-- Scout.com’s Brian Dohn said he received a message from the #1 tight end in the nation, Chris Clark of Avon (Conn.) Old Farms, saying that UCLA is his leader. It’s significant since Clark was verbally committed to Michigan at one time and it was thought that a recruiting overture from new Michigan coach Jim Harbaught could put the Wolverines back in the driver’s seat. Clark has indeed spoken with Harbaugh, but it appears that UCLA has weathered it. Clark will visit UCLA on January 16th. He has said that Jim Mora intends to be at his school on the first day the Dead Period ends (January 15th), and then drive two hours to his parents house to visit with them, too.
It will be interesting to see what transpires as a result of those two visits and Clark’s official visit. The #2 tight end in the country, Alize Jones, from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, who is verbally committed to UCLA, has been flirting pretty heavily with Notre Dame for some time. He took an official visit to South Bend, but we heard he didn’t like it much, particularly the cold, but Notre Dame has seemed to make up for that and the Irish are very strong for Jones now, from what we’ve heard. Jones intends to officially visit UCLA Jan. 16th or 23rd, and in this interview with BRO’s David Woods he said he was very interested to get more in detail with the UCLA coaches about how the UCLA offense would utilize him. We’ll see how it all works between Clark and Jones; if Clark verbally commits to UCLA we would think it would an indication that UCLA has dropped Jones, and that might happen on or around his visit to UCLA on the 16th. It would be very intriguing if Jones were on that same visit weekend to UCLA, but we tend to suspect that the two prospects won’t visit the same weekend.
-- We’re hearing that the buzz around the U.S. Army practices about Osa Masina is that it’s a UCLA-USC battle for the five-star Utah linebacker. It had been thought that USC had taken the lead after his official visit there last month, but the word is that Masina’s relationship with UCLA Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Jeff Ulbrich is really standing out for him, and that has really helped UCLA at least draw even with USC, with ASU probably running third.
-- The word is that UCLA does clearly lead for Dechaun Holiday, the four-star DB from San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills. Holiday has sat out the last couple of days of practice in San Antonio due to a hamstring pull but is going to try to play Saturday in the All-America game. Holiday will visit UCLA January 30th.
-- Joseph Wicker, the prospect from Long Beach Poly, has been among the handful of best DLs all week for the West team. It was thought UCLA was leading for him and that ASU was perhaps right there, but we’ve heard more that UCLA probably still has a slight end. Wicker has already visited ASU and will visit UCLA on January 23rd, which gives the Bruins a chance to make a big last impression on him. We would bet that his performance at the Army practices have made him even more attractive to UCLA, showing he definitely will have versatility to play inside or outside on the next level.
From Greg Biggins on UCLA Recruits at the Semper Fi All-American Bowl practices:
*Like DE Benning Potoae a lot. He's raw, mentioned yesterday that he's a second slow getting off the ball every snap but he has great size, a great motor, is athletic and loves to play. He doesn't have a lot of technique on the pass rush, mostly just a bull rush but he's naturally strong and is going to be very good. He sounds like a pretty solid UCLA lean right now as well, a few players mentioned that all he has been talking about. UW gets last crack and a decision should come mid-January.
*Tevita Halalilo, the OL prospect verbally committed to UCLA, is going to be a very good guard. He has only played tackle the last 3 years but looks like a natural there. He's incredibly strong, has balance, moves well laterally and is tough. He said he weighs about 315 now, down from 345 in the spring although he looks closer to 325 still for me.
*WR Carlos Strickland has gotten mixed results this week. Great physical talent -- long, lean athlete with hands, body control, speed and fluidity. On the downside, coaches have knocked him for being difficult to coach and lack of toughness. They’ve gotten into him in practice, and then he sat out practice saying he was 'too sore.' He seems like a nice kid off the field. I talked to him for a bit and he said he's looking forward to his UCLA visit and he has real genuine interest, not just looking for a free trip to L.A.