Pylon 7-on-7: Evaluating UCLA Offensive Targets

Mar. 8 -- There were plenty of UCLA targets in attendance at the Pylon Elite 7-on-7 tournament in Las Vegas over the weekend. Check out our evaluations for the prospects on the offensive side of the ball...

There were plenty of UCLA targets in attendance at the Pylon Elite 7-on-7 tournament in Las Vegas over the weekend. Check out our evaluations for the prospects on the offensive side of the ball...


• Despite not being surrounded by as much talent as some other quarterbacks in the event, Tua Tagovailoa shined. The lefty from Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis guided his squad to a deep tournament run by making throws of all lengths. He made quick decisions and got the ball out fast, using a short delivery without sacrificing any velocity. Tagovailoa showed a good feel for longer throws but also the touch necessary to fit passes between defenders. He looked comfortable on throws to the perimeter, as well. It wasn’t the setting for him to show off his running ability but, given his strong build, looked capable of being a threat with his legs. On the recruiting front, Tagovailoa could visit UCLA and USC while he’s in Los Angeles this coming weekend, but he admitted the Trojans still hold an edge for his commitment.

 • As the situation with Tagovailoa becomes clearer, it appears new quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo might have to start lining up some backup options. There were a couple other candidates in Vegas that could garner a closer look from the Bruins. Nick Sipe of Villa Park, Calif., was very consistent and, at 6-foot-4, has the frame to put on some good weight. He displayed one of the stronger arms in the event, zipping the ball to his receivers despite throwing into a heavy wind. While others’ throws fluttered, Sipe’s did not. Three-star Chase Garbers Garbers was another standout, following up his invite to the Elite 11 with a solid showing in Vegas. He had good timing with his receivers and, like Tagovailoa, was impressive in his decision-making and execution. Four-star Connor Neville from Wilsonville, Ore., also had some great moments, looking poised in the pocket and leading his throws so his targets could catch the ball in stride. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the backup at Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, led his own 7-on-7 team and, at times, looked like a potential future five-star prospect. The ball just jumps out of his hand.

Connor Neville (Nike)


• There isn’t much running backs can do in the 7-on-7 setting so five-star prospect Najee Harris played a lot of wide receiver over the weekend and, though he didn’t necessarily struggle, he’s clearly more of a weapon coming out of the backfield. Harris has great size and speed, and matches up well with defenders in open space. He is decisive when he has the ball in his hands and makes would-be tacklers miss, even with the one-hand touch rule. The Alabama commit plans to stop by UCLA this coming weekend.

Stephen Carr had another good showing at an event, doing a bit more stuff out of the backfield than Harris. He has a tremendous burst and plenty of wiggle for a prospect his size, reminiscent of a mini Royce Freeman from a few years back. He remains a soft pledge to USC. West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade running back T.J. Pledger showed why he is considered one of Southern California’s top 2018 prospects. He has superb speed and pass-catching ability, proving to be a nightmare for linebackers that tried to cover him in open space.


Michael Onyemaobi is listed as an athlete due to his ability as a defensive back, but he did well at receiver throughout the weekend. He is quick off the line of scrimmage and demonstrated a good feel for running routes, particularly in finding the soft spots in zone coverage to make things easier for his quarterback. He might not blow away recruiters with one superb trait but he is a solid, well-rounded athlete.

• The Bruins have already gone to Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral to snag commitments from two prospects and a third, Jamire Calvin, is definitely intriguing. Calvin has been on a bit of a roll on the recruiting front, with recent offers from BYU, Missouri, Northwestern, Louisville and Memphis, and also earned an invite to USC’s Elite Junior Day last month. He was unguardable at receiver and, once he had the ball in his hands, was difficult to track down. He’s on the smaller side but should deserve a look.

• 2018 wide receiver Camren McDonald is next at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. He’s long, physical and fluid, and proved to be a real force inside the red zone. McDonald might grow into a tight end but should be a nice fit there if he maintains his flexibility. He even played some linebacker and looked very comfortable there. UCLA was offer No. 1 last fall after Jim Mora saw him in action as a sophomore early in the season.


• Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum tight end Josh Falo made a couple spectacular catches in the back of the end zone, going up to get the football over a couple defenders and coming down with his feet in bounds. He has good body control and runs well for a guy his size. UCLA, though, doesn’t appear to be much of a factor in his recruitment at the moment despite jumping into the chase early with an offer. Tucker Fisk, a Stanford legacy who camped with UCLA last summer, committed to the Cardinal recently. He looked much bigger than he did at the Bruins’ camp and might actually grow into a lineman.

Brevin Jordan, the 2018 prospect from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, once again popped out as a route runner. He wore a pair of UCLA gloves and indicated the Bruins continue to hold an edge despite not yet holding an offer.

• Keep tabs on tight end Erik Krommenhoek, a 6-foot-5, 237-pound prospect from Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista. He was a standout on one of Maurice Jones-Drew’s teams and, with both his parents have graduated from UCLA, said the Bruins are a dream program. He has a handful of offers (Harvard, Nevada, UNLV and Wyoming), but he’s visiting Oregon State soon and could start to make the rounds across the Pac-12.


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