The Opening Regional in the Bay Area is typically one of the bigger events of the year and that’s no different in 2016 as a bevy of UCLA targets are expected to compete this coming weekend.
We take a position-by-position look at the recruits of interest...
Jack Sears didn’t necessarily flash a couple months ago when this particular camp made its annual stop in Southern California, being outperformed by five-star Tate Martell and the fast-rising Chase Garbers. Sears, though, has had a very productive spring from a recruiting standpoint, drawing national interest and landing offers from the two Los Angeles schools, and the three-star prospect from San Clemente, Calif., heads into Sunday with some nice momentum, especially after his standout performance at the Dana Hills AirStrike passing tournament last weekend.
http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1670033-video-jac... Sears will look to punch his ticket to the Elite 11 Finals, but it likely won't be an easy task given that the likes of Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Dylan McCaffrey (Michigan), Ryan Kelley (Arizona State), Connor Neville (Washington State) and Braxton Burmeister (Arizona) are all scheduled to participate as well. It should be a great setting to gauge exactly where Sears stands among that loaded field.
Looking ahead a bit, one quarterback to watch in the 2018 class could be Colson Yankoff of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect visited UCLA during spring practice and his offer sheet already includes Boise State, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Wazzu.
Najee Harris, the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2017 class, showed off his skills in this event last year and he’s out to back up his lofty ranking. The Bruins checked on the Alabama commit earlier this week.
https://twitter.com/BrandonHuffman/status/600032059516588033 Another back to watch will be Drake Beasley, a four-star prospect from Loyola in Los Angeles. He’s rated as the No. 4 running back in the West and could be considered an option for the Bruins as they continue to feel out the position in this cycle.
Jimmy Jaggers, who has UCLA on his short list and visited campus for the spring showcase, is a big name on the list given the Bruins’ need for physical tight end in this class. Erik Krommenhoek, whose parents are UCLA grads, also holds an offer from the Bruins and has shown to be a very solid pass-catcher in various passing tournaments this offseason. It should be interesting to see how those two stack up against the likes of Stanford commits Colby Parkinson and Tucker Fisk, as well as Josh Falo, who also dropped by campus this spring.
Jamire Calvin, a three-star speedster from Los Angeles Cathedral, already has national interest but could camp with UCLA this summer, so he’s certainly worth monitoring especially in relation to recent Washington commit Alex Cook, who maintains that he will not take any additional visits.
2018 prospect Camren McDonald, tabbed as the next big thing at Long Beach Poly, already holds an offer from the Bruins and could grow into a tight end, so he's never a fun matchup for smaller defenders.
Aaron Banks and Andrew Vorhees are two headliners on the offensive line and two that have become increasingly important following the de-commitment of Will Farrar earlier in the spring. UCLA has a reputation of relentlessly pursuing Bay Area recruits, and Banks and Vorhees figure to be prime targets up north.
Jalen McKenzie, the brother of Tennessee’s Kahlil McKenzie and son of a UCLA alum, could emerge as an offer candidate, while 2018 tackle Tommy Brown of Mater Dei has drawn his share of looks recently.
UCLA commit Hunter Echols was overshadowed a bit by Jaelan Phillips in the Southern California stop three months ago, and he’ll have another chance to prove his worth alongside a tremendous group this weekend. The offensive tackles in attendance could prove to be a good test for the four-star pass-rusher.
The interior linemen group is absolutely loaded, with Greg Rogers, Popo Aumavae, Jay Tufele and Marlon Tuipulotu all slated to compete. UCLA is in pursuit of them all, but who will separate themselves in this setting?
Addison Gumbs, the No. 1 outside linebacker in the region, has the Bruins on his short list and appears to be done with his visits before announcing a decision next month. Aside from a recruiting update, it should be interesting to see how well he moves down field in coverage against some of these running backs.
Joshua Brown, brother of UCLA linebacker Jayon Brown, is another prospect that has generated some buzz this spring. And then there is Hawaiian four-star Isaac Slade-Matautia, who visited UCLA last summer and could draw a closer look in the coming months. Bishop Gorman’s Palaie Gaoteote, who added an offer from assistant Scott White earlier this month, is vying for the No. 1 spot among linebackers in the 2018 class. He has thrived in these camps before, most recently at the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio.
Four-star cornerback Elijah Gates has been great all spring in the 7-on-7 circuit and should stand out in head-to-head battles Sunday. Elijah Hicks and Jeffrey Manning are two others that could become priorities for the Bruins down the road.
At safety, four-star Chaz Ah You of Provo (Utah) Timpview has UCLA atop his list after a couple unofficial visits and he will be looking to back up his No. 1 ranking among safeties in the region. The Bruins are also in the thick of the race for three-star Trajon Cotton, who visited campus for the spring showcase.