, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Ranking: #40 WR

Alston is our pick for the guy who will improve his stock the most among receivers in the west. We saw him on two successive weekends, one being the SoCal Nike Camp, where he was easily among the top three receiver prospects in attendance. He has very good size, a great body, and explosiveness. His ability to adjust to balls in the air was exceptional. UCLA might not get to him, but if he comes to UCLA's camp in June it's very likely he'll be so good they'll get on him aggressively.


TIGHT END/Y

Needs at Position: 1

UCLA's Y position is a pretty dynamic one. If you remember the way Joseph Fauria was used in Mora's first season that's the ideal type of mismatch the Y can represent in UCLA's spread. It can accommodate more of the traditional tight end type, like Fauria, but also more of one in the H-back mold of a UCLA tight end a few years back, Ryan Moya. The bigger and more athletic the better the player will exploit the mismatches, like Fauria did. The position doesn't necessarily need a great deal of depth, and UCLA probably just needs to take one per year.

Alize Jones, 6-4.5, 220, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #27 Overall, #1 TE COMMITTED

UCLA got a commitment from the #1 tight end in the country early on and it looks like the commitment is very solid. Jones is an elite athlete, who could probably be a five-star defensive end/linebacker if he chose to be. He's also fairly close with Rosen, which always helps – to have two five-star recruits bonding over being committed to UCLA.


OFFENSIVE LINE

Needs at Position: 3-4

UCLA has many more offers out to offensive line prospects than those listed here – most of them being elite national prospects that might be more longshots. These are the guys we could envision being the pool from which UCLA will get its 3 or 4 for 2015. UCLA is in need of probably at least two tackle types.

Keenan Walker, 6-6, 285, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
Ranking: #97 Overall, #9 OT Offered

Keenan Walker
Walker is the #1 offensive line prospect in the West, and UCLA is definitely in the running for him, and probably among a short list of favorites. It's going to be a long haul for him, however, with USC, Texas A&M, Auburn and many others being aggressively involved. He visited UCLA (and USC) earlier in March, but he's said he'll take most of his official visits before deciding.

Tevita Halalilo, 6-5, 330, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
Ranking: #159 Overall, #9 OG Offered

Halalilo is considered one of the best OL prospects in the west for 2015. For how big he is, he's showed good mobility, and has a very good junior tape, where he looks aggressive. UCLA offered him last month and the Bruins are the clear leader.

Roy Hemsley, 6-6, 280, Los Angeles (Calif.) Windward
Ranking: #210 Overall, #21 OT Offered

Hemsley was just promoted to a four-star prospect, and moved up to the #21 offensive tackle prospect in the country. He hasn't played a great deal of football, but he has a great body, actually pretty lean for 280 pounds or so, and is a long-time basketball player, with very good athleticism. He's raw but talented, and he's getting rated (and perhaps even under-rated at this point) because he's at the beginning of his football career. He took an unofficial visit to UCLA last month and UCLA Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm offered him. Since then, on Twitter and among people close to him, he's been saying he likes UCLA quite a bit. There's going to be a good amount of completion, from the entire Pac-12 and others, and the Bruins will push to get an early commitment from him.

Andre James, 6-5, 275, Herriman (Utah)
Ranking: #145 Overall, #14 OT Offered

The #2 tackle prospect in the west, James has offers from all over the country. He visited UCLA when in town for the Nike Camp, and UCLA is doing well with him. There's no feeling that he's an early-commmitment type. Coach Adrian Klemm and Coach Taylor Mazzone are on James and making him a priority. He's not LDS so BYU doesn't necessarily have an advantage with James.

Zach Robertson, 6-4, 315, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Ranking: #24 OG Offered

UCLA offered Robertson early on and the word is that the Bruins are his leader, despite attention from Notre Dame and, most recently, Washington and Arizona State. He's going to take some official visits but isn't going to hold off until Signing Day. As of now the Bruins are the favorites.

Tim Lynott, 6-4, 275, Aurora (Col.) Regis Jesuit
Ranking: #26 OG Offered

The top prospect in the state of Colorado for 2015, Lynott is starting to get a good deal of attention, with a recent offers from Oregon and Miami, to go along with those from UCLA, Arizona State and others. UCLA has a connection to Lynott through Taylor Mazzone, and he's expected to visit UCLA soon.

Darrin Paulo
Darrin Paulo, 6-6, 320, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant
Ranking: #56 OT Offered

Paulo isn't well-known just yet, but UCLA has a connection – with current UCLA tight end Nate Iese being Paulo's cousin. UCLA has offered, as well as California and Washington State. Not too many people have actually seen him in person; on tape he looks big and fairly agile, and probably a better run blocker than pass blocker. He plans to come down to visit UCLA this spring.

Kieffer Longson, 6-7, 300, Sam Ramon (Calif.) Dougherty Valley
Ranking: #30 OT

Longson has a respectable offer sheet, which includes Ohio State, Florida State, Arizona State and others. He recently took an unofficial visit to UCLA and the visit reportedly went very well. Longson is LDS and will go on his Mission right out of high school. UCLA, though, could very well offer him and take a commitment from him, and he wouldn't go against the limited numbers in the 2015 class.

Bar Milo, 6-6, 290, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade
Ranking: #232 Overall, #23 OT

Milo looks very good physically, being a legit 6-6 and a well-together body that could easily put on good weight. He has pretty good athleticism, and showed it at the recent SoCal Nike Camp, where he beat just about everyone in one-on-ones. UCLA has yet to offer, but some of the Pac-12 have along with Nebraska. We know Milo likes UCLA quite a bit, and we could see an offer being extended if he participates in UCLA's camp in June.


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