Commitment Analysis: Zach Bateman

NOV. 18 -- We look at what UCLA is getting in the Orange (Calif.) Coast College offensive tackle, Zach Bateman...

Profile: Zach Bateman
Position: Offensive Tackle
Location: Orange Coast (Calif.) College
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 310 pounds

Ranking: Three-star offensive tackle by Scout.

Recruiting: Chose UCLA from a group of finalists that included Arizona State, Ohio State and Oklahoma State

The Scouting Report: Bateman is a big lineman that will come in and compete for immediate playing time. He's a good run blocker, doing a great job of using his size and strength to drive his defender. Sometimes plays a bit high, but shows that he can play with some flexibility and just needs to work on some technique and using his hands better. Good size and frame, and definitely has tackle size for the Pac-12. It will be interesting to see if he plays left tackle in college, flips over to right tackle, or slides down and plays inside on the left side.

Overall Analysis: The emergence of Conor McDermott at left tackle has coincided with UCLA playing their best football of the season. McDermott, finally healthy, has been very good since inserted in to the starting lineup against Cal. Interestingly enough, Bateman took his official visit to UCLA the weekend before that game (for the Oregon game), when the line struggled for the second straight week. Now Bateman gives UCLA another offensive tackle that can play immediately next year, with McDermott and Caleb Benenoch, and then former starter Simon Goines also returning from his redshirt injury year. With McDermott playing well, Bateman would have to be ridiculously good to supplant him at left tackle, but Bateman could possibly plug in at right tackle, and then Benenoch could move inside to his more natural offensive guard spot. Goines, too, is going to be completely healthy and be competiting for a starting tackle spot. Alex Redmond's return and Scott Quessenberry's improvement this year as well as the mid-year emergence of Kenny Lacy gives UCLA depth inside but Bateman's commitment gives them depth outside. So Adrian Klemm, perhaps for the first time in his career as UCLA's offensive line coach, could have several options at guard and tackle. With Bateman being a JC transfer, he's coming in to play right away, and with his size and experience (he's been out of high school for three years), he's probably more physically developed than some of the younger players who are still a work in progress (like Poasi Moala). Bateman gives UCLA another tackle, but also allows for some position flexibility for Benenoch, something Klemm likes on his OL. The spring offensive line battle will be one of the most fascinating to watch, and could carry over in to the season. Bottom line, Bateman gives UCLA a player who's not going to need time to develop but can come in and contribute, and could start right away.

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