UCLA Recruiting Reset: Offense

Jan. 14 -- With the Dead Period ending tonight, official visits happening this weekend and Signing Day closing in, we're ramping up the recruiting coverage. Here are the prospects left on UCLA's 2015 recruiting board, finishing with offense...

UCLA currently has 18 commitments and, interestingly, only 18 scholarships open for the 2015 class.

That will certainly make some BROs on the Premium Football Message Board panic.

Every year, however, it seems fans get concerned about the number of scholarships available and it never ends up a problem. We anticipate by next fall, when UCLA has to be at the NCAA-allowed number of 85, it will be fine. There will be players that leave the program due to medical reasons or transfer. In fact, we count at least seven players on the roster we could see leaving the program for various reasons by next October. UCLA, then, won’t think twice about taking 22-25 players in this class. In fact, if UCLA runs the table and gets everyone, we feel it would take them all and sort it out later.



QUARTERBACK

Needs at Position: 1

Prospects Still On the Board:

Josh Rosen, 6-3.5, 206, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Ranking: #12 Overall, #1 QB

Josh Rosen

UCLA needed a quarterback in the 2015 class and got the best one in the country. They also have a wide-open quarterback race with Jerry Neuheisel and Asiantii Woulard having experience and Josh Rosen having the talent. This spring will be one of the more interesting spring practices that Jim Mora has had in the previous three years. Rosen will have every chance to win the starting job in the spring and there may not be a more important recruit in the Jim Mora Era than Rosen.

UCLA secured a huge part of its recruiting class when Rosen verbally committed March 20th. As we've said previously: the success of UCLA's 2015 recruiting class is almost completely based on whether it gets an elite quarterback prospect, and it got one in Rosen. Rosen moved up to the No. 1 quarterback in the country and then emphatically put his stamp on the top spot throughout the spring and at The Opening and the Elite 11. Rosen has so many of the tools you need to be an elite college quarterback – size, athleticism, a strong arm, accuracy, touch, and intelligence. He also seems to be maturing in terms of leadership, too, which is a big factor. He's one of the most cerebral and intelligent quarterbacks we've come across in over a decade. All in all, Rosen may be one of the most gifted and talented quarterbacks to come from the West in the last 15-20 years. To UCLA's vast credit, it did an excellent job of recruiting Rosen. The Bruins were trailing for him early on, but Jim Mora himself and quarterback coach Taylor Mazzone were very effective in recruiting Rosen. Rosen has started out his senior season solidly, looking like a college-ready quarterback. He has been recruiting for UCLA. With Brett Hundley gone to the NFL, plus Rosen's decision to graduate early from Bosco (a first, in fact), he has a very legitimate case to be the heir to the reins of the Bruin offense. Enrolling at UCLA in January will give him a few months to get acclimated to school, and get up to speed on the quarterback position at UCLA before trying to win the starting job in spring practice in April. One of the most impressive things about Rosen is that in the Trinity League, easily the best league in California and one of the best in the country, he went 15-0 as the starter in league games in three years as the starter. Rosen was a mainstay at UCLA games this fall and he'll be on campus for official visits in the next couple of weekends.

Above-Expectation Scenario: We're going to say that UCLA getting Rosen fits in this category, since getting a quarterback prospect of Rosen's level is unprecedented and a potentially program-changing kind of recruiting achievement.



RUNNING BACK

Needs at Position: 2-3

Prospects Still on the Board:

Bolu Olorunfunmi, 5-11, 210, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis North
Ranking: #47 RB COMMITTED
T.J. Simmons, 6-0, 205, Lakeland (Fla.) Lakeland Christian
Ranking: #67 RB COMMITTED
Sotonye Jamabo, 6-3, 190, Plano (Tex.) Plano West
Ranking: #20 Overall, #1 RB OFFERED


Bolu Olorunfunmi

Even with the rise of Paul Perkins this year, UCLA still needs a third back to get carries next year with Jordon James graduating. Nathan Starks emerged as the No. 2 back late in the season and figures to be the first back off the bench to spell Perkins next year as well. Craig Lee has show flashes but its been just that, flashes. Not consistent enough to get any carries this past season, UCLA wants one of the incoming freshman to challenge for playing time next year.

Jamabo is the nation's best back and despite him taking his official visit to UCLA the weekend of the Oregon debacle, that may have actually helped the Bruins, as he saw they still need a few more pieces to compete with the true elite in college football. Notre Dame has long been UCLA's top competition for Jamabo, but in recent weeks, they've started offering more and more running backs as the feeling is that Jamabo is UCLA bound, so they're trying to cover their bases. The test for UCLA, however, will to be to fend off the push that Texas and Texas A&M are likely to make for Jamabo down the stretch. Texas has their sights set on Chris Warren, another in-state back, but if he were to end up elsewhere, they would really ramp up the efforts for Jamabo. Texas A&M has been pretty pass-happy under Kevin Sumlin and we've heard that's the big hesitation with Jamabo. UCLA, with Perkins leading the Pac-12 in rushing, has shown that they want to run the ball a lot and that will only help with Jamabo, especially since, with the shorter shelf life of running backs, another big year by Perkins could lead to the NFL to come calling. Bolu has stayed solid throughout his recruitment, very aware that they're still pursuing Jamabo (and even recruiting Jamabo himself some). Simmons is still buckling down academically to ensure his enrollment. There is also a potential push from Florida coming down the stretch for him.

Above-Expectation Scenario: UCLA gets Jamabo and holds on to Simmons to go along with Olorunfunmi.
Good Scenario: UCLA gets one of Jamabo/Simmons with Olorunfunmi.
Disappointing Scenario: Jamabo stays in-state, Simmons stays local and Olorunfunmi is the only running back the Bruins sign.


WIDE RECEIVER

Needs at Position: 3-4

Prospects Still on the Board:

L.J. Reed, 6-3, 205, Lodi (Calif.) Tokay
Ranking: #131 Overall, #15 WR COMMITTED
Stephen Johnson, 5-11, 185, San Leandro (Calif.)
Ranking: #217 Overall, #26 CB COMMITTED
Ryan Newsome, 5-9, 175, Aledo (Texas)
Ranking: #193 Overall, #27 WR OFFERED
Carlos Strickland, 6-4, 190, Dallas (Texas) Skyline
Ranking: #109 Overall, 12 WR OFFERED
Tony Brown, 6-1, 170, La Mirada (Calif.)
Ranking #213 Overall, #32 WR OFFERED
C.J. Sanders, 5-8.5, 175, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Ranking: #280 Overall, #38 WR OFFERED
Cordell Broadus, 6-2.5, 192, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #275 Overall, #37 WR OFFERED
George Wilson, 6-3, 180, Tustin (Calif.)
Ranking: #147 WR


UCLA got a number of bigger-type receivers in the 2014 class and now seems to be targeting both some bigger-type receivers and smaller, more elusive types. In UCLA's offense it always needs a good amount of receivers, so it's still very feasible that UCLA takes three or even four receivers for 2015, especially if it means getting elite big-play guys.

Stephen Johnson
Johnson committed to UCLA at The Opening last summer and the Bruins are recruiting him as an athlete -- either a receiver or cornerback. For a while it looked like UCLA intended to bring him in as a corner first but recently it appears Johnson will get a first shot at receiver. UCLA is high on him largely because of how gifted an athlete he is and he's gotten bigger and has some stability behind him now. Reed took his official visit to UCLA last weekend and said that the trip firmed up his already pretty solid commitment to the Bruins. So with those two locked in, the Bruins are watching what two Texas receivers are doing very closely, and a third, in-state receiver who's committed to Texas Tech. UCLA will have Strickland in for an official visit this weekend, and after he decommitted from Texas Tech, it sounds like thing are dead between the him and the Red Raiders. Cal is also trying to push for Strickland, and then there of course is Texas, who would love to keep the Dallas native home. That also brings Newsome in to the equation, who will announce his decision next Friday (the 23rd), between the Longhorns, Bruins and Tennessee. Strickland to UCLA all but hand delivers Newsome to Texas. If Strickland opts for the 'Horns, then Newsome could end up at UCLA. UCLA would love to get both but would be very happy if they got even one of the two. Brown will visit this weekend, even after he committed to the Red Raiders, and UCLA is hoping to get him to stay in-state. But their push for Strickland could make Brown, who was once committed to the Red Raiders with Strickland, want to stick with the Red Raiders. Sanders is and has been a longshot for the Bruins, remaining pretty steadfast in his commitment to the Irish. And UCLA has cooled on Broadus, but he did say at the UnderArmour Game he wants to visit this month. Wilson is a backup plan at this point that would probably jump all over a Bruin offer if it presented itself.

Above-Expectation Scenario: UCLA gets both Strickland and Newsome to go along with Reed and Johnson.
Good Scenario: UCLA gets one of the two of Strickland/Newsome along with Brown to go with Reed and Johnson.
Disappointing Scenario: Strickland and Newsome both stay in Texas and Brown sticks with his commitment; defensive back prospect DeChaun Holiday spurns the Bruins, so UCLA then projects Johnson at corner and they have to take a commitment from Cordell Broadus and/or George Wilson for numbers sake.


TIGHT END

Needs at Position: 1-2

Prospects Still on the Board:

Alize Jones, 6-4.5, 220, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Ranking: #26 Overall, #2 TE COMMITTED
Chris Clark, 6-6, 247, Avon (Conn.) Old Farms
Ranking: #23 Overall, #1 TE OFFERED

Chris Clark
UCLA's Y position is a pretty dynamic one. If you remember the way Joseph Fauria was used in Mora's first season that's the ideal type of mismatch the Y can represent in UCLA's spread. It can accommodate more of the traditional tight end type, like Fauria, but also more of one in the H-back mold of a UCLA tight end a few years back, Ryan Moya. The bigger and more athletic the better the player will exploit the mismatches, like Fauria did. The position doesn't necessarily need a great deal of depth, and UCLA probably just needs to take one per year. With UCLA's offense, actually, the Y isn't exactly a position anymore but a role, and recently it’s role that is fulfilled by bigger, more physical receiver types like Thomas Duarte.

Easily the most dramatic, or at least entertaining spot to watch down the stretch has been the tight end position. The top two tight ends in the country both have UCLA factoring in their recruitments. UCLA has had a commitment from Jones since November of 2013, but all signs are pointing to the Irish for him. The Bruins got on Clark late but have made MAJOR progress with him, to the point that the Bruins just need to get him on campus and a commitment is likely to follow. Jones hasn't officially decommitted from the Bruins, even if everything says he will end up in South Bend. He's scheduled to visit UCLA this weekend, but if that doesn't happen, count that one over. Clark will visit Michigan, where he was once committed (and decommitted after Brady Hoke was fired), this weekend. Jim Harbaugh is a tight end whisperer of some sorts, and Clark even tweeted before his hiring that he wanted Michigan to hire Harbaugh. But since his hiring, he's still been voicing his interest in the Bruins. He'll visit UCLA officially next weekend and then will make a decision. If Jones doesn't publicly switch to Notre Dame, that could slow things up with Clark, but if he does end up flipping to the Irish, there is a very good chance its a matter of when, not if, Clark commits to UCLA. And they would have traded in the one-time #1 tight end but now #2 tight end for the top-ranked tight end nationally.

Above-Expectation Scenario: UCLA sells Clark and Jones on being different kinds of tight ends and signs them both.
Good Scenario: UCLA either keeps Jones or gets Clark.
Disappointing Scenario: Jones flips to Notre Dame, Clark re-commits to Michigan to play for Jim Harbaugh, and UCLA gets shut out on tight ends.


OFFENSIVE LINE

Needs at Position: 2-3

Prospects Still on the Board:

Andre James, 6-5, 275, Herriman (Utah)
Ranking: #201 Overall, #17 OT COMMITTED
Tevita Halalilo, 6-5, 325, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
Ranking: #166 Overall, #13 OG COMMITTED
Fred Ulu-Perry, 6-2.5, 305, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis,
Ranking: #219 Overall, #1 C COMMITTED
Zach Bateman, 6-6, 310, Costa Mesa (Calif.) Orange Coast College
Ranking: #16 JC Overall, #2 JC OL COMMITTED
Josh Wariboko, 6-3, 305, Oklahoma City (Okla.) Casady School )
Ranking: #152 Overall, #12 OG OFFERED
Semisi Uluave, 6-5, 320, Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou
Ranking: #295 Overall, #17 OG OFFERED
Maea Teuhema, 6-5, 340, Keller (Texas)
Ranking: #40 Overall, #1 OG OFFERED
Kieffer Longson, 6-7, 300, San Ramon (Calif.) Dougherty Valley
Ranking: #34 OT OFFERED

Andre James
It got a little bumpy for UCLA early last week, when it looked like their longest committed lineman, Tevita Halalilo, was going to end up at Arizona State after he decommitted. But after he talked with Adrian Klemm, he was all the way back in with the Bruins. He's been committed since last April and never seemed to have any doubts, but things got lost in translation and he was pretty adamant he was looking elsewhere. But Klemm and Halalilo smoothed things over and Halalilo, who had a great week at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, was 100% solid. James has been solid since his official visit to UCLA, even with a push from some other schools, and he's been no real threat to lose. Bateman is already on campus, enrolling last year and he'll compete for immediate playing time, and possibly even a starting role, with Caleb Benenoch and Scott Quessenberry questionable for the spring. In a perfect world, Bateman would win the right tackle job and allow Benenoch to move to his more natural guard spot and UCLA can finally redshirt Quessenberry. Bateman's enrollment this month and presence at spring ball could make that a reality. Wariboko is the one offensive lineman they have to continue to push for. He was supposed to announce at the Under Armour game then decided to push it back till he got home, which caused some worries, but we've heard that UCLA is still in the pole position to get him. Uluave will visit Texas Tech this weekend then UCLA next weekend and he told us this week that the Bruins still lead, despite not having visited. He'll serve his LDS mission immediately and enroll in 2017, but if he signed, he'd count towards this classes rankings. Longson is committed to BYU but is still expected to visit this month and he too plans to serve his LDS mission immediately and UCLA would love to flip him and sign him, even if he too is a couple years away from enrolling. Teuhema is icing on the cake- UCLA already has a very good offensive line class, but flipping the longtime LSU commit would be huge, would keep the Texas pipeline on the line going and give the Bruins another true guard prospect (in Teuhema's case, the nation's top guard). He's expected to visit UCLA this month, and if it happens, UCLA has a very good chance to flip him. But getting him on campus will be Klemm's biggest and toughest job this month.

Above-Expectation Scenario: UCLA gets Wariboko, flips Teuhema, flips Longson and also signs Uluave, even if they have to wait until 2017 to get back both Longson and Uluave. Actually just adding Teuhema to UCLA's already great OL class would garner an above-expectation scenario.
Good Scenario: UCLA finishes off with Wariboko and Uluave, still giving UCLA Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm probably the best OL recruiting class in the nation for 2015.
Disappointing Scenario: Wariboko succumbs to hometown pressure and signs with Oklahoma, and Uluave opts for Oregon. It still wouldn't be that disappointing with Bateman, Ulu-Perry, James and Halalilo signed.




Show your support for UCLA—stock up on Bruins gear by clicking here!


Bruin Report Online Top Stories