With the release of the initial Scout 300 rankings for the 2018 class, we take a closer look at the many recruits UCLA is already involved with.
The local prospect is the only five-star wide receiver in the class up to this point and the Bruins jumped into the chase with a scholarship offer in 2014. Jalen Hall, a tall yet explosive wideout, holds over 30 offers, so there figures to be plenty of competition for his signature, with USC rumored to be the early frontrunner.
The No. 2-rated cornerback in the 2018 class, Tyreke Johnson has visited UCLA in the past and is very high on the Bruins. Johnson has good size and the versatility to move around in the secondary thanks to tremendous cover skills. UCLA, as it stands now, should be considered a real player to pull this defensive back out of Florida.
The highest-rated four-star prospect in the class for now, Palaie Gaoteote is a standout on a talented Bishop Gorman defense, with the ability to make some impact tackle inside the box but also the athleticism to cover tight ends and track down ball carriers in the flats. The Bruins have prioritized him early, with Gaoteote telling Scout.com recently that assistant coach Scott White has him No. 1 on his board for 2018, and a visit could take place at some point this coming season. This is shaping up to be a UCLA-USC battle early on.
White was selective in sending out offers in the 2018 class and Teradja Mitchell was one of the first. He shows tremendous instincts on film, reading and reaction quickly and showing good tackling ability with the coverage skills to move around a bit. At the time of the UCLA offer, Mitchell said he was highly interested in taking the trip west to check out the school in person.
The Bruins have been considered an early leader for Jaiden Woodbey, the top-rated safety in the Southland for his class. He has good size and roams the secondary while showing good play recognition, turning to defend against the deep ball but also dropping into the box to make tackles. Woodbey comes from two programs that UCLA has recently had success recruiting -- St. John Bosco and 7-on-7 power Ground Zero -- so there is thought that Demetrice Martin has a good shot when the four-star announces in December.
T.J. Pledger visited UCLA for its Bruin Elite Camp last week and spent considerable time chatting with the coaches and other recruits, namely good friend Kanan Ray. The speedy running back might not be very big in stature but he's very explosive out of the backfield and has shown the ability to wiggle his way through traffic. He camed with the Bruins last summer and had been hoping for an offer since then, and it's believed that UCLA is definitely among the favorites early on.
Regarded as the top recruit in the San Diego area in his class, Isaac Taylor has the frame that Martin has typically targeted in his time as an assistant. Taylor visited campus during the spring to check out the Bruins in practice, and he told Scout at the time he thoroughly enjoyed his trip and walking around the campus. He shows good ball skills and his length really bothers receivers on the perimeter.
The top tight end in the land for 2018, four-star Brevin Jordan battled through a hip injury at UCLA's camp last week but still managed to show well. He has natural pass-catching ability and moves fluidly through his cuts, and he's shown some improvement as a blocker as he aims to become more well rounded at the position. UCLA is his dream school and, with teammate and lifelong friend Dorian Thompson-Robinson now holding an offer, the Bruins are sitting in great position.
The son of West Coast rapper Warren G, Olaijah Griffin had a really productive spring evaluation period on the 7-on-7 circuit. He can be physical near the line of scrimmage, bumping receivers off their routes to disrupt timing, but he also can stay with quicker wideouts down field to negate passes. The Bruins were in on him early and he visited campus a couple times during the spring to check out practice.
Solomon Tuliaupupu showed up to Bruin Elite Camp with a duffle bag in tow but was unable compete in front of White. Still, the physical outside linebacker landed the coveted UCLA offer and has established a good relationship with White in the early going. Tuliaupupu could eventually grow into a hybrid 'backer and has the versatility to do several things in the box.
Mustapha Muhammad traveled from Texas to compete at UCLA's camp last week despite already holding an offer, so that should be indicative of his interest in the Bruins. He is a bit raw as a prospect, looking somewhat hesitant as a route runner, but he has good size and has two years to develop at the position.
A few weeks ago Cameron Rising visited UCLA's campus and came away with a scholarship offer. He's an athletic, heady quarterback, who is accurate and really extend plays with his feet and mobility. We know he likes UCLA quite a bit, and UCLA is hoping that he and Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who now has an offer, will work to pressure each other into an early commitment.
Utah's top linemen in the 2018 class, Penei Sewell has stood out in every event he has competed in the last year. He was dominant at PrimeTime Polynesian's "The Kumite" event in Norco this past spring, looking athletic in pass protection, and followed that up with an impressive showing in full pads at the All Poly Camp. UCLA was his first offer and Sewell said that would carry some weight as he continues to add to his options.
After transferring to IMG Academy in Florida, Brian Hightower has returned home to Southern California a few times to compete alongside his former Calabasas teammates in events. He stopped by UCLA last week during its elite camp and the Bruins would be an intriguing option if he decided to return to the West Coast for college. Hightower is a talented playmaker with a good feel for route running and finding ways to get open.
Quick and shifty at the slot position, Eric Fuller was very impressive at USC's Rising Stars Camp and landed an offer from the Trojans thanks to his performance. He has good speed, good hands and the ability to make defenders miss in open space. Eric Yarber offered earlier in the spring and should be considered a factor moving forward.
One of the more physical corners out West in the 2018 class, Bookie Radley-Hiles plays with a chip on his shoulder and makes it difficult for receivers in the first 10 yards. He's got some athleticism, too, which allows him to make plays on the football when it approaches. UCLA was a big offer early on and Radley-Hiles, formerly of Bishop Gorman, has previously said the Bruins were at the top of his list.
The next in line at powerhouse Long Beach Poly, Camren McDonald has grown into a tight end but maintained his fluidity and pass-catching ability. He is strong and physical, allowing him to box out defenders up the middle, and has proven to be a threat near the goal line. The Bruins offered early, but that hasn't been a determining factor at Poly before.
UCLA just offered Dorian Thompson-Robinson after their Elite Camp last week. DTR has publicly said UCLA was his favorite school, so it was a big offer for him, especially after some other big programs have offered previously. He's really close with Bishop Gorman TE Brevin Jordan, a UCLA offeree, and the thought is that the two of them will be a UCLA package, and perhaps sooner than later. DTR hasn't played much at Bishop Gorman, sitting behind the #1 QB in the nation for 2017, Tate Martell, but he's earned offers by looking exceptional in camps, with a very strong arm, accuracy, a great body and athleticism.
Tommy Brown made the trip to campus to compete at UCLA's linemen camp last week and walked away with a scholarship offer. He has a big frame that still has room to develop, and he showed really good footwork to keep defenders in front of him during drills. His father competed in track and field at Alabama and an offer from the Crimson Tide would be big, but the Bruins should have a chance at one of the better tackles in the region.
Trevor Trout is massive already, with power and strength to move offensive linemen out of his way. He still has a bit of learning to do from a technique standpoint, but his quickness and savvy are evident on tape. UCLA is the only West Coast program to extend an offer up to this point, with Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska considered the early favorites.
Tuli Letuligasenoa burst onto the scene for De La Salle last season in its out-of-region game in Texas, showing strength to clog up traffic on numerous occasions. His motor runs high and he plays for one of the nation's most well-known high school programs, so he should get plenty of exposure in the coming season as his junior season progresses. UCLA is the only offer up to this point and, with Boss Tagaloa on campus, Angus McClure hopes to reel in another top linemen from DLS.
Jaelen Gill is a long, lean running back who could play slot as well. He has breakaway ability and is smooth, elusive and shows good acceleration to burst through holes. He visited campus this past spring and saw the Bruins practice, and UCLA is among the top eight early on.
Another coveted Gardena Serra prospect, Merlin Robertson is a big hitter who plays with aggression at the linebacker position. He still has a ways to go in pass coverage, but he makes up for that with his ability to shed blockers and get into the backfield. UCLA was an early offer.
There is never a shortage of quarterbacks out West and Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany's Brevin White headlines four signal callers in the Scout 300. We've been watching White, No. 111 nationally, since he was in Junior High and feel he has a very nice upside to him. He's solid mechanically, very accurate with all his throws, has good pocket mobility and is a very tough kid. ASU, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State have offered White. He participated in UCLA's Camp last week, and he comes from a UCLA family.
It's not easy for true centers to be ranked as high as Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral's Justin Dedich but we think he has a chance to be a very special player down the road. Dedich checks in at No. 131 nationally after a great off-season. The lineman has dominated at every camp he attended and shows up very well on film as well. Colorado, Nevada, UCLA and UNLV have all offered and we're expecting that list to hit double digits early this season if not sooner.
A familiar name to the Scout 300 is Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton linebacker Salua Masina. Masina's older brother Osa Masina was a five-star recruit just two years ago and is now a sophomore at USC. The younger Masina is actually bigger at the same stage and could grow in to a pass rushing defensive end down the road. BYU, Colorado, UCLA, USC and Utah are just a few of his offers and you can expect he'll have all the national programs after him soon enough.
Jack Tuttle has really come on strong in the last year and raised his game considerably. He's a pro-style, pocket passer who can get the ball out on time and is decisive with his reads. He has a big frame that he'll grow in to and he's only scratching the surface of how good he'll be. UCLA hasn't offered yet, but he had a great showing at its camp this week, while he does have offers from LSU, Nebraska, Wisconsin and most of the Pac-12.
Christian Tutt is a growing corner who showed great cover skills at USC's camp last summer, keeping up with receivers down the sideline but also making a few plays underneath. Tutt has said he would not have any problem transitioning to the West Coast, and the Bruins will continue to monitor him after extending an offer very early.
A very big body, at 6-4 and 310, but he moved surprisingly well at UCLA's Camp, showing good quickness and foot speed. UCLA DL coach Angus McClure offered him right after the camp, and it's Mykee Irving's first scholarshp offer. Irving has said UCLA is a childhood favorite and the Bruins getting in their offer first should have a big impact.
The fairly unknown prospect came to UCLA's Elite Camp last week and was so good UCLA offensive coordinator and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu offered him as a result. Chris Brown measured at 6-0.5 and 190, was well put-together, and moved really well in the drills. He's the type of big, physical back that Polamalu likes. Brown has an offer from Utah, too, and it's pretty much inevitable that other programs are going to jump on board, so it was great that UCLA got their offer in early.
The son of a former NFL cornerback by the same name, Asante Samuel Jr. obviously has the bloodlines and he backs it up on the field. He has good ball skills and doesn't get fooled by receivers very often. The Bruins recently offered, but there are several other national programs also making a push.
Nikko Remigio camped with the Bruins last week and landed an offer shortly thereafter. There isn't a major need for slot receivers in the 2017 class, but it's a different case in 2018 and Remigio is one of the best in the area at that spot. He has a good feel for getting open early in his route and has a reliable set of hands. UCLA could be considered one of the early favorites.
The younger brother of UCLA fullback Ainuu Taua, Toa Taua has two-way potential but also might project as a power back, F-back type at the next level. The Bruins have yet to offer but should continue to pay close attention after he camped with them last week and has been a steady performer the first two years of high school.