Here's the list of Most Wanted from #10 to #6
Ryan Davis, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood OR
Ryan Newsome, Aledo (Tex.)
UCLA is still in search of that fast, shifty offensive playmaker in the 2015 class and any one of the three still left on their recruiting board would fill the bill. McCloud has said he'll take an official visit in January, but we're skeptical. If he does UCLA could have a chance, since he'd probably visit with the Trinity Christian recruits and they are pro-UCLA (with one committed, LB Victor Alexander). McCloud is that playmaker -- not necessarily really fast but has a really good feel for getting open and ball skills. Davis was just offered last week and we've only seen him on film. He played quarterback in high school and did most of his damage out of the read option, and it was considerable. He looks particularly shifty, perhaps one of the most elusive we've seen on film for 2015, so if he can actually catch a ball he could be an explosive receiver. UCLA and Newsome have courting each other for sometime. He'll reveal his top three this week. UCLA's Jim Mora and other coaches had an in-home visit with Newsome a couple of weeks ago and it went well, even with the leaders probably being UCLA and Texas. But we still think the relationship is a little shaky, especially with the distance, and UT now has momentum with the commitments of Malik Jefferson and DeAndre McNeal. Newsome, and other Texas recruits, could feel that UT is building something and they should stay home.
Year One Impact? Well, they're all three different players so they'd all have a varying degree of impact. From what we've seen of McCloud, how he's already pretty well-built physically and pretty strong, we think he'd be able to come in and make an immediate impact, probably break into UCLA's receiver rotation in 2015. We'd have to believe that Davis would take some time to learn the receiver craft. Newsome is pretty small so he'd probaby have to get a bit stronger before contributing so both Davis and Newsome would probably be destined for a redshirt.
4. Maea Teuhema, OG, Keller (Tex.),
This one is a bit of a longshot, but there’s reason to believe that UCLA has a real chance — if Teuhema ends up visiting. The No. 1 guard in the country has been committed to LSU for a long time, but there’s some feeling around him that he wants to take a look around, and UCLA is an obvious option thanks to the time Adrian Klemm has spent recruiting Texas, and Keller High School in particular. He will most likely visit in January, and it’ll be very interesting to see where the recruitment goes from there.
Teuhema is a big, physical guard prospect — emphasis on big. At 340 pounds (listed) he’s carrying a lot of weight, but he moves pretty well for that size. His biggest assets are his strength and mean streak, but he has surprisingly good feet for a guy his size, and once he sheds the weight, you could see him actually being effective on pulls and second-level blocks. As it stands, he’s a very, very good run blocker, and an above-average pass blocker, and should continue to improve both areas as he works on his weight.
Year One Impact? Teuhema would have to be an absolute monster to start, and while we don’t rule it out, it’s going to be a tall order for him to beat out guys like Alex Redmond, Caleb Benenoch, and Scott Quessenberry for either open guard spot. But, really, this is the way an offensive line is supposed to work — true freshmen aren’t supposed to start. If he gets a year to work on his body, he could absolutely compete for a starting job in his second year in the program, and he has the ability to be a multi-year starter at UCLA.
3. Benning Potoae, DE, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes,
UCLA has steadily turned up the heat on Potoae throughout the last few months, and they were rewarded this week when the Bruins were named in his top two. At the very least, UCLA is neck-and-neck with Washington at the moment, and there are some who think the Bruins have the edge, with some influences around Potoae wanting him to go to an out-of-state school after his brother had a less than ideal experience at Washington.
Potoae is already a solid 6’4 and 265 pounds, and with his genes, there’s a very real possibility that he grows into an interior lineman down the road. He has very good pass rush skills, and would immediately upgrade UCLA’s defensive line in that respect. He plays with a mean, physical edge, and is just the kind of violent player you want in as a defensive lineman. He’s already strong, so as he matures and fills out, he could easily become the run-stopping interior lineman that UCLA really needs in this class.
UCLA needs defensive linemen in this class, and interior linemen especially, given that Kenneth Clark and Eddie Vanderdoes will both be eligible for the NFL Draft after next year, and Ellis McCarthy will graduate. Potoae may not yet be a defensive tackle, but if you project him a year down the road, he could potentially fill that role.
Year One Impact? As with Joseph Wicker, it isn’t necessarily the case that he’d make a huge impact in year one, especially if UCLA wants to grow him into a defensive tackle. But in years two through four, he could easily be a starter. He may fit into the rotation in his freshman year, since there are a few open rotational spots, and his versatility will be an asset, but we see him impacting more heavily down the road.
2. Osa Masina, OLB, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton,
We’ve talked about this for seemingly the entirety of the last two years: UCLA is in desperate need of true outside linebackers who can rush the passer, drop into coverage, and hold up against the run. Of the remaining uncommitted options in this class for that role, Masina is almost certainly the most realistic for UCLA, and the Bruins have been on him for a long time. Masina is effectively down to three schools, with UCLA, Arizona State, and USC all hoping to hear some good news sometime during the dead period, or soon thereafter. The news after his USC official visit was that he was all but locked up for the Trojans, but since then the waters have gotten muddier, and the word is that he’s legitimately still undecided between the three schools.
Masina has very good size and athleticism, and has shown good pass rush skills at the high school level to go along with a nice ability to make tackles in the open field. He actually played running back extensively in high school, and while he doesn’t project there in college, that gives you an indication of his level of athleticism. He’d immediately shore up a big area of need for UCLA and improve the overall athleticism in the linebacker corps.
If you’ll remember, a significant part of UCLA’s early season issues centered around the outside linebacker/defensive end position that had previously been occupied by Anthony Barr. Deon Hollins got better as the season went on at that position, and Kenny Orjioke’s injury probably didn’t help, but adding Masina to that group would instantly upgrade the talent in the rotation, and might even thrust Masina into an early starting role depending on how well he’d take to the new defense. Giving Jeff Ulbrich another 6’4 player with athleticism to work with on the edge would give him more options, and would probably give UCLA a better shot of getting pressure with four, which is ideally what they’d like to do.
Year One Impact? While you wouldn’t necessarily project Masina being able to come in and start immediately at outside linebacker, given how tough the learning curve was for UCLA’s experienced players this year, Masina has the talent to make an impact, and we wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he beats Deon Hollins out at some point during his first year in the program. At the very least, in his first year, he’d be a rotational player who could impact at a few different positions in the defense.
1. Iman Marshall, CB, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly,
The major caveat: UCLA is probably not going to get Marshall. Though the Bruins are likely the No. 2 team for Marshall, USC is out in front, and we really doubt that he ends up anywhere but firmly in Trojan land. He’s made noise throughout his recruitment about really considering UCLA, and he still commonly wears UCLA gear during games and at school, but we’re about 95% certain he’s going to end up at USC.
That said, we have him so high because, really, he’d be one of the most obvious instant impact guys in the class. Marshall would be an absolute coup, both from a recruiting perspective and from an impact perspective. First, he’d represent a major head-to-head win for UCLA against USC on the recruiting front, which would go a long way toward helping UCLA fans move past the post-traumatic stress of last year’s Signing Day. To pull a player of Marshall’s caliber, who has long been a USC lean, would be huge.
Ultimately, though, his impact on the playing field is why we have him No. 1. Marshall is a true lockdown corner, with the physicality, instincts, attitude, and tenacity you want from an elite cornerback. At all of 6’1, he looks like he should be playing safety, but he really does have the athleticism and feel for the position to play on the edge. For UCLA, he would immediately come in and be in the top three at cornerback, and we imagine he’d start before too long is past in his freshman year, especially given how often UCLA uses a nickel defense. He can play any type of coverage, but he excels in press coverage where he can use his physicality to knock receivers off their routes.
As we said, UCLA is probably not getting him. But if it did, Marshall represents a major impact player at a position of need.
Year One Impact? He’s potentially an instant starter. With Fabian Moreau locking down one cornerback spot in his senior year (most likely), we could see UCLA moving Ishmael Adams to permanent nickel or even safety, giving Marshall an opening to compete for a starting job from the get go, and potentially making an impact akin to Adoree Jackson this year for USC. Unfortunately, as we said, he’s probably going to be making a decision very similar to Jackson’s.
Editor's Note: We had Daylon Mack, DT, Gladewater (Tex.) and Du'Vonta Lampkin, the DT from Houston Cypress Falls, on this list originally because an elite defensive tackle is such a high commodity. But we have subsequently took them off as we've discovered that they're considerable longshots for UCLA. In fact, at this point, we think UCLA and Mack have ceased their short courtship. There is still an outside chance that Lampkin could take an official visit in January but it's looking more unlikely.