Commitment Analysis: Darian Owens

Apr. 20 -- Scout takes a look at what UCLA is getting with new athlete commit, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West standout Darian Owens…

Darian Owens

Position: Athlete
Location:Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 200 pounds

Recruiting: Owens was considered a "silent" commitment to USC last spring but opened things up late in the fall season. UCLA began to pick things up in early March and Owens told us at the Pylon 7-on-7 tourney in Las Vegas that the Bruins were recruiting him harder than anyone. He took a visit to campus two weeks ago and immediately put UCLA at the top of his board. Owens came out with a top seven just a few days ago that included Fresno State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, USC and Washington but once he decided he was ready to pull the trigger and end his recruitment, it was pretty obvious he would be a Bruin.

What to Like: Owens is a very good prospect on both sides of the ball. He's among the top receiver and safety prospects in the region and could easily play on both sides of the ball. He committed to UCLA to play receiver and that's definitely his preference in college. He first caught our eye at the Nike Camp in Oakland last May where he was arguably the top receiver in attendance that day. He has strong hands, can get behind a defense and runs well after the catch. He might be an even better safety prospect as he's a physical player with good instincts and range. He always seems to be around the ball, closes very well and has good ball skills for the position.

Areas to improve: Owens has good but not great hands and fights the ball a little. He catches the deeper balls pretty well but he'll drop the occasional ball on a crossing route. It's not a huge issue, but it's definitely an area for improvement. As mentioned, he runs well but doesn't have what you would call elite top-end speed. He can stretch the field at the high school level just fine but in college, he'll need to continue to get faster and more explosive to be the home run threat UCLA is looking for.

Overall Analysis: Owens is a very nice pickup for UCLA and he's coming in with a nice chip on his shoulder. He's a highly competitive kid with something to prove so UCLA is getting a highly motivated athlete who feels he should be ranked among the top handful of players in the nation. He offers a lot of versatility and it won't be surprising if he's moved around from receiver to safety in order to find the best fit for him. As we mentioned, he badly wants a crack at receiver and that was a big reason why he chose UCLA. He's talented enough to play receiver for sure and will have one of the better receiver coaches in the country to help develop him in Eric Yarber. The upside with Owens is if it doesn't appear he's making a big enough impact on offense, you have a kid who can easily slide over to safety and be a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball.

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