Focus 2017: UCLA Running Back Recruiting Watch

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

Despite a banner year at the running back position in 2014, both nationally and regionally, the last two classes have been fairly pedestrian, especially in the West.

The 2017 class isn't particularly loaded either, though it is a bit top-heavy, with the No. 1 player in the country, Najee Harris, from the West.

In fact, the West's top two backs are both committed, Harris to Alabama and Stephen Carr to USC.

Harris has been committed to Alabama for nearly a year. But UCLA is not even close to giving up, with both Kennedy Polamalu and Marques Tuiasosopo recruiting him as well as Angus McClure, who has been on him for over a year. There has long been speculation that Harris would not end up at Alabama, and would be much more likely to stay close to home.

Carr committed to USC last spring, but he recently decided to soften his commitment, and while it is unlikely he'll end up anywhere but USC, he does play for Ground Zero, which saw six of his teammates sign with UCLA in 2016, including his prep teammate, Damian Alloway.

Beasley was a freshman when Polamalu was coaching at Loyola and he's the only other in-state back with an offer. He is a four-star back who is talented in his own right, but just happens to be in the shadows of Harris and Carr, the top two backs in the country, 

Simmons is from Ann Arbor and already a priority for Michigan, so UCLA will have to work hard for him.

Lemons, a Florida native, could be tough to pull out of SEC country, and the same can be said for Jordan-Swilling.

Signing both Brandon Stephens and Jalen Starks does make getting a running back less of a burden, with Stephens' 11th hour addition a big boon, so UCLA likely only needs to prioritize landing one back in this class.


Offered:

Najee Harris, Antioch (Calif.)

Stephen Carr, Fontana (Calif.) Summit

Drake Beasley, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola

Antjuan Simmons, Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer

Adarius Lemons, Clearwater (Fla.)

Bruce Jordan-Swilling, New Orleans (La.) Brother Martin


Next Tier:

Marcus McElroy, Denver (Colo.) Mullen

Montell Bland (Calif.) Central Catholic


Other Names to Watch:

Chris Brooks, 5-9, 170, Newbury Park (Calif.)

Tyler Nevens, 5-11, 190, Hacienda Heights (Calif.) Los Altos

Biaggio Ali-Walsh, 5-10, 180, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman


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