Recruitment: Trust us -- it only feels like UCLA has been recruiting Damian Alloway for the last seven years. In actuality, this recruitment has spanned, in a serious way, from last March to now, with UCLA starting to get heavily involved right around when Alloway was actually leaning toward California. He was planning on announcing a commitment to the Bears in March, but held off in large part because of increased UCLA interest, and then there was some thought he might announce for the Bruins fairly quickly. He didn't, with Notre Dame coming into his recruitment over the summer, and there were actually points over the late summer and fall when he was probably leaning toward the Irish. The pendulum swung back to UCLA over the last month or so, and it was thought to be somewhat of a foregone conclusion that he would ultimately opt for the Bruins. With his official visit looming, Alloway announced his commitment to UCLA on Friday with a Bleacher Report video.
Evaluation: There's a lot to like about Alloway. He has very good quickness and speed which makes him a tough cover for most defensive backs. In the context of former coordinator Noel Mazzone's offense at UCLA, he'd be a great fit at slot receiver, the position that Devin Fuller and Darren Andrews have both played over the last few years.. His addition certainly helps to increase the overall speed at receiver for UCLA, and anything that increases the speed and playmaking ability at receiver is a good thing for UCLA. He has a knack for getting open quickly, and can get up to top speed in just a few steps. Alloway will need to continue to work on his hands, which aren't quite at that elite level, but from an overall speed perspective, he's a nice addition to what's turning out to be a very good receiver class for UCLA.
Impact for UCLA: UCLA is finally adding some speed to the equation at receiver, with Theo Howard and Alloway especially. It's going to be really interesting to see what happens with the offense, because that's going to dictate what Alloway's impact will be. In Mazzone's offense, a slot receiver of some sort was virtually always on the field, but it remains to be seen what Kennedy Polamalu's emphasis will be. Alloway makes the most sense as a slot receiver, with his size and quickness potentially working really well to get open quickly over the middle to provide the quarterback with an outlet. He can also do some work in the backfield off of reverses and swing passes, again, much like the way Mazzone used to use slot receivers. We wouldn't be shocked if Alloway sees the field his first year, since his speed and quickness are real assets, and then going forward, he'll compete to start in the slot from his second year on.