Recruitment: Boss Tagaloa's recruitment began when he was heading into his sophomore year in the spring of 2013, with Ole Miss offering him after a strong performance at the Nike Camp that year. The Bruins followed about six months later, with running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu extending the offer in February of 2014, giving Tagaloa his first Pac-12 offer and second overall. From that point on, the Bruins were in very good shape for him, and by December of 2014, UCLA was thought to be his leader. Defensive line coach Angus McClure, in particular, built a great relationship with Tagaloa over the last year. He has certainly flirted with some other schools, with Michigan in particular emerging as a possibility over the last few months, but it was well-accepted for a long time that, at the end of the day, he was going to be a Bruin. He ultimately signed with UCLA and spurned Michigan, which landed his very good friend Devin Asiasi.
Evaluation: Tagaloa is a powerful defensive tackle prospect with the ability to make an impact as both a run stopper and a pass rusher on the interior at the next level. Probably his best attribute is that he never takes a play off and gives a really strong effort from whistle to whistle. He could fit in at any defensive tackle position, but probably makes the most sense as a nose tackle, since he is very good at holding the point of attack and has already gotten used to handling double teams at a young age. He's a little deceptive physically, looking a little short and stout when you see him, but in actuality, he's a true 300 pounder, measuring in at 303 at the Nike Combine in Oakland last year, while also being a true 6-1. He could probably add a little more weight if need be, perhaps getting up to the 310 or so Kenneth Clark played at the last few years, but he's plenty big enough right now to play tackle at the college level. Getting into a college weight room, where he'll redefine his body, will make him a much more dynamic threat on the inside, which is going to be fun to watch.
Impact for UCLA: Tagaloa is going to compete for playing time from day one at UCLA. Right now, Eli Ankou is being projected as the starting nose tackle for next year, with Eddie Vanderdoes likely sliding in as a three-technique, but we could absolutely see Tagaloa being in the rotation at tackle next year, along with new JC DT Nick Terry. Tagaloa doesn't need to add all that much weight and strength to be college ready -- he's already about there. The big thing for him will be just learning what he can and can't do at the college level as opposed to high school, but Angus McClure has done such a good job developing defensive tackles the last few years that we think there's a pretty good chance he has Tagaloa up to speed by the start of the season next year. We'd bet on Tagaloa playing his first year, and then we'd imagine he'll be in the mix to start by his second season in the program.