Football Recruiting Reset: Defense

As a result of the Spring Evaluation Period, UCLA has added some more elite prospects to its list, including a pair of Jeffersons...

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.

In analyzing UCLA's defensive recruiting needs for 2015, the recruiting efforts have gotten more specific at defensive line and linebacker but, interestingly, more general in the secondary. UCLA is targeting specific types of player in the front seven, but looking for the two best elite defensive backs who want to jump on board regardless of their specific positioning. Both of these developments come from UCLA having a good amount of talent on all the defensive units and how UCLA's defense defends against a spread. On the front seven, UCLA is looking to enhance various packages, mostly its pass-rush package. In the secondary, since it uses nickels and dimes and various other looks, UCLA wants versatile prospects who can do it all – be strong in coverage when they line up as a cornerback but also roam the field and move forward against the run as more of a safety type.

This is how it is when UCLA wins – it can be far more selective and pursue such a higher-caliber of prospect.


DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Needs at Position: 1

As we said, UCLA's recruiting needs have changed for 2015, and gotten more specific than in past years, which they can afford to do since they have a good deal of talent in the program. That impact might be the most felt in defensive line recruiting, where Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure has a strong depth chart and can almost pick and choose the types of DLs he needs to plug into his crew. Defensive tackle, or the nose guard spot in the 3-4, is always hard to find, so almost every year any program is in the market for one. There's also a decent chance that UCLA's current DTs are talented enough to jump early to the NFL, so getting one in 2015 is a priority. UCLA is being selective so far and has only a limited number of offers for DTs out.

Tim Settle, 6-3, 310, Manassas (Virg.) Jackson
Ranking: #15 Overall, #3 DT OFFERED

Settle is the #3 defensive tackle in the nation and has almost 40 scholarship offers, including those from the nation's elite programs. He recently released his top 15, in order: Tennessee, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Texas, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Penn State, West Virginia, UCLA, North Carolina, North Carolina State, LSU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. UCLA running 10th doesn't seem very promising, but we've heard that he's decided UCLA will be one of his official visits, which gives the Bruins a fighting chance.

Tim Settle
Kahlil McKenzie, 6-4, 300, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle
Ranking: #38 Overall, #5 DT OFFERED

The #1 DT in the west, McKenzie has programs from across the country pursuing him. His father is Reggie McKenzie, ex-NFL Raider and current Raider general manager, so the word is that McKenzie has a bigger perspective than many prospects and isn't afraid to go away for school. In fact, he recently released a list of his favorites. "Arizona, Tennessee (dad's alma mater), Oklahoma, Wisconsin and USC," McKenzie said. "I'm also looking at Ohio State, UCLA, Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida and Oregon." That was a bit of blow for the Bruins, since his mom is an alum and UCLA had been recruiting him pretty hard. Now, from what we've heard, UCLA is going to turn it up even more on McKenzie. Coaches Angus McClure and Jeff Ulbrich went to Concord De La Salle this week to see him.

Thomas Toki, 5-11, 290, Mountain View (Calif.) St. Francis
Ranking: #233 Overall, #19 DT OFFERED

Toki is only about 5-11, and that's his knock right now, but he looked good at the recent SoCal Nike Camp. He's verbally committed to Washington State, but has visited UCLA, Cal and other schools, so the WSU verbal is a little shaky. He plans to re-visit UCLA again this spring. The thought is that UCLA could probably flip Toki, but UCLA probably wants to at least get through the spring and its June camps to gauge all of its DT options.

Neville Gallimore, 6-3, 300, St. Catharines (Ontario, Can.) St. Catharine's
OFFERED

Gallimore is one of the hottest DTs in the class of 2015 at the moment, garnering a wave of new interest from some big-name programs. Notre Dame, in fact, just offered. UCLA Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure traveled all the way to Ontario Tuesday to see Gallimore. UCLA is recruiting him because they have a connection -- current UCLA defensive tackle Eli Ankou is from the same hometown in Ottawa and knows Gallimore. UCLA is pretty solidly in Gallimore's top five, and at this point would be in line for an official visit.

Deonte Reynolds, 6-5, 325, San Pablo (Calif.) Contra Costa JC

UCLA recruited Reynolds in high school and is looking into him again going into his second year at the JC. He's obviously a big kid, and would have to trim down some, but he has good athleticism for his size. He currently has offers from Kansas State, Maryland, Arizona State and Boise State, but many schools are starting to get on him. McClure went to see him a couple of weeks ago, and then McClure took Ulbrich with him to see Reynolds this week, so the Bruins are seriously considering offering.

Vaimoe Sekona, 6-3, 280, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
Ranking: #32 DT

Sekona is a guy we could see UCLA getting on quite a bit more seriously by the end of spring. He looked good at the SoCal Nike Camp, he's in UCLA's backyard and other programs are getting on board, with a big offer from USC. UCLA is trying to get Sekona on campus and an unofficial visit will probably go a long ways to potentially getting him a Bruin offer.

Other Possibility:

Kyon Clark,6-1, 320, Rialto (Calif.) Carter


DEFENSIVE END

Needs at Position: 2

UCLA is looking for Datone Jones/Cassius Marsh/Owamagbe Odighizuwa – a guy about 6-4 to 6-6, with a frame able to hold 260 to 280 pounds, and who can rush the quarterback. We've changed the "Needs at Position" to 2 now, since we're hearing UCLA has another spot open for a DE.

Rasheem Green, 6-5, 275, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Ranking: #18 Overall, #3 DE OFFERED

Rasheem is the Dream. He's the potential NFL prospects UCLA wants to keep plugging into its defensive line, and pretty much the perfect guy to step into that Cassius Marsh/Owa Odighizuwa role. He's strong and explosive and actually still pretty raw, with a huge upside. The common thought is that he's a USC lean, but his mother is a Bruin alum and he took a very long unofficial to UCLA's campus this spring, and has visited quite often. UCLA might have a better chance than many think, but it's not just going to be about fighting off USC, but every major program in the country. We believe UCLA and Mora are going to go to the mattresses for Green.

Canton Kaumatule, 6-6, 260, Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou
Ranking: #24 Overall, #6 DE OFFERED

Kaumatule is close to the same level of a prospect as Green, and is the type of pass rush defensive end UCLA is looking for in its 3-4. His brother goes to Stanford, but we're hearing that Kaumatule will more than likely not have the grades for Stanford, and next on the list is UCLA, but also USC. Kaumatule has been injured and he's gone a bit underground.

Tyrone Wheatley, 6-6, 240, Buffalo (New York) Canisius
Ranking: #137 Overall, #18 DE OFFERED

Wheatley has all the big-time offers, from Alabama, Michigan, Florida, Auburn, etc. We've heard that UCLA is recruiting him hard and Wheatley is showing a good amount of interest. Of course, we're skeptical that UCLA will ultimately have a legit chance with him, being from New York, and with an obvious connection to Michigan. He did come out for spring practice, which was significant, and showed his level of interest in UCLA, even though he's taken unofficial visits to a number of schools, including USC. He might want to play tight end in college, but UCLA is recruiting him as a DE.

Takkarist McKinley
Takkarist McKinley, 6-4, 230, San Pablo (Calif.) Contra Costa JC
OFFERED

McKinley is a highly-athletic prospect, with great mobility and length. UCLA offered him out of high school, but his academics were sub-par, so he committed to Cal, where he ultimately didn't go. Now, the same coach who recruited him out of high school, Angus McClure, is back on him, and UCLA is reportedly doing well with him. He has already arranged an official visit to UCLA in October, and has official visits set up with Arizona State and Texas. His former high school teammate is UCLA receiver Kenny Walker, who is recruiting him pretty hard.

Benning Potoae, 6-3, 250, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes
Ranking: #225 Overall, #26 DE OFFERED

UCLA offered Potoae early, and has stayed on him pretty consistently – and it's paid off. It's probably safe to say the Bruins are 1-2 with Washington for him, and could even be the leader. Potoae is a motor guy, and combines perfect size and agility for defensive end in UCLA's 3-4. UCLA might be going after slightly bigger fish (the guys on the list above), but we think Potoae is one of the DEs most likely to end up a Bruin.

Austin Bryant, 6-4, 230, Thomasville (Georgia) Thomas County
Ranking: #239 Overall, #28 DE OFFERED

Jeff Ulbrich visited Bryant recently, and the buzz we've heard from sources in Georgia is that Bryant really has a bond with Ulbrich and that UCLA has a very good chance with him. He intends to visit unofficially during the summer, and perhaps make an early decision. Stanford is a serious contender, too, and the SEC is always tough to beat.

Joseph Wicker, 6-4, 255, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Ranking: #141 Overall, #19 DE

Wicker was impressive at the SoCal Nike Camp, looking good physically, with long arms, and having a nice burst. UCLA has been in contact, and he attended a UCLA basketball game this spring, but the Bruins haven't offered yet. UCLA will probably hold out for a while for the guys above Wicker on this list, but we could easily envision UCLA coming around to offering, potentially by fall. Wicker recently said he thought UCLA was showing increased interest.


RUSH LINEBACKER/DEFENSIVE END

Needs at Position: 1-2

With the departure of Anthony Barr, something missing in UCLA's projected depth chart is really that big-time pass-rushing linebacker. Perhaps some current players will step up into that role in the next couple of years, but UCLA wants to continue to stock up and even upgrade its pass-rushing, and it has the Anthony Barr position/role to sell. It's a case that if UCLA was able to get more than one elite prospect of this type it would definitely take them.

Keisean Lucier-South
Keisean Lucier-South, 6-5, 220, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran
Ranking: #19 Overall, #4 DE OFFERED

UCLA has used the prospect of being the next Anthony Barr on many recruits, and perhaps the #1 candidate to fill those shoes in the 2015 class is Lucier-South. He was a beast at the Nike Camp, just too quick and long for any OL to come close to containing him. He also, though, is so athletic and runs so well that he very well might be capable of dropping into coverage, too. He's a perfect fit for the Barr position in UCLA's 3-4, and it's a great place for Lucier-South to develop his linebacking skills, rather than being slotted as a pure DE in a 4-3. He attended UCLA's Spring Game, and during and after pretty much indicated that UCLA was his leader. That's great and all, but it's more than likely going to be a long-haul recruitment.

CeCe Jefferson, 6-3, 245, Glen Saint Mary (Fla.) Baker County
Ranking: #4 Overall, #1 DE OFFERED

Jefferson is the #1 pass-rushing defensive end in the nation. He visited UCLA last spring, with his mom, and he says he's returning this summer, with his mom. He'll tell anyone who will listen that he's very interested in UCLA, and raved about UCLA in an interview this spring. The word out of the south is that Florida might be the leader, however.

Malik Jefferson, 6-3, 220, Mesquite (Tex.) Poteet
Ranking: #2 Overall, #1 OLB OFFERED

We're skeptical UCLA has a real chance with the super-elite Jefferson, but the coaches just went to see him. Jefferson is perhaps the best pass-rushing outside linebacker in the nation. He has indicated he'll visit UCLA in June unofficially, and if the trip goes well, sources believe UCLA has a good chance to get an official visit.

Ricky DeBerry, 6-2, 240, Richmond (Virg.) St. Christopher's
Ranking: #25 Overall, #3 OLB OFFERED

UCLA has definitely gone national looking for the next Anthony Barr. One guy in their sights is DeBerry, who is one of the best pass-rushing linebackers in the country. He has a huge offer sheet, as you'd expect, with a recent offer from Alabama. UCLA coaches went to see him this spring, and some believe UCLA has a chance here. He's supposed to visit sometime this summer.

Jeff Holland, 6-3, 230, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian
Ranking: #44 Overall, #5 OLB OFFERED

Holland is a pass rusher with a great motor who loves to hit people. His offer sheet is ridiculous, being able to go anywhere in the country, with probably Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida and UCLA leading the pack. His friend and high school teammate, Victor Alexander, is committed to UCLA, so he'll help in Holland's recruitment, and Holland has said a couple of times he would like to leave Florida for college. He plans to visit UCLA with Alexander, and that will be a key trip in his recruitment.

Cassius Peat
Cassius Peat, 6-4, 235, Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol
Ranking: #190 Overall, #17 OLB OFFERED

Peat is similar to Barr in size and playing style, being more of a stand-up defensive end most of the time. He's one of the best pass rushers in the west, and has many programs pursuing him. He took an unofficial visit to UCLA in March and it reportedly went very well, to the point that UCLA is among his leaders, but it could be difficult to get him away from local ASU.

Christian Rector, 6-4, 225, Los Angeles (Calif.)Loyola
Ranking: #32 DE OFFERED

Rector has come on from having virtually no offers to getting them from UCLA and USC and more. He has good height and has good athleticism, so college coaches are projecting him a couple of years in a college program, once he can get stronger. UCLA assistant Kennedy Polamalu coached at Loyola last season so he has an obvious connection, but we've heard Rector has deeper USC connections.

Adonis Thomas, 6-4, 210, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett
Ranking: #263 Overall, #22 OLB OFFERED

Thomas is considered one of the best prospects in the state of Georgia for 2015, and one of the best pass rushers in the South. He trimmed his list to 10: Florida, UCLA, Alabama, Stanford, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida State. Florida is on him hard and he'll make a decision before his season – before he probably has a chance to get out west.

Bo Wallace, 6-4, 210, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian
Ranking: NR OLB OFFERED

Wallace is a bit of a sleeper, which is curious since he comes from such a high-profile high school and he has a great highlight reel. But programs have gotten on him this spring, like Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Tennessee – and UCLA. He's high school teammates and friends with UCLA-signee linebacker Kenny Young, so that will help, and definitely help to get Wallace out to see UCLA.

Russell Ude, 6-3, 245, Atlanta (Ga.) Westminster
Ranking: NR DE

Ude is an emerging prospect from Georgia, who garnered some impressive offers this spring. He's an academic kid, and has family in SoCal, so there are some ties. He, in fact, just said in an interview that UCLA has "everything I'm looking for" in a school. If UCLA offers the thought is that the Bruins will catapult to the top of his list. UCLA Linebacker Coach Jeff Ulbrich has been on him and just went to see him. He has plans to visit UCLA this summer.


LINEBACKER

Needs at Position: 2

In a 3-4 defense you need a good amount of linebackers, so UCLA will probably always be looking for at least 2 linebackers every year, other than the Anthony Barr-type pass-rushing linebacker. These are guys that could plug in 1) on the outside, in the Myles Jack role – the athletic guy who not only pass rushes but is capable of dropping into coverage, and 2) at the two inside spots.

Victor Alexander, 5-10, 225, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian
Ranking: #28 MLB COMMITTED

Alexander might be under-sized, but that's probably good, because it's kept many programs from offering, and gave UCLA a chance to swoop in and get a commitment from him. Despite being 5-10, Alexander is a force, with a great instinct and hitting ability, and plays exactly like you'd want your inside linebacker to play. The issue will be UCLA having to hold on to him as the rest of the country catches on. Florida has now offered, and they could be a threat.

Osa Masina, 6-4, 210, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton
Ranking: #51 Overall, #7 OLB OFFERED

You hate to make the comparison, but he looked a bit like Myles Jack in the Pylon 7-on-7 in Las Vegas this spring. For his size, and he's pretty big, he looked very impressive dropping and in coverage. He could probably play that Myles Jack outside linebacker spot or inside at UCLA. He visited UCLA's campus in early March and, from what we've heard, loved it, as did his mom. He has probably been the guy who has taken the most unofficial visits this spring, and has narrowed his list to eight: UCLA, USC, Michigan, Wisconsin, Stanford, Arizona State, Notre Dame and local Utah. We've heard that UCLA is in a good spot for Masina, potentially his top two, along with USC.

Roquan Smith
Roquan Smith, 6-1, 207, Montezuma (Ga.) Macon County
Ranking: #104 Overall, #3 MLB OFFERED

Smith really has exploded on the scene after a great junior season, and is a hard-hitting, athletic force inside. Picture a more athletic Eric Kendricks. The country is on him now, but the word is that UCLA is doing very well with him, constantly in contact with Mora and the UCLA staff. He plans to visit this spring/summer.

Cameron Smith, 6-2, 240, Granite Bay (Calif.)
Ranking: #67 Overall, #1 MLB OFFERED

Smith is considered one of the best linebacker prospects in the west, and Scout.com has him ranked the #1 middle linebacker prospect in the nation. He's a big kid, that has done some work in the off-season to lean down (when he was looking like he might end up as a defensive lineman). He's shown good athleticism this spring at various events. In recruiting, UCLA was the leader for a long time until USC offered and came on strong in winter. The Trojans were said to be the leader, and probably still are, but UCLA is really putting in the effort. Ulbrich and McClure just went to see him this week. If there's another school that could be a contender at this time it's probably Oregon.

John Houston, 6-3, 200, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Ranking: #17 Overall, #2 DE OFFERED

Houston is a combo of very good size and exceptional athleticism, so his physical and athletic upside are considerable. He'll have to continue to add good weight and learn to play with more of a mean streak, but he's a promising prospect. It's long been thought he's leaning to USC, but we know that Mora is after him. He took in a UCLA spring practice and Ulbrich had a long talk with him.

Kyahva Tezino, 6-0.5, 200, Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian
Ranking: #134 Overall, #13 OLB OFFERED

Tezino is interesting. He's undersized for a linebacker, but he's a guy who makes plays. He very well might end up a safety, being able to move very well, or a mini-linebacker type either outside or inside. UCLA has offered, and is in his top four, along with Arizona, Miami and Arizona State. He unofficially visited UCLA in March.

Khaylan Thomas, 6-1, 217, Etiwanda (Calif.)
Ranking: #213 Overall, #8 MLB OFFERED

UCLA was one of the first schools to offer Thomas and he was at the Bruins' Spring Game. He's a versatile linebacker, able to play in the middle, where he's a physical and punishing hitter used to stopping the run and rushing the quarterback.  But he's really blossomed this spring playing outside linebacker and excelling on the 7v7 circuit, showing great lateral movement, pass coverage skills and ball skills.  He plans to camp with the Bruins this summer, even with an offer, and the Bruins are right there with the two Arizona schools.

Ben Humphreys, 6-3, 195, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Ranking: #215 Overall, #18 OLB

Humphreys was the linebacker MVP of the SoCal Nike Camp, looking very good in his mobility, coverage and pursuit. He has good height, and is still skinny; you could easily see him get to 225+ after a couple of years in a college weight room. He visited UCLA unofficially after, and the UCLA coaches invited him to their camp in June and asked him to work out with the defensive ends – that if he can show pass-rush ability they'll take him as an outside linebacker. He has offers from some of the Pac-12 and is an academic kid, so is getting Ivy League looks.

Arthur McGinnis, 6-3, 215, New Orleans (La.) Warren Easton
Ranking: #14 MLB OFFERED

McGinnis is a bit under the radar, but is getting interest and has offers from UCLA, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Georgia. He's a very good athlete, recording a top-ten SPARQ rating at the recent combine in New Orleans. He's a strong student, so academics will play a part. There's a plan for him to visit UCLA this summer.


DEFENSIVE BACKS

Needs at Position: 2-3

Other programs have used UCLA's young and talented depth chart against them in recruiting 2015 defensive backs. UCLA does look pretty good in terms of the future of its secondary, and it doesn't have a great many spots for 2015 DBs. There are two clear spots open and, as we said, UCLA's Defensive Backs Coach Demetrice Martin is looking for the best guys available, regardless of their position – and looking for versatile guys who can fulfill different roles. If UCLA had a chance to get more than three it's safe to assume that it wouldn't turn down an elite prospect.

Dechaun Holiday
Dechaun Holiday, 6-2, 190, San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills
Ranking: #82 Overall, #13 CB OFFERED

Holiday is big enough where you could see him almost grow into a linebacker, but he's shown this spring some exceptional coverage skills. He's the type of versatile guy that UCLA is looking for, someone who could, despite how big he is, be a cornerback but certainly play safety, nickel and mini-linebacker. UCLA was the first to offer and we know the early favorite but now the country is getting involved, with offers from Notree Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Texas A&M, Oregon and more.

Iman Marshall, 6-1, 190, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Ranking: #10 Overall, #3 CB OFFERED

Marshall is also a versatile prospect. He sees himself as a cornerback, and he has decent cover skills, but we think he projects as a safety, and a very good one. USC has been thought to be his leader, but he's recently spent some time on UCLA's campus, attended a couple of practices and UCLA's spring game, and Mora is all over him.

Marvell Tell, 6-2, 180, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
Ranking: #47 Overall, #3 S OFFERED

Tell is a talented prospect, with very good size but with the agility and quickness to perhaps play other spots than safety. UCLA was his early leader, then USC surged, but we've heard since UCLA's spring practice, when Tell spent an entire day on UCLA's campus and with the program, UCLA is probably back on top. Regardless, Tell is going to be a recruiting battle, and just not between UCLA and USC, but with the likes of Oklahoma, Washington and even Washington State, who Tell visited in March.

Kendall Sheffield, 6-0, 180, Missouri City (Tex.) Marshall
Ranking: #7 Overall, #2 CB OFFERED

UCLA is using its Texas connections to get in on Sheffield, a top-ten national prospect. The biggest connection is that he goes to the high school of current UCLA linebacker Deon Hollins. Sheffield is an elite talent, with great speed and quickness. He literally is hearing from every program in the country, and it will be a tough recruitment for UCLA. Like with many, if Sheffield visits UCLA unofficially this spring/summer that would be a sign that they have a chance. Demetrice Martin went to see him in Texas this week.

Kylan Johnson, 6-2, 205, Dallas (Tex.) Skyline
Not Ranked OFFERED

Johnson is pretty much unknown, to everyone but UCLA and Wisconsin. UCLA assistant Adrian Klemm, who has deep ties in Texas due to his days at SMU, was the first to offer Johnson, who is billed as a big, physical prospect. He's thought to be the size of a linebacker, actually, and might project as one in college. Other programs like TCU, Oklahoma and Arkansas have been showing him attention lately. He says he intends to visit UCLA soon.

Marvell Tell
Isaiah Langley, 6-0, 175, Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill
Ranking: #73 Overall, #10 OFFERED

A great body for a cornerback – rangy with long arms and a smooth running ability. Langley has all the markings of a great cornerback, but the talent to play just about anywhere. In fact, he looks like a weapon as a wide receiver. He says he'll trim down his list, which includes 30 offers, in June. UCLA was on him pretty hard, and he showed up to a UCLA practice, for about 15 minutes. We're getting a feeling that UCLA and Langley are cooling off.

James Locke, 5-11, 180, Beaumont (Tex.) Central
Ranking: #47 CB OFFERED

UCLA is definitely working the state of Texas, having a few coaches spend a good deal of time in the state during the Evaluation Period. UCLA has been on Locke, who is one of the best DBs in the state for 2015. He was fairly unknown in February and now his recruitment has exploded, with 20+ offers. He was pretty enthusiastic about UCLA just a couple of months ago, but with how many new programs are hitting him hard his perspective has widened a bit. Interestingly, he's never been out of the Beaumont area so a visit to UCLA could make a pretty big impression.

Quenton Meeks, 6-1, 185, San Diego (Calif.) Del Norte
Ranking: NR OFFERED

Meeks was impressive at the SoCal Nike Camp. His father is former Indianapolis Defensive Coordinator Ron Meeks, who was the DC when the Colts won the Super Bowl in 2006. UCLA's offer was a little surprising, since it was his first, but he has very good size and good coverage ability, which makes him unique.

Stanley Norman, 5-10, 170, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Ranking: #129 Overall, #15 CB OFFERED

Norman has had an interesting spring. He's clearly talented, and versatile, the type of guy UCLA is actually really looking for. But he's had some incidents that have made a few schools back away, and UCLA is looking like it's one of them.

Jihree Stewart, 6-0, 175, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Ranking: #45 CB

Stewart is emerging as a potentially elite prospect this spring, and UCLA is on him. He's pretty quick but strong, especially in coverage. UCLA has been in regular contact since March, and Stewart is one of the guys that, if he comes to a UCLA camp and looks good, or starts off his fall season strong, could get an offer.

Frank Buncom, 6-1, 180, San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine
Ranking: #160 Overall, #10 S OFFERED

Buncom has good size and instincts, and looked good at the recent Nike Camp. He's a good student and has interest (offer) from Stanford. UCLA was in a good place with him a couple of months ago, but we're uncertain just how actively they're recruiting him at this point.

Other Possibility:

Justice Shelton-Mosley, 6-0, 180, Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian.
Ranking: #84 CB


ATHLETES

These are the guys that UCLA is showing serious interest in, but it would really be a reach to put them into any positional category at this point.

Jaason Lewis, 6-3, 230, Virginia Beach (Virg.) Ocean Lakes
Ranking: #244 Overall, #31 RB COMMITTED

Lewis is a big athlete, who was recruited by and committed to UCLA as a running back. He was previously considered a receiver, but there are those that think he ends up a linebacker. He looked very impressive at a recent Nike Camp, looking very big, and fast for his size. He visited UCLA in February and for Spring Practice, and has worked as a UCLA recruiter this spring.

Ykili Ross
Ykili Ross, 6-1, 195, Riverside (Calif.) Poly
Ranking: #201 Overall, #25 CB OFFERED

Ross might be the best two-way prospect in the west. We've seen him a couple of times this spring and he's been very impressive. He's all of 6-1 and a very solid 195, if possibly even bigger. He is smooth as a defensive back and has done well in coverage in 7on7, but he's looked like a potential impact guy as a wide receiver, with some considerable shake for a guy his size, as well as quickness to get behind a defender. UCLA was one of the first to offer and now the rest of the west coast is clueing in. He came to UCLA Spring Practice, and we've heard UCLA is in a good spot with him.

Malik Lovette, 5-11, 185, Redlands (Calif.) East Valley
Ranking: #195 Overall, #26 RB OFFERED

A good-looking prospect who looks and plays like a running back, even though he's played mostly wide receiver in high school. It makes for a good skill set – a guy with some shifty moves that can catch the ball, but with some lower body power to run between the tackles. UCLA has offered Lovette as an athlete, but hasn't been recruiting him much as of late.

Stephen Johnson, 5-11, 185, San Leandro (Calif.)
Ranking: #37 CB

Johnson was probably one of the hottest prospects in the west this spring, getting a few offers, with Oregon being among them. He clocked a 4.37 40 at the U.S. Army Combine and that got him a great deal of new attention, including from UCLA. UCLA wide receiver coach Eric Yarber is now on him, and we think he's a guy UCLA could offer by the fall.


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