Focus 2017: UCLA Quarterbacks Recruiting Watch

Feb. 8 -- We take an early look at the top targets at quarterback for UCLA's 2017 class and some other names to know...

UCLA's recruiting struggles at the quarterback position overall for the past few years have been much discussed.

Really, with the exception of Josh Rosen in 2015, recruiting the quarterback position was often aimless and sometimes without much purpose.

Even the 2016 quarterback class was a bit helter skelter, with the staff scrambling when Devon Modster committed to Arizona initially.

They were fortunate to land Matt Lynch and then also add Dymond Lee for depth, though we still think Lee's ceiling is much, much higher at receiver.

But quarterback recruiting started to show real signs of life when Modster decommitted from Arizona and ultimately picked with UCLA.

The timing, though, was predicated on a couple of things. First, the Mazzones left Westwood, and departing with them was their curious recruiting "strategy". Second, UCLA hired Marques Tuiasopopo, the former Bruin assistant who had been at USC the past two years and had a reputation as a tremendous recruiter, having been Scout's Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year in 2015.

Almost instantly, Tuiasosopo went to work, shoring up the quarterback position by getting on Modster, getting him in for a visit and then earning a commitment from the four-star.

Now, with two true quarterbacks signed in the 2016 class, UCLA's depth chart has some promise, with Rosen and Mike Fafaul being joined by two legitimate full-time quarterbacks in Modster and Lynch as well as by Lee, who's still a wild card.

Moving forward, though, the future might be the most exciting thing for UCLA fans. The addition of Tuiasosopo absolutely gives UCLA's quarterback recruiting a huge jolt.

UCLA has a quarterbacks coach now in Tuiasosopo who a) likes to recruit and b) is good at recruiting.

So that should make quarterback recruiting less frenzied and more purposeful.  And Tuiasosopo is already paying some dividends in the 2017 class.

Tuiasosopo has a longstanding relationship with Tua Tagovailoa, who will likely be UCLA's top target at the position.  The two are very close, and one of the main reasons USC was so high on Tagovailoa and vice versa was because of their relationship.  Now that Tuiasosopo is in Westwood, that helps the Bruins tremendously.

Though the Bruins are still trying with Dylan McCaffrey, Michigan appears to be the leader for him right now, and he was more of a priority for the Mazzones than the program as a whole.

The only other quarterback they've offered is Davis Mills, who is a national prospect, but he, too, was more of a Mazzone recruit.

From the quarterbacks they haven't offered, we could see Jack Sears being the next guy to get an offer, though Tagovailoa still appears to be the top candidate for UCLA. Sears is an intriguing prospect and San Clemente's two previous quarterbacks were a four-year starter in the Pac-12 in Travis Wilson and then Sam Darnold, who will contend for the starting job at USC this fall.  Many feel that Sears, actually, is the best prospect of all of the San Clemente products, especially at the same point in their development.  He's already starting to see an increase in interest from many colleges, so we'll see if UCLA will wait until the eval period to offer or if they end up offering beforehand to stay in the mix.

The previous staff was interested in Gebbia but didn't recruit him all that hard, and while he's a Southland native who likes the local schools, he's not considering either all that much at this point. He's already named his top five, which only included schools that had offered him.  Should either of the local schools offer, though, that could put them right in the mix for him.


Offered:

Tua Tagovailoa, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis

Dylan McCaffrey, Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Christian

Davis Mills, Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian


Next Tier:

Jack Sears, San Clemente (Calif.)

Tristan Gebbia, Calabasas (Calif.)


Other Names to Know:

Tyler Lytle, 6-5, 195, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite

Chase Garbers, 6-3, 210, Corona Del Mar (Calif.)

Sean O'Malley, 6-2, 190, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola

Braxton Burmeister, 6-1, 195, La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day


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