Focus 2017: UCLA Defensive Tackle Recruiting Watch

Feb. 9 -- We take an early look at the top targets at defensive tackle for UCLA's 2017 class and some other names to know...

This will be one of the best defensive tackle classes, and frankly, one of the best defensive line classes the West has seen in a long time.

And the timing couldn't be better for UCLA, which is already heavily pursuing a ton of defensive linemen from the region.

Angus McClure may be the most underrated recruiter in the Pac-12 and certainly is one of the most underappreciated, as he's been bringing in top defensive lineman yearly since he moved to that position and his diligence on the road has landed the Bruins players like Takkarist McKinley and Chigozie Nnoruka. McClure was the only assistant coach in the country who did the homework to recognize that each of those players was eligible to transfer after their freshman years in junior college.

Speaking of McClure's diligence, several of what are now the top defensive tackles in the 2017 class were offered by UCLA last spring when they were very much under the radar. They've continued to play at a high level, validating McClure's early offer and eye for talent.

UCLA has a very real chance with Martin Andrus, who plays at Los Angeles High School, where he is coached by former Bruin receiver and assistant coach Eric Scott. Andrus has said he was a UCLA fan growing up.  Scott and McClure coached together, in fact, during the 2007 season at UCLA, with McClure coaching the tight ends and Scott the receivers, so there is that connection. McClure is either related to or knows every single person in the state north of San Luis Obispo, and he's now spreading that personal knowledge of every single person to the Southland.

Greg Rogers is another one who grew up a UCLA fan and the Bruins have long been a factor for him.  He said that the Bruins were one of his favorites growing up soon after he was offered.  UCLA was out to see him in the fall and stopped by his school during January.

Jay Tufele has a lot of Pac-12 interest and McClure and Marques Tuiasosopo, who recruits Utah, will prioritize him inside.  He's the top prospect in Utah in this class, where Tuiasosopo made his biggest impact in 2015 when he was across town.

Popo Aumavae can play on either side of the line, but most schools appear to be recruiting him on the defensive line and it looks like that is where UCLA is focusing on Aumavae playing. He's got significant interest in the Bruins too and he's starting to blossom into a big-time prospect.

Marvin Wilson is one of the nation's best prospects and has a who's who of offers. UCLA doesn't appear too high on his list at this time.  Xach Gill and Dalyn Wade-Perry are a couple of East Coasters who UCLA will likely struggle to pry from the local schools.

From the next tier, Kurtis Brown is one to keep an eye on, having played with linebacker signee Krys Barnes. He's a part of Ground Zero's Central California group, and Ground Zero is rapidly becoming a UCLA feeder.  Marlon Tuipulotu is one of the Northwest's top prospects, and UCLA did land a defensive lineman in the last class from Oregon in Osa Odighizuwa, though there was an obvious connection there.


Offered:

Martin Andrus, Los Angeles (Calif.)

Greg Rogers, Las Vegas (Nev.) Arbor View

Jay Tufele, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham

Popo Aumavae, Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's

Marvin Wilson, Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal

Xach Gill, Wake Forest (N.C.)

Dalyn Wade-Perry, Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII


Next Tier:

Marlon Tuipulotu, Independence (Ore.) Central

Kurtis Brown, Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty


Other Names to Watch:

Poni Tu'uta, 6-4, 274, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian

Noah Elliss, 6-3, 300, Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Christian

Seleti Fevaleaki, 6-2, 250, Corona (Calif.) Centennial

Gabe Cherry, 6-5, 265, Bakersfield (Calif.) Centennial

Jojo Falo, 6-2, 265, San Diego (Calif.) Madison

Bryce Brand, 6-1, 265, Concord (Calif.) Clayton Valley

Oscar Burgueno, 6-1, 250, Chino Hills (Calif.)

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