Keeping Track of UCLA Prospects

We like to keep up on any developments with UCLA prospects, so here is a look at some guys UCLA is recruiting with recent news...'s Anna Hickey:

A couple of months ago, running back T.J. Simmons of Lakeland (Fla.) Christian named a top five of Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and UCLA. However, things have changed.

"It's really just Michigan, Florida, Ohio State and UCLA as my top," Simmons said. "Notre Dame is not too far behind those schools, but some things came up academically that I'm still evaluating."

This spring Simmons visited Florida, but he has no other visits on the docket, though it's possible UCLA could receive one this summer. Otherwise, he plans on waiting until the fall to take official visits. "I don't plan on deciding until after the season," Simmons said. "I'm continuing the process right now, evaluating school and talking to my mom about everything. It's (recruiting) still on my mind, but I'm mainly focused on what I have to do this season."

Simmons finished his junior year at Lakeland Christian with over 1,000 rushing yards and ten touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound back tore his ACL on his very first game as a sophomore. For much of his junior year, Simmons wasn't 100 percent, but he still managed an impressive season. Simmons is a three-star prospect and is ranked as the No. 62 running back in the class of 2015.'s Greg Biggins:

Andre James is the No. 2 rated offensive tackle out West and a top 150 player nationally. He had a solid showing at the SoCal NIKE Camp measuring in a very solid 6-5, 274 pounds, tested well with a camp best 45' throw in the power ball and looked very good in the drills.

On the recruiting front, Oregon State offered James on Tuesday night and he landed another Pac 12 offer earlier tonight.

"USC just offered me," James said. "I've been talking with Coach Tuiasosopo for awhile and he told me he has been fighting for an offer for me. Then tonight, I got a call from Coach Sark (Sarkisian) and he offered me a scholarship.

"It's definitely a big offer for me, it's huge. I have a lot of interest in USC, I have liked them for a long time so to get the offer means a lot."

James already visited USC back in March immediately following the NIKE Camp.

As for a timeline to decide, James said he's not close to making a decision.

"No, I want to take my visits first," James said. "I don't have anything locked in yet and I'm still figuring out what schools I'll check out. It's a big decision and I'm in no hurry, I don't want to rush anything until I'm 100% sure of what I'm doing.'s Greg Biggins:

Clayton Johnston has an ideal tackle frame and looks exactly how you would draw it up. He's a well built 6-6, 280 pounds, with long arms and plenty of room to add as much weight as he'll need down the line.

Johnston is a player we expect to hit the double digit offer mark by the end of the spring and he landed No. 6 on Tuesday.

"Arizona came by our school and offered me," Johnston said. "Coach Rod Smith was here and I definitely have interest in Arizona. I'm going to try and visit over the summer if I can. I've already visited Arizona State and that was a great trip but I haven't gotten to UA yet so hopefully I can do that."

Michigan and UCLA have also been by Servite and expect that list to grow rapidly. As for other visits, Johnston said he has two schools locked in for summer camps right now.

"I know I'm going to camp with Oregon and USC," Johnston said. "I'll probably do a few others but those are the only two I know are for sure right now. I'm talking with UCLA too and they want me to camp but I'm not sure if I'll be available the day of their camp.

"Right now, I'm just enjoying the process and looking forward to seeing where my recruitment is going. With all the schools expected to come by, I'm hoping things will continue to pick up and a few more offers will roll in for me. I'm still open to everyone right now so we'll see what happens."

From Hod Rabino of

With nearly half of the Pac-12 schools extending offers and the other half showing strong interest, you would be hard pressed to find an offensive lineman that is coveted by the conference more than Kieffer Longson.

Earlier in the month he visited UCLA and USC, and last week he saw Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington.

The 6-7, 305-pound prospect, rated no. 28 by among 2015 offensive tackles, reported weight room marks of 365 lbs. benching, 450 squatting and 285 lbs. on the power clean.

"I'm more of a power run blocker," Longson described, "But I'm also a good pass blocker, too. I really push guys out of the way."

Aside from scholarship offers in the region, Longson has also been offered by Florida State, Missouri, and Ohio State. The lineman said that right now he doesn't have a short list of favorites.

"After I take all the trips I wanted to take I will narrow (the list of schools) down," Longson commented. "I might visit Ohio State and go to camps at Oregon and UCLA. When I make my decision the coaches will play a big part and it will be a place where I like the people, the education and if that program can get me to the NFL."

From's Mike Coppage:

Destrehan (Louisiana) four-star prospect Kirk Merritt was in Tuscaloosa last weekend for Alabama's spring game.

"It went well," he said. "I met Coach (Nick) Saban and Coach (Burton) Burns and Coach (Billy) Napier. I met (four-star wide receiver commit) Daylon Charlot, too. We talked about the upcoming season and how our teams are going to do.

"We were going to meet up with (five-star Louisiana OT product) Cameron Robinson but couldn't catch up with him. The spring game went well. I liked how 'Bama used their receivers in the open. I think they're going to change their offense some more to where they throw it more. They want to use me as a receiver or running back."

Merritt would like to visit Auburn in the near future.

"I'm trying to visit Auburn," he said. "I'm going to call their head coach. I want to see Auburn and see how they would use me. I've talked with their head coach and their receivers coach."

He visited LSU for the Tigers' spring game.

"I really like how they use their receivers," he said. "I talked with Coach (Frank) Wilson and Coach (Les) Miles about staying home.

"My parents just want me to go where I'll be happy. I've been talking with UCLA, too. I was supposed to talk with their coaching staff soon. I like Oregon too."

Merritt is getting ready for the district track meet next week.

"I'm competing in the 100 and 4-X-100," he said. "I've run a 10.44 in the 100 in a meet at Thibodaux. We've run a 42.4 in the relay."

Merritt (5-11, 205) has the highest SPARQ rating in the nation with a 138.84 that he recorded in New Orleans earlier this year.

He lifted Destrehan to the Class 5A semifinals last year.

From Longhorn Digest's Kevin Flaherty:

Texas's coaching staff hasn't been shy about telling 2015 Aledo (Tex.) star Ryan Newsome that they believe he's the top slot receiver in the entire country.

So when Newsome agreed to come down for the Longhorns' Spring Game, it shouldn't come as any surprise that Texas rolled out the burnt-orange carpet, so to speak.

"Yeah, they definitely rolled it out," Newsome said, laughing. "I can't imagine what they would have done if I was there by myself. The thing about Texas that separates Texas and OU and UCLA: they're recruiting me as a whole staff. You've got your area recruiting coaches, but I hear from each and every coach almost every other week.

"When I get down there, they show my dad love, and they show me love," Newsome said. "I go up to the office, and we can just talk. It's really cool to have that kind of relationship."

Those relationships have certainly helped the Longhorns in Newsome's recruiting, though he said he doesn't have any favorites.

"I would say this though: as far as favorites, I don't have any, but it's no secret that I like Texas," Newsome said. "If anybody asks, I'm going to tell them 'yeah, I like Texas.'

"I'm getting down to where I'm going to have to start narrowing things down soon," Newsome said. "I can't beat around the bush about that; I can't string coaches along. When these coaches come by, any school that feels like it has a shot is going to keep bombarding me. So I have to tell coaches how it really is."

That's not going to be an easy part of the process for Newsome, who looks at his recruitment, and the subsequent opportunity to play college football as "such a blessing."

"It's my dream to play collegiate football," Newsome said. "Obviously, I want to play in the NFL too. But there's something special about college football, with the atmosphere, energy and even the announcers."

Newsome was able to catch some of that at Texas's Spring Game, though he said he'd wait until the season to make any determinations about the Longhorn offense.

"As far as the offense goes, it's a work in progress. They're getting all of the nicks out, all of the wrinkles out," Newsome said. "They're still trying to find an identity on offense and I'm giving them a chance. I'm going to see them show what they can really do."

Newsome tied the national high school record for punt return touchdowns this past season, and he helped blow open a number of games with his special teams play … even later on, when coaches were trying to kick the ball away from him.

While Newsome said his Texas visit went well, he still has several more stops on his college tour checklist, including UCLA, Notre Dame, Florida State and Oregon. Once he visits those schools, he said he can start to "chop down" his list.

It's been a busy, but successful week for Dru Samia. Both Oregon State and San Jose State offered the 6-foot-4, 275-pound San Ramon Valley offensive tackle, bringing his total to six. He also had the opportunity to check out several Pac-12 programs, including USC for its Spring Game over the weekend.

Amazed by the large crowd in attendance, Samia took in the game before getting his measurements taken by the Trojans staff, who made it known they want to see more of him.

"They want me to come down to their camp," Samia said. "If it works out with my schedule, I'm planning on coming down for their O-lineman camp in, I believe, the third weekend of June."

Prior to that, Samia visited Oregon over two days, arriving in Eugene on Thursday. Samia had been told by other recruits that the facilities were "futuristic". When he got to see everything for himself, he was hard pressed to disagree.

"I didn't believe them until I saw it firsthand," Samia said. "That place was very nice."

On Friday, Samia took in a spring practice.

"They were getting a lot of stuff done," Samia said. "Every period was five minutes, they all knew what they had to do, it was fast paced, they got a lot of stuff done and there was a lot of good chemistry on the field."

According to Samia, the only thing holding up an offer from the Ducks is his grades. He admitted his head wasn't in the game academically during his freshman and sophomore years, but he's vowing to turn that around going forward.

"I've been talking with my teachers," Samia said. "They've been hands on and very helpful. I'm just trying to get my work done, trying to raise my cumulative [GPA] and I'm taking the SAT as often as I can to get higher grade."

After his Oregon visit, Samia headed up to Washington. Without a contact up there, he toured the campus briefly on his own accord before heading to Washington State. The Cougars, who have offered Samia, did their best to make the junior feel at home.

"While I was there, I felt like I could come in and be part of the team," Samia said. "I felt the coaches really wanted me there."

Samia admitted he's not ready to name any favorites since more offers could roll in this spring. But he did say where he's headed to next.

"Right now I'm just trying to get a feel for the schools," Samia said. "I'm going to go down this Saturday to watch the UCLASpring Game, so I'll get a chance to talk to the coaches there hopefully."

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