Resetting The UCLA Recruiting Needs

Jan. 22 -- We reset the recruiting needs for UCLA heading into the final two weeks before Signing Day...

With just under two weeks to go until Signing Day, here's our final look at UCLA's remanning recruiting needs in order of priority. Keep in mind, UCLA is sitting at 21 committed prospects right now, and it wouldn't be a shock to see the Bruins get all the way up to 28 or so commitments.


1) Mique Juarez -- The five-star linebacker is pretty obviously the most important remaining prospect on the board. UCLA needs an infusion of truly top-end talent at linebacker, and Juarez certainly fits that bill with his tremendous athleticism. He has the potential to fill much of the void left by the departure of Myles Jack, and anyone who saw UCLA's defense without Jack this year should understand how important Juarez is.


2) Boss Tagaloa -- Defensive tackle is always going to be a critical need, especially for a West Coast school. Tagaloa could fill in as a nose tackle for a pure 3-4 or in a 4-3, and would probably see time as a true freshman with the limited depth at the inside line positions. If UCLA really does shift to more of a 4-3, it becomes even more critical to land a player of Tagaloa's caliber.


3) Jake Raulerson -- With all of the offensive line departures this offseason, Raulerson is neck and neck with Tagaloa as the second most important remaining recruit. Assuming Raulerson commits, he'd likely slide into the starting lineup at center, which would allow Scott Quessenberry to move over to guard. That would give UCLA a line of Conor McDermott, Kenny Lacy, Raulerson, Quessenberry, and Kolton Miller -- five guys who all have substantial playing experience. UCLA would also then have a little bit of depth, with Andre James, Tevita Halalilo, and Poasi Moala looking like the likely backups.


4) Garrett Rand -- Even if UCLA winds up with Tagaloa, Rand would remain a big priority, for the very same reasons -- any time you can get a talented defensive tackle at UCLA, you do it. It's also pretty fun to imagine a defensive line that starts something like Rick Wade, Boss Tagaloa, Garrett Rand, and Jake Burton in a few years. It would be difficult to imagine teams running successfully on that sort of line with any consistency.


5) Devin Asiasi -- Obviously, with UCLA's increased emphasis on using traditional tight ends and becoming more of a pro-style offense, landing a big-time tight end becomes a key. Devin Asiasi fits that bill perfectly, with the size to be an in-line blocker but the athleticism to catch passes as well. Asiasi could probably come in and start as a true freshman, given the complete lack of true tight ends on the roster.


6) Jack "Smokescreen" Jones -- Alright, so he might very well just be a smokescreen, but that doesn't change the need, and he's a once-in-every-five years corner talent. UCLA basically always lacks a lockdown cornerback, and Jones has a chance to be an especially good one. Even if corner didn't work out, he's also a playmaking receiver, who doesn't necessarily have huge top end speed, but has exceptional quickness.


7) Brandon Burton -- If there was one big takeaway from UCLA's secondary play this year, it was the obvious need for bigger safeties. Watching UCLA's safeties bounce off of bigger running backs was one of the more frustrating things about the season. Burton is certainly a bigger safety, and if you've ever watched his high school film, he has no problem sticking his nose into the box and making tackles. With Lamar Jackson and Khaleke Hudson both moving toward being off the board, Burton is the last remaining big-time safety target on the board for UCLA.


8) Francisco Perez -- Through a wide variety of injuries, academic issues, and early departures, UCLA really doesn't have much playable depth on the offensive line. Francisco Perez, being one of the last realistic options for UCLA on the offensive line this year, thus becomes a pretty critical get. Perez is pretty much a pure guard, but he's a talented one, with a good mean streak.


9) Aaron Hansford -- Having seen a good amount of Hansford on film, it seems pretty clear that he's an under-rated talent. There aren't too many guys as big as he is (probably in the 6'2, 210 to 220 pound range) who can move as well as he does. As of now, he wants to be a big receiver, and we can absolutely see it, and that would fill a big need for UCLA, since the Bruins need replacements for both Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte. If receiver didn't work out, though, he could probably project as a future starter at linebacker. In terms of big athletes, he might be second to only Juarez on this list.


10) Thaddeus Moss -- Speaking of under-rated players, Moss certainly fits that mold as well. He shows up really well on film, and could be a dynamic, pass-catching tight end for UCLA's new pro-style offense. If that didn't work out, he also has the frame and athleticism to be a pretty special defensive end.


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