Apr. 17 -- We take a quick look at what type of player Darian Owens is and the impact he could have at UCLA...
Owens is about 6-0 and well-built, probably close to 200. He’s ranked by Scout as an athlete and not a receiver or a defensive back, but in the case of Owens it’s because he could plug into either side of the field well. As a receiver, he’s fast, but not blazing fast, but he certainly has good quickness for his size, and he combines that with solid pass-catching ability and physicality to make him a tough match-up. He’s a pretty polished receiver, runs his routes very well, and has very good technique catching the ball. He plays so physically, though, and has a very good nose for the ball, that some feel he could optimize his ability as a safety.
Owens verbally committed to UCLA Friday, after the Bruins had been the favorite for a while. Originally, over a year ago, it looked liked USC was the leader, but UCLA surpassed the Trojans in the last several months. He visited UCLA’s campus this spring and that pretty much seemed like it sealed the deal for him. Owens has said that UCLA Receiver Coach Eric Yarber was a big factor in his decision. Besides USC, Notre Dame, Oregon and Washington were the other big considerations.
Impact at UCLA:
We think it’s appropriate Owens be classified as an athlete. He’s the type that is good enough that you just take him, bring him into your program and sort it out later what position he plays. If we had to guess, we think he’ll mostly likely end up on the outside as a receiver, at the X or Z spot in UCLA’s offense. UCLA likes those outside receivers to be big and well-built. UCLA loses Jordan Payton after this next season, and Owens could supply that same kind of role, but with a bit more speed and explosiveness at the X or Z spot. If you had to make a comparison, you'd say he's similar possibly to former UCLA receiver Shaquelle Evans. We foresee Owens starting at receiver at UCLA, and he'll be good enough that there won't be any sentiment to switch him over to safety.