Commitment Analysis: Jalen Starks

May 29 -- Scout takes a look at what UCLA is getting in the Encino (Calif.) Crespi fullback, Jalen Starks, who committed to the Bruins on Thursday night...

Profile: Jalen Starks
Position: Fullback
Location: Encino (Calif.) Crespi
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 240 pounds

Ranking: Ranked as a three-star and the No. 2 fullback nationally in 2016 by Scout.

Recruiting: Chose UCLA over offers from Iowa State, San Jose State, UNLV and more.

The Scouting Report: Starks ran for nearly 900 yards last year for Crespi and scored 11 touchdowns as the Celts fullback, also helping pave the way for Torrance Brumfield's 1,000-yard season. He also played linebacker. UCLA wants him as the primary back in this class, and he's exactly what Kennedy Polamalu wants in a back -- big, powerful and able to move. Polamalu got a close look at Starks when he coached at Loyola during Starks' sophomore year and also watched him when Loyola played Crespi last year, since Polamalu's son plays for Loyola. Starks said early on that UCLA wanted to use him in much the same way the Bruins useMyles Jack, as a short yardage back and goal-line back. He's a physical player who's a pretty good linebacker, but he'll take his size and skill-set to the offensive side of the ball. The big thing for Starks will be staying around the 235-240 pound range, and if he does gain weight, making sure that it's good weight.

Overall Analysis: While Starks and Sean McGrew are completely different types of backs, when McGrew committed to Washington, the Bruins turned their attention to Starks and he didn't waste any time. UCLA was the SoCal native's dream school and within hours of getting the offer from Polamalu and Angus McClure (whose son plays at Crespi, giving McClure a free opportunity evaluate Starks whenever the need arises), he pulled the trigger. Starks said he's turning his attention to teammate Marcus Moore, who UCLA also offered on Thursday. The pickup of Starks provides another clear indication of what kind of back Polamalu prefers. In Starks, UCLA is getting a player from a program that consistently cranks out talent, who plays in the toughest division (the Pac-5) in California, is a good student (3.5), and who didn't want to waste any time in the recruiting process. With a dearth of backs in the West, the Bruins got one that fits what they want to do. He's also the seventh commit to UCLA ranked in the Top 10 at his position nationally.


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