UCLA 2016 Recruiting: Defense

Feb. 6 -- We look at the 2016 defensive prospects with early UCLA offers and others high on the board...

Thursday we analyzed UCLA's early recruiting of the offensive players for 2016.

Today we turn to defense.

UCLA's 2016 will probably again be a smallish one. They'll have another small group of would-be seniors in 2015, and not many open scholarships for 2016. It's impossible to forecast exactly how many at this point, but probably similar to the 2015 class -- in the 18 to 22 range.

The 2016 class, particularly out West, will be strong again, as we said, just a notch below the 2015 class but ahead of some other recent classes. A great deal of the talent, too, is on the defensive side of the ball, which is good for UCLA because some of its biggest needs for 2016 are on defense.

UCLA has been pretty aggressive in this class so far, both locally and nationally.

NOTE: This list includes the 2016 prospects we know that UCLA has offered, and the "Others to Watch" includes prospects we know are high on UCLA's board but haven't yet been offered.

**Rankings are by position nationally.**

DEFENSIVE END

Needs: 2-3

Oluwole Betiku
The pickings are slim out West, with only one truly elite defensive end in the region, but he's the top defensive player in Southern California and he's committed to UCLA. Brandt had been a UCLA fan since he was a child, and UCLA kicked off their 2016 defensive recruiting in a big way with his commitment in October. Betiku is still very new to football and could end up inside. So UCLA is going to have to recruit nationally, which they've really been doing with this unit already. If UCLA can hold on to Brandt, and you'd expect they will, they're in a good position to find at least one more. We project they could take upward of three DEs because they're could be five total DLs UCLA takes in this class, and that might include a guy who starts out on the outside but ends up inside.



Breland Brandt, 6-4, 220, Los Angeles (Calif.) Windward, #3 COMMITTED (Pictured Above)
Shavar Manuel, 6-3.5, 255, Tampa (Fla.) Blake, #1
Erick Fowler, 6-3, 210, Manor (Texas), #18
Josh Brown, 6-3, 215, Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek, #19
Malik Barrow, 6-3, 250, Tampa (Fla.) Catholic
Oluwole Betiku, 6-4, 240, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Terrell Hall, 6-5, 225, Washington (D.C.) St. Johns College Prep
Tomon Fox, 6-3, 220, Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill

Others To Watch
Justin Madubuike, 6-4, 240, McKinney (Texas) North, #12
Zach Gilbert, 6-3, 250, Charlotte (N.C.) South Mecklenburg, #2

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Needs: 2

Defensive tackle isn't much better out West at this point, and the only real elite guy in California they've already offered in Tagaloa. The good news is that UCLA is doing well early with Tagaloa and he figures to be their top interior target on their board. With Odighizuwa, they obviously have some ties to him, and they're already his leader. Having missed on a defensive tackle in the 2015 class, getting a big-bodied nose-guard type player is perhaps the #1 need for UCLA in 2016. Even with UCLA playing a great deal of nickel, it still needs the guy to replace Kenneth Clark. The hope is that UCLA doesn't have to go to far and gets him in Tagaloa.

Boss Tagaloa
Rashan Gary, 6-4, 280, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic, #1
Ed Oliver, 6-2, 285, Houston (Texas) Westfield, #4
Mike Williams, 6-3, 270, Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal, #9
Boss Tagaloa, 6-3, 250, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, #12
David Marshall, 6-4, 270, Thomaston (Ga.) Upson-Lee, #25
Osa Odighizuwa, 6-3, 255, Portland (Ore.) David Douglas
Malik Walker, 6-1.5, 260, Montezuma (Ga.) Macon County
Amani Bledsoe, 6-4, 270, Lawrence (Kans.)
Soape Tupou, 6-3, 290, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant

Others To Watch
Darius Anderson, 6-1, 295, Sugar Land (Texas) Hightower
Jabari Watson, 6-3, 255, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.)

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Needs: 2

Caleb Kelly

Kelly is the top prospect in the West and the Bruins got him on campus for their Bruin Elite Camp and he raved about spending time with Jeff Ulbrich, so that was a good start.  Then he came to the USC game and spent time with another Fresno linebacker product, Eric Kendricks, and that left an even bigger impression. Kelly is UCLA's top outside linebacker target and on their really short list for top overall prospect, as he should be, since he's the No. 1 overall prospect out West in 2016.

Lyndell Wilson, 6-3, 225, Montgomery (Ala.) Carver, #2
Caleb Kelly, 6-2, 220, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West, #3
Marvin Terry, 6-3, 220, Dallas (Texas) South Oak, #9
Darrian Franklin, 6-1, 205, Downey (Calif.), #11
Maciah Long, 6-2, 200, Galena Park (Texas) North Shore, #20
Camilo Eifler, 6-2, 210, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd, #32
Devin Bush, 6-0, 207, Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Flanagan, #34

MIDDLE LINEBACKER

Needs: 2*

*This number is probably dependent on whether UCLA gets Roquan Smith.*

Lokeni Toialoa
UCLA was one of Toailoa's first offers and the Bruins are doing very well with him early. He was at a number of games this fall and he and Kelly have gotten pretty close. Watch for Youngquist and Robinson to get offers and become priorities. While this list looks a bit thin, some of the recruits listed under inside linebacker will possibly project as outside linebackers, too. Eifler just visited UCLA during one of the 2015 official visit weekends in January.

Lokeni Toailoa, 6-2, 225, Rialto (Calif.) Carter, #1
Mique Juarez, 6-2, 210, Torrance (Calif.) North, #5 (USC commit)

Others To Watch
Blake Walls, 6-1, 205, Gardena (Calif.) Serra, #15 OLB
Carlo Kemp, 6-2, 220, Boulder (Colo.) Fairview, #16 OLB
Bryce Youngquist, 6-2, 210, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos, #19 OLB
Curtis Robinson, 6-3, 205, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

SAFETY

Needs: 2

Shurod Thompson
UCLA plans on offering a number of safeties in this class and is hitting the Midlands hard, with a couple of top five guys in Texas getting offers while they're also after the top two in California.  UCLA is already on the very short list for Thompson, who's the top safety prospect in Northern California in this class.

Deontay Anderson, 6-1, 192, Manvel (Texas), #2
Eric Monroe, 6-0, 180, Galena Park (Texas) North Shore, #3
Shurod Thompson, 6-1, 185, Pittsburg (Calif.), #4
Brandon Burton, 6-0, 180, Gardena (Calif.) Serra, #6
Max Wariboko, 5-, 170, Oklahoma City (Okla.) Casady

Others To Watch
Marquel Dismuke, 6-2, 175, Carson (Calif.), #9
D.J. Morgan, 6-3, 185, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, #17
C.J. Pollard, 6-1, 190, Gardena (Calif.) Serra, #22

CORNERBACK

Needs: 2

Trevon Sidney
UCLA has been even more aggressive recruiting corners, hitting all over the West and down in the South as well. Fuller is the younger brother of Devin Fuller and Sidney has been UCLA's top target since last year, though he could also be a receiver. UCLA is recruiting him more as an athlete but he projects to be a very good corner. The Bruins offered Parker when they went to see Thompson at Pittsburg; it was a big offer for him, the two want to play together in college, and the word is that UCLA is doing well already with Parker.

Saivion Smith, 6-2, 185, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, #1
Kristian Fulton, 6-0, 165. Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel, #2
Jared Mayden, 6-0, 190, Sachse (Texas), #3
Levonta Taylor, 5-10, 165, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes, #5
Trevon Sidney, 5-11, 165, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat, #8
Trayvon Mullen, 6-2, 180, Coconut Creek (Fla.), #9
Byron Murphy, 6-1, 180, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro, #10
Jordan Fuller, 6-2, 190, Old Tappan (N.J.), #11
C.J. Morgan, 5-10, 180, Bossier City (La.) Parkway
Jordan Parker, 5-11, 175, Pittsburg (Calif.)
Malek Young, 5-10, 173, Coconut Creek (Fla.)
Bailey Phillips, 5-7, 165, Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite (Tennessee commit)

Others To Watch
Treyjohn Butler, 5-10, 185, Etiwanda (Calif.), #15

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