Focus 2017: UCLA Cornerback Recruiting

Feb. 12 -- We take an early look at the top targets at cornerback for UCLA's 2017 class and some other names to know...

UCLA needs to land one true, pure, elite lockdown cornerback in the 2017 class. It might be one of the biggest priorities in the class.

Fortunately, this is a pretty good year for corners, and the West's best corner, in fact, the nation's top cornerback, Darnay Holmes, has UCLA on his short list and has a long history with defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin. Holmes' father, former NFL running back Darick Holmes, was a childhood friend and teammate of Martin.  Holmes has offers from all over, and his top seven had four Pac-12 schools plus Nebraska, Alabama and Ohio State, so UCLA will have to work for him. Holmes will announce in June.

UCLA is on the short list for Deommodore Lenoir, whose teammate, Rahyme Johnson, has already committed. Early on, UCLA was the obvious leader for Lenoir, but he's starting to attract national attention.  

Jaylon Redd is another guy UCLA went in on early and the Bruins are doing well with him.  

His Rancho Cucamonga teammate Thomas Graham committed to USC last summer, but he opened things up a bit last month.  His sister runs track at USC, but he also played on Ground Zero, which had six players sign with the Bruins for 2016. It's still expected that he'll eventually sign with USC, but the door is open a bit.

The next tier of corners out West is pretty strong, but if UCLA were to pivot after the first group of corners, the Bruins might look nationally. Texas corner Javelin Guidry has an obvious history with UCLA, with his father and uncle both having played for the Bruins in the 1990s.  Guidry doesn't have an offer yet, but he camped with the Bruins last summer.  And, yes, it should make you feel old that UCLA is recruiting Charles O'Bannon Jr. and Javelin Guidry Jr., in their respective sports.

There's another UCLA legacy corner that the Bruins will keep an eye on: Jaylon Johnson, the younger but bigger brother of current Bruin corner Johnny Johnson.

Oregon native Elijah Molden has tremendous bloodlines too, his father a former NFL first round pick and all-American at Oregon, but the Ducks and Stanford are his top two, so UCLA hasn't really pursued him much.

In fact, these are the days of Elijah out West, with three other corners UCLA will monitor: Elijah GatesElijah Blades and Elijah Hicks.

Keith Taylor is committed to Washington but he was teammates with Keyon Riley and went to a ton of UCLA practices last spring. Taylor said at the time that UCLA was probably his favorite school, so at some point the Bruins could offer and give him a local option.


Offered:

Darnay Holmes

Deommodore Lenoir

Jaylon Redd

D.J. Brown

Thomas Graham


Next Tier:

Elijah Molden, West Linn (Ore.)

Jaylon Johnson, Fresno (Calif.) Central

Elijah Gates, Buena Park (Calif.)

Javelin Guidry, Leander (Texas) Cedar Park

Keith Taylor, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite

Elijah Blades, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral


Other Names to Watch:

Elijah Hicks, 5-10, 170, La Mirada (Calif.)

Tre White, 5-11, 170, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle

Jalen Cole, 5-9, 150, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

Tayari Venable, 5-11, 175, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.)


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