2016 Football Recruiting Reset: Offense

Jun. 22 -- We look at UCLA's offensive recruiting board heading into the Skills and Big Man camp...

UCLA's camps are this week, and the Bruins have had a relatively productive start to the recruiting cycle, with 14 commitments in the 2016 class and eight of those 10 commitments coming since the beginning of the eval period.

Of course, UCLA did lose one commitment in that time frame and was also without arguably its best recruiter the entire spring.

Thanks to recruiting much of 2015's class at least early on with the mindset it would be a smaller class, there had been an earlier focus than usual by UCLA on the 2016 class. Five of UCLA's current commitments are on offense, with six on defense and three on special teams.

UCLA clearly signed a considerably talent-laden class for 2015. Plugging that into the existing talent in the program, UCLA is definitely at its most talented point in quite a long time.

It clearly is a new era in UCLA football recruiting, with UCLA not just being mentioned among the elite in California and the West, but also nationally, and beating some of the national powers for guys in their own backyard.

Here is a current look at UCLA's offensive recruiting board heading into the camps this week.


The good news is that UCLA has Josh Rosen on campus and in contention for the starting job as a true freshman this fall. The bad news for recruiting over the last few months was that made it difficult to recruit from the top tier, because those players didn't want to sit behind Rosen for two years. But in a bit of a whirlwind recruitment, UCLA evaluated, recruited, and earned a commitment from a 2016 quarterback in early May in Matt Lynch. Then on the heels of Asiantii Woulard transferring, got a commitment from an athlete who could play quarterback, Dymond Lee, in June, with Lee coming in and having a crack at quarterback.

Matt Lynch, 6-4, 185, Broomfield (Colo.) Legacy- COMMITTED
Lynch was an early commit to Colorado State but when Jim McElwain left for the Florida head coaching gig and Mike Bobo was hired as the offensive coordinator, Lynch opened up his recruitment. UCLA went to see him throw late last month and then had Lynch on campus for an unofficial visit the first week in May. They offered him on the unofficial and he committed an hour later. Lynch is an intriguing prospect who we got our first chance to see this month at The Opening Eugene regional. And Lynch actually had a good day and alleviated some concern that he can make the jump to the next level. There will likely not be an immediate need for Lynch to play in his first two years in the program. His commitment got the position filled with at least one quarterback in this class, in what could have been a tough year to bring in a passer.

Dymond Lee, 6-2, 175, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade- COMMITTED
Lee was offered by UCLA in early March after patiently waiting for some time. UCLA had been watching him for two years and finally extended the offer. It was a big one for Lee, who had double-digit offers from around the country, including from Colorado, where his older brother, Donovan, plays. So it wasn't a surprise when Lee committed to UCLA. The surprise, though, was that he did so as a quarterback. With Woulard leaving, UCLA wanted to bring in an athletic, dual-threat quarterback and Lee appears to be their guy there. He's a terrific receiver but hasn't taken a lot of snaps as the starter at Chaminade- though he will this fall. Should quarterback not work out for him at UCLA, though, he can fall back on receiver, and unlike other quarterbacks-turned-receivers like Devin Fuller and Aaron Sharp, Lee is more of an experienced and talented receiver.

Dillon Sterling-Cole, 6-2.5, 183, Houston (Tex.) Westfield- OFFERED
Sterling-Cole was offered by UCLA earlier this spring, and the Bruins made the cut on his recent list, but it's uncertain whether, or how seriously, UCLA will pursue him now with Lynch and Lee both committed. Sterling-Cole looked pretty good at the Elite 11 in Los Angeles, and we'll get another long look at him at The Opening next month, and we'll be better able to gauge how interested he'd be in UCLA, given that the Bruins now have two ostensible quarterback commits.

RUNNING BACKS (Needs: 1-2)

It's again not a great running back class out West, which has been an issue the past couple of years. That's part of the reason why UCLA stockpiled a bit at the position in the 2015 class, with two backs coming in, Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi.

Jalen Starks, 6-1, 240, Encino (Calif.) Crespi- COMMITTED
Starks didn't waste any time at all in jumping on the UCLA offer. The Bruins offered in the afternoon and by that evening, Starks committed to the Bruins. He's the No. 2 fullback nationally by Scout, and tops in the West, and is a big power back who Kennedy Polamalu is well aware of, having coached against him when he was at Loyola and got a chance to see again when his son played against Starks last year. He's the physical back that Polamalu wants in his offense and Starks had been high on UCLA's board for a while.

D'Vaughn Pennamon, 5-11.5, 195, Manvel (Texas)- OFFERED
Pennamon visited UCLA in April when he was out for the IMG 7v7 West Regionals with his Texas team. UCLA is on his short list, but Arkansas appears to be the favorite for him, having visited earlier this month. He's had a great spring and moved in to the Scout 300 so his stock is on the rise with more and more schools coming after him. UCLA did sign a teammate of his in February, William Lockett, so they're hoping that at least gets them a visit.

Other running backs:
Dylan Thigpen, 5-10.5, 180, La Verne (Calif.) Damien
Leo Lambert, 5-10, 180, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame

RECEIVERS (Needs: 3-4)

The receiver class out West is a deep one, but UCLA isn't just offering a bunch of guys in the region, they're offering a number of receivers nationally. The Bruins already have commitments from Felton and Owens, who UCLA wants as a receiver. UCLA was the first offer for McKnight and one of the first offers for Alloway. This is a strong position across the country and UCLA is already getting after several but a lot of the top Western prospects are still wide open or not listing the Bruins. There is also a chance that Dymond Lee ends up back at receiver, sooner rather than later, though he's listed with the quarterbacks since that will be his first stop at UCLA.

Darian Owens, 6-0, 180, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West- COMMITTED
Owens looked to be a USC lean last summer but UCLA made up a ton of ground and prioritized him which was big for Owens. Eric Yarber was key in Owens' recruitment and he said their relationship was a big part of his reason to pick the Bruins. Owens is also close with teammate Caleb Kelly, one of UCLA's top defensive targets. Owens is ranked as a top ten athlete on Scout, with some schools liking him for defense, but UCLA wants him specifically for receiver and that was a big thing for Owens too.

Demetric Felton, 5-10, 195, Temecula (Calif.) Great Oak- COMMITTED
Felton plays running back for Great Oak, but he projects as a slot receiver for the Bruins, and will be used like UCLA used Damien Thigpen, on wheel routes, jet sweeps, and any other way to get the ball in his hands in space. He committed to the Bruins in March and he is a great get because his recruitment was really beginning to take off when they offered. The local factor played a huge role in their ability to get him.

Damian Alloway, 5-10, 170, Fontana (Calif.) Summit- OFFERED
Alloway nearly committed to Cal over UCLA the same day Felton committed but held off from committing. That was big for UCLA, because they still want him badly and Alloway deciding to hold off kept them from losing him to an in-state/in-conference foe. Alloway said there was something about UCLA that kept him from pledging to Cal. He was going back and forth between the two often but now other schools are making a push. Wisconsin offered last month and is making a move and Notre Dame offered, which was an offer he had long wanted. With Cal getting a number of receiver commits (albeit, different types of receivers than Alloway), he's looking at more schools too. He and Felton could be used in similar roles, but Alloway is more of a pure receiver than Felton.

Dylan Crawford, 6-1, 175, Santa Margarita (Calif.)- OFFERED
UCLA is still trying with Crawford, and he's said of the local schools, UCLA is the leader, but there's a good chance he leaves Southern California to play his college ball. He's close with K.J. Costello, moving to Santa Margarita for his senior season to play with his 7v7 quarterback and so he can graduate early. Stanford, where Costello is committed, is on Crawford hard and the Cardinal are doing pretty well with him, but UCLA is still trying and made his top ten list last week, so if he does plan to stay local, the Bruins have a shot.

Marquis Lawson, 5-9, 165, Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian- OFFERED
UCLA offered Lawson recently. He didn't test particularly well at the Nike Camp in Los Angeles, scratching his 40 and running a 4.55 shuttle, but it wasn't, overall, a very good testing day, with windy conditions. He definitely fits that slot receiver mold, and could be a fit in case Damian Alloway goes elsewhere.

Steffon McKnight, 6-1.5, 165, San Diego (Calif.) Mira Mesa- OFFERED
McKnight got his first offer from UCLA over a year ago but he really never mentioned them much before. However, of late, he's talking a little more about the Bruins. UCLA had him on campus during spring ball and are now back on his short list.

Other receivers:
Tyler Vaughns, 6-2, 185, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat- OFFERED
N'Keal Harry, 6-3, 210, Chandler (Ariz.)- OFFERED
Devin Duvernay, 5-10, 175, Sachse (Texas)- OFFERED
Dee Anderson, 6-4, 175, Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite- OFFERED
Binjimen Victor, 6-4, 170, Coconut Creek (Fla.)- OFFERED
Clyde Leflore, 6-1, 165, New Orleans (La.) Warren Easton- OFFERED
Mykel Jones, 6-0, 185, Patterson (La.)- OFFERED
A.J. Morris, 6-1, 205, Smyrna (Tenn.) Lancaster Christian Academy- OFFERED
Simi Fehoko, 6-4, 183, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton
J.J. Wills, 5-11, 161, Clovis (Calif.)

TIGHT END (Needs: 1)

UCLA got the nation's No. 1 tight end in the 2015 class in Chris Clark, a traditional tight end at that. But they would like to add another one of that same style.

Devin Asiasi, 6-5, 230, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle- OFFERED
Asiasi is similar to Clark, too, in that he's a well-rounded tight end. Clark is a better athlete but Asiasi is a better blocker and a little more physical. Asiasi plays in the vaunted veer offense at De La Salle, which is great if you're a running back or linemen, but not so great when you want to catch passes. But it has helped Asiasi's blocking greatly and he's used the 7v7 circuit to show just how good of a receiver he is, with soft hands and pretty good ability to run. USC is the team to beat for him, but the Bruins will keep trying and he's planning to visit this summer. He released his top eight on Sunday and the Bruins made the list.

Noah Fant, 6-4, 210, Omaha (Neb.) South - OFFERED
Fant really opened some eyes at The Opening Regional in Eugene, looking like one of the most athletic tight end prospects in the class. He's currently ranked as a defensive end, where he has some real potential as well, but currently UCLA likes him as a tight end. He is definitely more of a receiving tight end than a blocking type, so he's not quite in that Chris Clark mold, at least not yet. He has the potential to get significantly bigger, though, with a nice frame. UCLA (mostly Angus McClure) has been recruiting him for a few months now, with the offer coming in a few weeks ago. UCLA is thought to be doing fairly well with him, but the hometown school, Nebraska, is also in the mix.

Cary Angeline, 6-7, 230, Exton (Pa.) Downington East- OFFERED
Angeleine was offered by UCLA in the spring and he made his way out to Westwood for a spring practice, but all indications are that he's staying put closer to home, with in-state Penn State one of the favorites. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan State are also making a push for him.

Other tight ends:
Thaddeus Moss, 6-4, 235, Charlotte (N.C.) Victory Christian- OFFERED
Nick Crabtree, 6-6, 247, Huntington Beach (Calif.)


UCLA stocked up on linemen in the 2015 class, and that looks to have been a pretty good move. It's a thin class so far in the region for 2016 and most of the top in-state guys have made decisions. Then there was the Adrian Klemm suspension factor. It's no secret that Klemm is one of UCLA's best recruiters, but with his suspension for all of spring (including spring practice) UCLA has fallen behind in offensive line recruiting. It will be interesting to see where UCLA stands with their offensive line recruits now that Klemm has returned (today, in fact), and what his plan will be. He'll most likely have to re-recruit some of the guys committed elsewhere and, if that doesn't work, hit the plan B guys pretty hard. To UCLA's credit, they didn't stand idle during the latter part of spring as guys were falling off, but instead offered a good number of guys from the West and nationally from the second tier. Graduate assistant Blake Bentz stepped in to coach during spring practice as well as recruiting, and he got good reviews from various prospects. Still, UCLA has some catch-up to do.

Michael Eletise, 6-3, 270, Honolulu (Hawaii) Kaiser- OFFERED
Eletise is the top offensive guard in the West and UCLA had been doing well with him, with the four-star citing his relationship with Klemm as one of the major factors in his interest in UCLA. With Klemm out, Oregon and Washington have both started to make serious in-roads with him. As a player, Eletise is every bit the prospect he's ranked, earning an invitation to The Opening Finals after the Los Angeles Regional, where he showed his great punch, physicality and good footwork. His recruitment has really taken off, with nearly 40 offers, including several from national programs, but his top ten, named earlier this month, still had UCLA on it, and he cited his relationship with Klemm, who's now back, as a big reason why.

Alex Akingbulu, 6-6, 240, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne- OFFERED
Akingbulu is still somewhat of a project, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. He's only played football for a year, being a basketball player turned offensive lineman. He lost a ton of weight during hoops and weighed in at The Opening Los Angeles at 230. He acknowledged then that he knows he needs to get to at least 260, and when we saw him a few weeks ago at spring practice with Serra, he looked like he was gaining some weight. He moves pretty well and is light on his feet with good length, but he'll absolutely have to add some considerable weight to be serviceable in college. UCLA is the hometown favorite for Akingbulu and his sister is a student there too. He hasn't visited any school but UCLA and even with Klemm gone for the past few months, the local angle and his affinity for the Bruins hasn't created any wavering from him towards UCLA.

Willie Allen, 6-7, 270, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian- OFFERED
The No. 2 tackle nationally by Scout, Allen is a long and lean athletic offensive tackle, essentially what you draw up as a tackle. He's nasty too and not just an athletic lineman, but a bruiser. The early word was that UCLA had a realistic shot at him, as he was a sophomore when Kenny Young played at JCC and Young had been working on him for some time. But with Klemm absent for the spring, and not getting a chance to get down to Louisiana to see him during May, UCLA may be fading a bit in the pack. If there is a national guy we could see UCLA jumping back in on strongly now that Klemm is back, however, it'd be Allen.

Greg Little, 6-6, 285, Allen (Texas)- OFFERED
Little is the No. 1 lineman in the country and has been committed to Texas A&M for a while. Interestingly, he told Scout at The Opening Regional in Dallas that UCLA was recruiting him the hardest and he planned to visit unofficially and potentially officially. The next day, Klemm was suspended, so we'll see how much that affected Little, who also cited his relationship with Klemm as a reason for his interest. it could be a case that Klemm can't pull out this one.

Mike Alves, 6-5, 318, San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine
Alves was planning to camp with UCLA in hopes of getting an offer, but after they saw him in the spring, they didn't see the need to wait until then and they offered Alves in the early part of the month. The Bruins are in a group that included schools like Wisconsin, Oregon, Boston College and Washington, all schools who offered earlier, but being local could help some, though Alves said it won't be a huge factor. UCLA likes him as an offensive guard, but he could play right tackle in college.

Logan Bathke, 6-6, 260, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran
Bathke was somewhat of an unknown when UCLA offered him, not doing any camps this offseason. But watching him on film, you can see why several Pac-12 schools, including Oregon and the Arizona schools, have offered him. He's an athletic right tackle with a lot of nasty. UCLA nearly got a commitment from him earlier this month but then he visited the Arizona schools and Oregon threw their hat in the ring, and now Bathke wants to take his time and not rush into a decision and plans to take some visits. The Bruins are still in a good spot for him and his former Orange Lutheran teammate, Keisean Lucier-South, is all over him.

Henry Hattis, 6-6, 265, Rio Rancho (N.M.) Cleveland
Hattis was, in our opinion, the best offensive lineman at The Opening Oakland regional. In fact, the only offensive lineman who could stop Wole Betiku was Hattis, who beat him twice in the 1-on-1's. He's a big and athletic tackle, with massive hands (biggest measured hands at The Opening Oakland) who comes from an athletic family- his sister played both volleyball and basketball at Texas. Hattis was seen on film by the UCLA coaches in late May and soon after they jumped in with an offer and it was a big one for him. He's still hoping to add Stanford and Oklahoma offers to the mix, but the Bruins are definitely on his short list.

Terrance Davis, 6-4, 310, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic
At one point UCLA might have been the leader for Davis, but now, in the absence of Klemm, has fallen to the back of the pack. But we've heard that Davis is still very open to UCLA, and while Michigan, Maryland, Alabama and Florida State have surged ahead, the Bruins still have a chance.

Other offensive linemen:
Scott Lashley, 6-7, 295, West Point (Miss.)
Jauan Williams, 6-6, 270, Washington (D.C.) Archbishop Carroll- OFFERED
Clarence Henderson, 6-3, 250, Dallas (Texas) Skyline- OFFERED
Francisco Perez, 6-5, 300, Baldwin Park (Calif.)
Sean Auwae, 6-4, 290, Kapolei (Hawaii)
Nate Herbig, 6-4, 335, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis

SPECIAL TEAMS (Needs: 1 at each spot)

UCLA loses kicker Kai'mi Fairbairn, longsnapper Christopher Longo and punter Matt Mengel this year, so they're filling all three spots in this class.

Johnny Den Bleyker, 6-0, 200, Hayward (Calif.) Moreau Catholic- COMMITTED
Den Bleyker is now considered the No. 1 longsnapper nationally by Rubio Long Snapping and he jumped on the UCLA offer the day it was given. He'll come in with the expectation he'll start from day one taking over for Christopher Longo. The last time UCLA brought in a scholarship snapper out of high school it was Christian Yount, so it speaks to Den Bleyker's ability.

J.J. Molson, 6-0, 190, Montreal (Canada) John Abbott College- COMMITTED
Molson is the top kicker in Canada and he's ranked No. 2 by Chris Sailer Kicking for the 2016 class. He coveted a UCLA offer and took an unofficial visit to Westwood twice and raved about it. UCLA offered him earlier this month, just a couple of hours after Alabama offered him, and he spurned the Tide to go to UCLA, where he dreamed of playing.

Bailey Raborn, 5-11, 195, Lafayette (La.) St. Thomas More- COMMITTED
Raborn was at the UCLA Specialists Camp, and was offered by UCLA on Tuesday and committed on the spot. He's the No. 2 punter in the 2016 class by Chris Sailer.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories