It's definitely unofficial visit season for UCLA. Not only is it just naturally that time of year, but there are many prospects in town for the Nike Camp this Sunday.
In case you didn't see it, here's the Recruiting Buzz from Wednesday, which includes news on quite a few unofficial visitors.
Then, since there have been so many more just a day later, and so much more news, we had to do another Buzz today.
Jack Jones, the receiver prospect from Long Beach Poly, was on UCLA's campus. According to sources at Long Beach Poly, he loved his visit, spending time with wide receivers coach Eric Yarber and Jim Mora. Jones expressed on the visit a couple of times that UCLA was his current favorite. He's also said that, despite being one of the best receiver prospects in the Southland for 2016, he loves to play cornerback. Jones is fully capable of playing cornerback, in fact would probably be an excellent one, but he could be the most elusive receiver in the west and just too valuable at that position. From what we've heard, UCLA talked to him about actually playing both positions.
J.J. Molson, the #1 kicker in the nation (and North American), according to kicking guru Chris Sailer, visited UCLA Tuesday and said it was amazing. He visited with the coaches, including new Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley, and said he really hit it off with everyone. He's coming to the UCLA kicking camp in June at UCLA, and it sounds like UCLA could offer soon after that, once they get a look at him. From the sounds of it, Molson is very high on UCLA and he has family in the area, so if UCLA offered, I wouldn't be shocked if he committed soon thereafter. The Mora is friends with the Molson family, which is that Molson family, the ones behind Molson Breweries (Now Molson Coors) and owners of the Montreal Canadiens. Probably running second for Molson is Florida State. We'll have a full story coming later.
Tua Tagovailoa, the 2017 quarterback from Hawaii, was on UCLA's campus Wednesday. From what we've heard, the elite prospect was on campus for a very long time and the unofficial visit went very well. Tagovailoa could be UCLA's top priority at quarterback for 2017, with some stiff competition probably coming from Oregon, who he had said previously was his leader. Tagaovailoa, though, is current teammates with UCLA-committed offensive lineman Fred Ulu-Perry, and the two are very close.
A Gardena Serra contingent was on campus Wednesday, with 2016 safety Brandon Burton and defensive end Oluwole Betiku.
We happen to have spies everywhere on campus. It's like BROTMZ.
Here are some photos that were snapped of them on campus. This isn't UCLA Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure dancing with Betiku, but showing him some DL moves in front of the Morgan Center. In the bottom pic is the entire group, with Burton in the red jacket.
From what we're hearing, UCLA is going to be a major player for Betiku. As we've reported, his guardian, who he lives with in SoCal, is LaVar Arrington, the former Penn State linebacker great who is very close to new UCLA DC Tom Bradley. Arrington practically looks at Bradley as a second father. The feeling from Wednesday's visit is that it would be very tough for Betiku to go anywhere else with that connection. In fact, Arrington plans to be on campus today just to hang with Bradley, Mora and the staff. Here's a story Greg Biggins did after talking to Betiku post-visit: Betiku Recaps Visit to UCLA.
The visit went very well with Burton, too, according to sources. Burton, who is assumed to be a USC lean, is saying he has legitimate interest in UCLA but, unlike some recent Serra prospects, most sources close to his recruitment believe it's legitimate. Biggins talked to Burton after the visit to get this story: Brandon Burton.
Biggins posted on the Serra visits:
Just talked to both on drive home and they said the visit went great. Burton said he'll be coming out with a top 5-7 list soon and UCLA will definitely be on it. He said the thing that stands out about UCLA is what a family atmosphere it is there and how comfortable he was with the coaches. He said there was no hard sell, it was just him and the whole staff touring the campus and just trying to build the relationship. He spent a lot of time with Meat, Yarbs, Angus, Bradley and Mora and said he really enjoyed being around all of them.
Betiku was with Bradley and Angus quite a bit and said Bradley had some good stories of his time with LaVar Arrington, whom he coached at Penn State. He added the same things about the family atmosphere there and how comfortable he felt on campus. That was his second visit, he visited last spring and said UCLA is very high on his list right now.
One of the coaches at Serra, who brought the boys over, said he'll likely be back tomorrow with Khalil Tate and LB Blake Walls and said the trip couldn't have gone any better.
UCLA is recruiting RB/Slot Receiver Demario McCall, North Ridgeville (Ohio). McCall is ranked the 95th propect in the nation overall, and #6 running back, even though he might translate to college as a slot receiver. Despite having offers from Ohio State, Tennessee, and others, we're hearing that a connection with new UCLA DC Tom Bradley will put UCLA on his recruiting map.
There's a feeling around the recruitment of Troy Warner, the safety from San Marcos Mission Hills, that he could commit to UCLA sooner than later. Warner, as we've told you, is teammates with current UCLA-committed DB Dechaun Holiday.
There could be a couple of offers going out to quarterbacks soon. Devon Modster, the QB prospect from Las Flores Tesoro, will unofficially visit UCLA Saturday, and the word is that, if everything goes well, it's very likely UCLA will offer him. UCLA then has initiated contact with Matt Fink, the quarterback prospect from Glendora, and he'll visit UCLA next week. The word is that it's very likely Fink, too, will get an offer. We've heard that UCLA will probably move to the top of both of the lists of Modster and Fink with an offer. A coach at Glendora said that Fink wants to stay in California and an offer from UCLA would be huge for him. And then there's Max Gilliam, the quarterback from Thousand Oaks, who probably won't get an offer soon but plans on attending UCLA's camp in June. If Gilliam shows well in the camp he could get an offer, too. UCLA is already at the top of Gilliam's list, being his dream school since his mom went to UCLA.
UCLA has had a good amount of contact recently with Tyler Vaughns, the west's #1 receiver prospect from La Puente Bishop Amat, It's widely accepted that USC is the clear frontrunner, he's openly said it in a number of interviews, but UCLA is going to continue to take a shot at him, at least for a while.
On Bellflower St. John Bosco running back Sean McGrew, Biggins posted late Wednesday night:
So sounds like UCLA may be pulling away from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco RB Sean McGrew a bit right now. Talked with him tonight and he said he's not hearing much from UCLA and he's now focusing on other schools. He hasn't totally closed the door on UCLA and said he would still like to visit this spring but UW and ASU are the two he likes most because of how hard they're recruiting him. KP has always liked bigger backs so I was curious if he would go all in on Sean and it sounds like they're targeting other players more at this time.
Early this morning we received an e-mail from someone close to the recruitment that said this probably is just a temporary misunderstanding, and that UCLA still has McGrew as a top priority at running back.
To end on: We're hearing that Tom Bradley has already made a huge impact on the UCLA staff. This week they started unit meetings, so the defensive coaches were literally shut in a room for 10 hours a day together talking football and watching film, and from what we've heard, Bradley has already garnered a huge amount of respect. Mora has a connection to Bradley, and intended to hire him initially, but also last year when the DC spot opened up. The feeling is that Bradley and Mora will mesh really well together in designing a defense, one that will be very similar to what UCLA has seen schematically under Mora, but now with Bradley bringing his knowledge and experience to it.
Thursday Recruiting Buzz
Bruin Report Online Top Stories
Kenny Walker Talks Offensive TweaksOct. 21 -- UCLA wide receiver Kenny Walker spoke about the state of the offense heading into the Utah game...
Bruin Report Online3:25 AM
Fast-rising DT Nabs UCLA OfferOct. 21 -- UCLA offered Portland (Ore.) Westview three-star defensive tackle Brandon Pili earlier this week after seeing him in action last Friday...
Bruin Report Online3:25 AM
UCLA vs. Utah Statistical PreviewOct. 21 -- What do the stats tell us about UCLA's matchup with the Utes on Saturday?
Bruin Report Online3:21 AM
Game Week: UCLA vs. UtahIt's your one-stop shop for all the previews, analyses, interviews, podcasts, and more from the week leading up to the Utah game Saturday...
Bruin Report Online3:12 AM