Weekend Recruiting Update

We know the prospects the coaches saw, some buzz, and evaluated a few UCLA prospects ourselves, including new JC offensive lineman offeree Zach Bateman...

Jim Mora went to Arizona Friday with Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone to watch Scottsdale Saguaro, which features receiver Christian Kirk and 2017 lineman Kayden Lyles, whom UCLA has offered. It’s still believed that Texas A&M is the leader for Kirk, and that USC is probably running second, but Mora seems dogged about his recruitment of Kirk, so we’ll see if it pays off. Mazzone has a relationship with Kirk, due to the deep ties he has in Arizona since he was the OC at ASU. Lyles has offers from UCLA, Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Arizona, Arizona State and others.

Saturday night Mora and Defensive Backs Coach Demetrice Martin went to watch Ykili Ross, the defensive back from Riverside Poly. We’re hearing it could come down to a UCLA/USC decision for Ross.

Martin, before watching Ross Saturday night, decided to stay in California Friday instead of visiting Texas, and watched one of UCLA’s top DB targets, Dechaun Holiday at San Marcos Mission Hills.

Quarterbacks Coach Taylor Mazzone hopped over to Utah to see both linebacker target Osa Masina, at Salt Lake City Brighton, and then took a little trip down the 15 to Herriman to see UCLA-committed offensive lineman Andre James. From what we’ve heard UCLA is, at the very least, among the leaders for Masina and at, the best, perhaps the leader. With UCLA’s need for tackles, specifically left tackles, James might be UCLA’s most high-priority prospect after Josh Rosen.

UCLA Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm took a trip to the Dallas area to see a number of players. It was particularly fortuitous that one of UCLA’s top un-committed offensive line targets, Josh Wariboko, was in town with his Oklahoma City (Okla.) Casady team to play at Forth Worth Trinity Valley. Klemm also stopped in to Dallas Skyline to see Carlos Strickland, the four-star receiver, and Kylan Johnson, the athletic prospects who plays various positions on his high school team but probably projects to safety on the next level.

Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure went to see D.J. Bailey, the 6-3, 220-pound defensive end/linebacker from San Juan Capistrano JSerra, who is verbally committed to Yale, Friday night.

Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Jeff Ulbrich watched Orange (Calif.) Lutheran’s Keisean Lucier-South. He was seen talking with USC Head Coach Steve Sarkisian and USC Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox on the sideline. It’s a bit strange since Lucier-South has said that USC isn’t in his top five.

We’re still running down where UCLA Wide Receiver Coach Eric Yarber went Friday night, and we’ll share it as soon as we get it.

Friday we went to see Lucier-South, and Trent Irwin of Newhall Hart against Pasadena Muir, which features Taeon Mason, who is verbally committed to USC but UCLA is still recruiting. Saturday we went to see the JC offensive lineman UCLA offered this week, Zach Bateman.

Our Evaluations:

Lucier-South is back to playing defensive end, after playing some linebacker for his high school team in recent weeks. At 6-3+ and 220ish, he might not be a pure linebacker at UCLA, but he still projects the best into that Anthony Barr, hybrid-linebacker/rush end role. Friday he got 2.5 tackles, 1 sack and 4 hurries, even though he was out of the game by the middle of the third quarter when Orange Lutheran was up 42-0 on Long Beach Cabrillo, and Cabrillo seemed to go away from him quite a bit. He showed a few flashes of quickness on the edge, but didn’t necessarily dominate his blocker Friday night and at times missed assignments, particularly on read options. We have an interview coming with him -- but while he did say he didn't have a leader he gave me a 4s-Up.

Irwin had just a decent night for him against Muir. He’s the same prospect we’ve seen for a couple of years, with good size and strength, an uncommon ability to get separation and deceptive quickness. He talked mostly about Stanford and ASU, and didn’t seem like he was even sure he’d officially visit UCLA.

Mason is very fast, but pretty raw in his football skills. We were about to conclude he is just a fast athlete but then he returned a kick-off for a touchdown and showed some good instincts besides just the blazing speed. He does lack a developed football skill set, so he very well might just be a return specialist in college.

Bateman was interesting. He’s probably 6-6 and 310, and has a relatively good body for a tackle prospect, even though he could tighten up a bit. His Orange Coach College team runs a no-huddle and he didn’t seem out of gas anytime in the game, however. He started off a bit slowly and seemingly tentative, and looked a little lost on some run-blocking assignments, over-committing and allowing his man to skip around him. But he then settled in and it was clear why UCLA and Ohio State offered last week – with Bateman showing some exceptional foot speed for his size, able to easily contain a much smaller and seemingly quick defensive end. He runs very well, and gets up field for a block quickly. He’s pretty raw, and needs some considerable development, but the athleticism and strength are there. He also plays with a nastiness that you always want in your OL.

We'll have video of Bateman, Lucier-South, Irwin and Mason -- and many more prospects -- coming soon...

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