UCLA Look at the Opening Day 3

Other than the commitment of Andre James to UCLA, the biggest UCLA-related news was the emergence of Rasheem Green Thursday. UCLA, also, looks good for a number of national prospects...

Perhaps the biggest UCLA-related development Thursday at The Opening, besides the commitment of offensive lineman Andre James, was the emergence of Rasheem Green, the defensive lineman from Gardena Serra. While Green physically looked like he fit in at the event the first two days, he didn’t necessarily play like it. On Tuesday he was pretty passive in the drills and looked unmotivated. He was slightly better Wednesday, with a couple of good reps. But Thursday things changed. On Tuesday and Wednesday he was mostly working inside, as a three-technique, but Thursday he moved outside to defensive end, and it was clear he was far more comfortable. On a completely freakishly loaded group of defensive ends at the event, Green was among a handful that might have had the best day. Arizona OL commit Keenan Walker has gotten a great deal of attention here, and mostly it was deserved, looking quick and aggressive. But on Thursday, Green went up against Walker and beat him on three successive reps, looking too quick and strong coming off the edge.

It was a great moment for Green, who is obviously talented but, from what we heard, a pretty shy kid who was probably a bit overwhelmed the first couple of days and probably didn’t feel comfortable until he was moved outside.

In the OL/DL challenge, other offensive linemen rather than the “UCLA guys” seemed to get the most praise, but perhaps we’re biased, but the UCLA guys looked like they were right there with any OLs in the camp. Scout.com’s Jamie Newberg tended to agree in his Breakdown of the OLs, Day Three. The newly-minted Bruin Andre James had a very good day Thursday and a very good performance overall at the camp, looking very quick to get in position against some of the most elite defensive ends in the country. Dru Samia was right there with James in terms of effectiveness all week – in fact, he might have been even slightly better, and was very good Thursday. Both of them clearly love competition, and kept stepping in as often as the coaches would let them to take a rep. Both would make a very impressive set of future tackles. Fred Ulu-Perry didn’t have quite as good a day Thursday as he did Tuesday/Wednesday, but he was still good, and had a very good camp overall.

This comes from Scout.com's Greg Biggins on UCLA's three OL prospects at The Opening:

UCLA had three prime OL recruiting targets at The Opening that they're doing well with and all three looked very good. Fred Ulu-Perry, Andre James and Dru Samia were three of the top linemen at the event and I think there's a good chance all end up at UCLA (obviously James already committed).

I thought Ulu-Perry had the best week of the three and was actually my top OL of the day on Wednesday. He was the only player who could do anything against Kahlil McKenzie and actually stoned him at the line of scrimmage two reps in a row. He worked out all week at center and what made him performance more impressive was it's a position he has never really played. He actually plays tackle for his H.S team and has only recently begun to work out at center. He's a very powerful kid, naturally strong but has the feet to set himself quickly and the quick twitch/lateral mobility to handle quickness coming at him. UCLA is a big leader right now and the only thing holding back a commitment is he wants to see a few other schools since being from Hawaii, he hasn't really had that opportunity.

Samia is another big UCLA lean and I could see him committing at any time. He's a physical tackle prospect who had some of the most dominant reps of the week. He played some guard as well but looked more comfortable at tackle and showed the athleticism to play RT in college. I love his physicality and the edge he plays with. Classic case of a kid who can flip the switch because he's a very well spoken, cerebral kid off the field when you talk to him but once the pads come on, he really gets after it.

I really like James' upside a lot. He has a great frame with plenty of room to add some good weight. He has good strength but will continue to get stronger as he fills out. I really like the way he moves, very light on his feet, he's a tough kid, very coachable with a great work ethic off the field as well. At one point, all three players lined up next to each other- Ulu-Perry at center, James at RG and Samia at RT and I could definitely see that playing out down the road at UCLA as well.

We’re hearing that there is a distinct possibility Samia could commit very soon – like by next week. We’ve also heard that UCLA is doing very well with Ulu-Perry. Of course, an offer from his long-time favorite USC could possibly change that but, as we’ve said, we’ve heard that Ulu-Perry has established a great relationship with UCLA Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm.

Also give some major credit to UCLA Quarterbacks Coach Taylor Mazzone for being instrumental in getting the James commitment. The young Mazzone has clearly become a force in recruiting in the last year or so, and is the lead recruiter on many of UCLA’s biggest targets.

We’re hearing it's most likely the Tennessee OL Drew Richmond will commit to Tennessee in September, but he'll still want to visit UCLA. He hasn't fared really well here at the Opening this week. When he has taken a rep, he's won about half and looked pretty good some of the time. He hasn't, though, asserted himself in stepping up to get in a rep, and has looked a bit soft in action at other times.

Orange Lutheran DE/LB Keisean Lucier-South sat out Thursday with an undisclosed injury.

Josh Rosen, the UCLA-committed quarterback, and his team lost in the semis of the 7-on-7 tournament. Rosen had a decent day Thursday, making some nice throws to lead his team in a few good drives, but then he had about 6 balls dropped that killed a number of drives. With three quarterbacks on his team he only played two halves every three games. He faced USC-committed QB Ricky Town’s team in the semis, and when both went head-to-head in the first half it resulted in a 15-15 tie. Rosen had a few balls dropped, and one that was thrown perfectly tipped for an interception, while Town threw an interception, too.

Much has been made at the Opening/Elite 11 about whether Rosen has “bought in” or not. Rosen is clearly a gifted quarterback prospect, and usually the most intelligent person in any room. He also can be pretty arrogant, so this has rubbed some people the wrong way. Whether he’s dedicated to football has also been questioned. With Rosen it will clearly be an issue of, when he gets to UCLA, and is perhaps challenged more consistently than he is now, will he respond. He’s too talented and too smart, in our opinion, to think that he won’t. He will be challenged pretty quickly at UCLA, too, because you can bet the UCLA coaches expect him to come in and compete for the starting spot as a true freshman in 2015.

Here's an opinion from Scout.com's Scott Kennedy on Rosen: Kennedy on the BRO Message Boards.

Rosen was on the same team as Ray-Ray McCloud, the athletic prospect from Florida, who was playing mostly slot receiver, and the two hooked up a couple of times, and you could see Rosen was looking for him.

Marvell Tell, the safety prospect from Encino Crespi, was also on the same team, and despite not getting much action come his way Thursday, had a very good showing in 7-on-7 the previous two days.

On the team was linebacker Ben Humphreys from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, and he made a couple of very impressive plays – one where he had dropped into coverage and then caught a running back in the backfield just two yards from a first down. As we’ve said, UCLA might not get to Humphreys because they’re doing well with so many linebackers, and that might be a shame because we’re betting he’s going to be a player wherever he goes in college.

The team that won the 7-on-7 event had Equanimeous St. Brown, the receiver from Anaheim Servite, who had a few nice receptions Thursday in helping his team get through bracket play.

One of the biggest standouts among UCLA targets Thursday was Donte Jackson, the athlete from Louisiana, who had been playing slot receiver and then switched to defensive back Thursday and had a couple of break-ups and an interception. Jackson is talented, with some considerable speed and quickness, who could excel at slot or cornerback in college. We keep hearing UCLA is after him but he’s more than likely leaning to hometown LSU – but he intends to officially visit UCLA. If incoming Louisiana linebacker Kenny Young, who knows Jackson, can have a good experience at UCLA this fall it could possibly influence Jackson.

We heard more Thursday that UCLA is very much a contender for Iman Marshall, the five-star defensive back from Long Beach Poly.

Soso Jamabo
We heard, again, that UCLA is probably the leader for Sotonye Jamabo, the #2 running back in the country from Texas. Jamabo has a bit of a flashy personality, and the feeling is that he believes he fits well at UCLA and Los Angeles. He has looked like a unique athlete this week at the Opening, showing off some great elusiveness for a prospect his size. He had a couple of good moment s in 7-o-7 Thursday.

We heard, too, that John Houston, the highly-ranked linebacker from Gardena Serra, is definitely leaning to USC, as everyone has believed for a while. As we said, UCLA is looking very good in the linebacker recruiting department so, while the Bruins are still very much recruiting Houston, it wouldn’t be a big loss. There is also a question if Houston plays with the intensity that will allow him to reach the potential he obviously has physically and athletically.

If UCLA is looking to “beat” USC this year in head-to-head battle for recruits – recruits that are worthy of it – it looks like the battle lines will be draw on Green and Marshall. Those are the two local recruits that have proven they are worthy of their lofty ranking that both UCLA and USC are pursuing. Right now, from what we’ve heard, it could go either way, UCLA or USC, for either of them, so the battle is on.

There are some national prospects UCLA was recruiting that you can almost certainly cross off the list: linebacker Adonis Thomas, cornerback Kendall Sheffield, and wide receiver George Campbell. We’re not prepared completely to erase the name of Malik Jefferson off UCLA’s list just yet, however. The super-elite linebacker is taking an official visit to UCLA and, like with Jamabo, has a personality that could feel very comfortable in L.A.

The out-of-the-west prospects that were at the Opening we’ve heard UCLA has a legitimate chance to get are Jamabo, McCloud, Texas receiver Ryan Newsome (who sat out the 7-on-7s with an injury), and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith. Despite sources repeating that they think Smith ultimately will be difficult to get away from the South, those same sources concede that UCLA is more than likely leading for him at this point.

In the west, we continue to hear that UCLA is the leader for Utah linebacker Osa Masina and Nevada receiver Cordell Broadus.


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