Football Recruiting Reset: Offense

There are some new names on UCLA's recruiting board, as a result of the UCLA coaches being out during the Evaluation Period...

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. Rosen has been recruiting for UCLA, and the hope is that the prospect of playing with such a talented quarterback will compel others to jump in the boat.


RUNNING BACK

Needs at Position: 1-2

We added a "1-2" in the needs for running backs since, 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: #43 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. He has said he's solid to UCLA, but also made some references at times to keeping the door slightly open, which we think is his way of compensating for UCLA potentially another running back.

Sotonye Jamabo, 6-1, 190, Plano (Tex.) Plano West
Ranking: #39 Overall, #2 RB OFFERED

UCLA started recruiting Jamabo pretty seriously in March and the interest is mutual. The #2 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 #2 in the country for nothing. 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.

T.J. Simmons, 5-11, 190, Lakeland (Fla.) Lakeland Christian
Ranking: #61 RB OFFERED

Simmons is a speedster who is really seeing his stock improve this spring. He has offers from big programs from all over the country, like Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida State. UCLA has offered, and he recently said that UCLA, Florida and Ohio State are recruiting him the hardest.

Ray-Ray McCloud, 5-10, 175, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Sickles
Ranking: #45 RB OFFERED

McCloud has been coming on this spring, garnering a good deal of offers, including from UCLA. The Bruins were on him fairly early and have kept on him so there's mutual interest. There is a thought that he'll stay local, probably Florida, but he's going to visit other programs this summer like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and Michigan, and he plans to visit UCLA in late June.

Other to Watch:

Malik Roberson, 5-6, 175, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Ranking: #46 RB


WIDE RECEIVER

Needs at Position: 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.

L.J. Reed, 6-3, 205, Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks
Ranking: #131 Overall, #14 WR OFFERED COMMITTED

Reed committed to the coaches at UCLA's spring game, after it was pretty well-known he was leaning heavilty toward committing. He 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, though, after spring practice where a few smaller receivers emerged, might not be limited to just one "big" receiver for the 2015 class. Reed, too, very well could end up a Y, 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 was mostly responsible for his commitment. We've heard there could be a question on whether he qualified academically for UCLA.

Christian Kirk
Christian Kirk, 5-11, 190, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro
Ranking: #35 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 as many programs around the country have gotten on him pretty hard we continue to hear that the consistent two at the top 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 on him until the end.

Cordell Broadus, 6-3.5, 190, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #133 Overall, #15 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. He has said that he'll wait until Signing Day to announce, but he could make up his mind before then.

Ryan Newsome, 5-9, 175, Aledo (Tex.)
Ranking: #188 Overall, #23 WR OFFERED

Ryan Newsome
Newsome is the type of speed guy UCLA is targeting at receiver in 2015. He ran a 10.51 in track this spring. He has offers from some of the elite national programs and his recruitment is going big. Mora has been recruiting him personally and the word is that UCLA is doing well with Newsome, even though we're hearing Texas is really pulling out all the stops, and Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan are now involved. He plans to visit UCLA sometime spring/summer.

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

Since UCLA might be taking more than one big receiver, St. Brown is now definitely on the possibility list, especially since he's probably the best big receiver in the west. He's looked great 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. UCLA offered him in April, which was a bit late compared to others like USC and Notre Dame, but we've heard UCLA was a childhood favorite and that has helped place the Bruins in his top few programs. He has said recently he'll wait to decide, so that could really help the local schools, and especially UCLA if it has the type of season that's expected.

Paul Lucas, 5-11, 185, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe
Ranking: #32 RB OFFERED

UCLA offered Lucas in late April, after recognizing that he has elite track-level speed. Lucas is primarily a running back in high school, but projects as an F back in college, a guy who can carry the ball but catch it out of the slot mostly. The Arizona schools are on Lucas, and Notre Dame and Nebraska have offered.

Derrick Dillon, 5-11, 175, Franklinton (La.) Pine
Ranking: #22 WR OFFERED

Dillon plays quarterback at his high school but is being recruited as a slot receiver, the type ofg elusive one UCLA is looking for in 2015. Mora and the UCLA staff were on him a couple of months ago pretty aggressively, but it seems like there isn't much UCLA buzz to his recruitment. The word is that Florida State, Florida and Texas A&M might have pulled ahead.

George Campbell, 6-4, 190, Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake
Ranking: #26 Overall, #3 WR OFFERED

Campbell has size and speed, and that combo gets him the lofty ranking. UCLA is trying, and Campbell recently said that UCLA was on a narrowed list.

Carlos Strickland, 6-4, 198, Dallas (Tex.) Skyline
Ranking: #102 Overall, #9 WR OFFERED

UCLA coaches went to see Strickland in May, and the word is that the Bruins have a legitimate chance, along with LSU, Alabama, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The word is that Strickland intends to visit UCLA this summer.

Taeon Mason, 6-0, 170, Pasadena (Calif.) Muir
Ranking: #279 Overall, #32 WR OFFERED

Mason is committed to USC, but UCLA has been picking up its recruitment of him this spring. It's uncertain where he would project in college, being raw on both sides of the ball, but Mason has exceptional speed, and it's thought he'd plug in as a slot receiver the best. UCLA assistant coach Martin is from Pasadena Muir so he has some connections into Mason.

DeAndre McNeal, 6-2, 210, Mesquite (Tex.) Ralph Poteet />
Ranking: #84 WR

UCLA just recently offered McNeal when UCLA coaches were taking a swing through the state of Texas. McNeal's recruitment has really blown up recently, and the versatile athlete is projected at a number of positions in college. It's uncertain just what kind of shot UCLA has with him.

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 Reed, St. Brown and Broadus – that UCLA is doing better with and have a better chance to get.

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: 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 4 for 2015. With how some OLs on the current roster emerged in spring practice as clearly able to play tackle, UCLA Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm doesn't necessarily need tackles as much as he did just a couple of months ago.

Tevita Halalilo
Tevita Halalilo, 6-5, 325, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
Ranking: #165 Overall, #11 OG COMMITTED

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. He's continued to get in better shape and his athleticism will clearly improve as he trims down further. UCLA offered him in March, and he was thought to be close to committing until he pulled the trigger in April.

Josh Wariboko, 6-3, 305, Oklahoma City (Okla.) Casady School )
Ranking: #157 Overall, #10 OG OFFERED

The one-time Oklahoma commit opened up his recruitment, and UCLA offered, along with many others. There are some that think UCLA has a really good shot, and others close to the recruitment who think Wariboko is a hard read. Klemm is on him pretty aggressively.

Drew Richmond, 6-6, 290, Memphis (Tenn.) Memphis University School
Ranking: #115 Overall, #10 OT OFFERED

We've heard that UCLA is doing well with Richmond, after Klemm went to see him recently at his high school. Interestingly, Richmond says he wants to announce a decision September 9th, and the only official visit he's certain of is to UCLA. He said he could still visit other schools in addition to the one he announces for, however. But it's a good sign, and the feeling is that the Bruins either currently lead or are right there for Richmond.

Andre James, 6-5, 275, Herriman (Utah)
Ranking: #148 Overall, #13 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. He recently released his top six of UCLA, USC, Utah, Oregon, Oklahoma, Ohio State.

Conner Dyer, 6-5, 280, Mesquite (Tex.) Horn
Ranking: #218 Overall, #13 OT OFFERED

Dyer has a great deal of potential, with a good frame, capable of putting on more weight, and very good feet. UCLA has been trying, but with offers from the likes of LSU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, the feeling is that it will be tough for UCLA.

Connor Williams, 6-5, 275, Coppell (Tex.)
Ranking: #56 OG OFFERED

On his trip to Texas, Klemm offered Williams, an athletic prospect who is garnering more and more offers this spring. He's a former tight end with very good feet, and would be a good fit in UCLA's OL, which requires athleticism. Williams' sister lives in Los Angeles, as a flight attendant, so it'd make it easy for Williams to make the trip.

Semisi Uluave, 6-5, 320, Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou
Ranking: #85 OG OFFERED

Uluave might be one of the most under-rated prospects in the west, mostly because it's generally difficult for college coaches to get out to Hawaii to see prospects. Uluave, though, just participated in the NorCal NIKE Camp and looked very good. UCLA had been on him previously, but it will almost certainly pick up its recruitment of him.

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.

Drew Richmond
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, 6-6, 320, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant
Ranking: #64 OT OFFERED

Paulo is a guy with some connections to UCLA (current UCLA fullback Nate Iese is Paulo's cousin). UCLA had offered, but recently there have been some reservations about Paulo, and we think the Bruins could be backing off.

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 took an unofficial visit to UCLA, and the visit reportedly went very well, while he also intends to camp at UCLA this June to earn an offer. 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-put-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.

Others to Watch:

Dru Samia, 6-4, 275, Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley
Kevin Estes, 6-5, 260, San Marcos (Calif.)
Johnny Capra, 6-6, 275, Auburn (Calif.) Placer
Jack Dreyer, 6-8, 280, San Mateo (Calif.) Serra


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