UCLA Football Recruiting Reset: Defense

July 27 -- With the summer camp cycle done, fall practice nearing its start and the season on the horizon, we reset UCLA's defensive recruiting board...

The best way to describe the 2017 recruiting cycle to date is interesting.

UCLA has more decommitments (five) than commitments (four) just a couple weeks before fall practice starts.

For a school that finished in the top ten of the Scout rankings on Signing Day three times in the last four years, the old adage 'it's a marathon, not a sprint' should apply.

But momentum is definitely not wearing blue and gold right now.  

We addressed it last week in the State of Recruiting story, and then the same day, UCLA lost its fifth verbal, from a player that said UCLA was his dream school.

Defensively, UCLA's class has two commitments, but four of the five decommits have come on defense.

With just a little more than six months until National Signing Day, we reset the defensive recruiting board.


DEFENSIVE TACKLES (2)

This will be one of the best defensive tackle classes, and frankly, one of the best defensive line classes the West has seen in a long time. And the timing couldn't be better for UCLA, which is already heavily pursuing a ton of defensive linemen from the region. Angus McClure may be the most underrated recruiter in the Pac-12 and certainly is one of the most underappreciated, as he's been bringing in top defensive linemen yearly since he moved to that position and his diligence on the road has landed the Bruins some under-the-radar players like Takkarist McKinley and Chigozie Nnoruka. McClure was the only assistant coach in the country who did the homework to recognize that each of those players was eligible to transfer after their freshman year in junior college. UCLA held off Nebraska, who tried to bring McClure back to Lincoln where he was a one-time assistant. Stepping up to pay him and secure him in Westwood will help with defensive line recruiting moving forward. Speaking of McClure's diligence, several of what are now the top defensive tackles in the 2017 class were offered by UCLA last spring when they were very much under the radar. They've continued to play at a high level, validating McClure's early offer and eye for talent. UCLA would be happy with two standout DTs in this class, but if a third elite guy wanted to jump in the boat they wouldn't turn him down. 

Top Targets:

Greg Rogers, Las Vegas (Nev.) Arbor View

Rogers has named a top six, but everything we've heard indicates its really a top two, with USC and UCLA.  And both schools go back and forth as the favorite.  Where it once looked like he might make an early decision, we expect this one to drag out for a while, and he'll likely take visits elsewhere but we still think it will be a Los Angeles story for him.  He visited UCLA the week after The Opening and there was a thought he'd just visit UCLA. Then he ended up visiting USC and the Trojans may have edged ahead ever so slightly.  This will be one of the roller coaster recruitments between the two between now and Signing Day.

Martin Andrus, Los Angeles (Calif.)

UCLA has been doing well with Andrus, who plays at Los Angeles High School, where he is coached by former Bruin receiver and assistant coach Eric Scott. Andrus has said he was a UCLA fan growing up. Scott and McClure coached together, in fact, during the 2007 season at UCLA, with McClure coaching the tight ends and Scott the receivers, so there is that connection.  He is also expected to visit UCLA unofficially this week.

Popo Aumavae, Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's

Aumavae can play on either side of the line, but most schools appear to be recruiting him on the defensive line and that is where UCLA is focusing on Aumavae playing. He's got significant interest in the Bruins too and he's starting to blossom into a big-time prospect with nearly 20 offers, but the Bruins and McClure are on his very short list with Michigan, Oregon and USC.  Some schools like Aumavae as an offensive lineman but he wants to play defense so UCLA is continuing to pursue him for that side of the ball.

Noah Elliss, Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Christian

The son of the former Detroit Lions and Utah defensive lineman, Elliss was offered by UCLA in March and the Bruins have somewhat of a chance with him, though he too is a national recruit now. Originally from Utah, his father is now on the Denver Broncos staff, which prompted the move to Colorado, but the Utes have made him a heavy priority and have the legacy ties.  Elliss visited UCLA in June and enjoyed his visit. He also visited USC and then he's got national attention from schools like Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Nebraska.  And Michigan has a commitment from his teammate, Dylan McCaffrey, and are watching him.  Academics could be a sticking point for UCLA with Elliss. 

Jay Tufele, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham

Tufele has a lot of Pac-12 interest and McClure and Marques Tuiasosopo, who recruits Utah, will prioritize him inside. He's the top prospect in Utah in this class, where Tuiasosopo made his biggest impact in 2015 when he was across town. Tufele has been offered by Ohio State and Michigan so he's gone national and he's also the focus of Utah and BYU.  USC has also been prominently mentioned with Tufele but McClure is still trying hard with Tufele and he was in Utah on the last day of the evaluation period at Tufele's school.  The Bruins appear to be on the outside looking in for Tufele, but it isn't because of effort.

Marlon Tuipulotu, Independence (Ore.) Central

Tuipulotu pretty much shocked everyone when he committed to Washington in April.  He had been mentioning UCLA, USC, Michigan and Notre Dame most prominently outside of home-state Oregon, but an unofficial visit to Washington landed the Huskies a big verbal.  That said, there is still talk that Tuipulotu could move back to Los Angeles (he lived in the Southland before he moved to Oregon in high school), and if he does, in fact, move back to L.A., expect USC and UCLA to be all over him.  They still will be in the meantime.  In fact, McClure was in Oregon on the last day of the eval period after seeing Tufele in the morning, making Central his final stop before the end of the eval period to see Tuipulotu.  Tuipulotu could also be visiting UCLA unofficially this week.

Dalyn Wade-Perry, Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII

Wade-Perry named his top eight last month and UCLA made the cut, one of only two Pac-12 schools on the list (along with Stanford).  Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley visited Wade-Perry's school during the eval period and he cited the school's academics when pointing out why they made his top eight and he plans to get out to Westwood for a visit.

Xach Gill, Wake Forest (N.C.)

Gill continues to mention UCLA prominently and plans to take an unofficial visit before the end of the summer and could return for an official visit.  He told Scout that UCLA, North Carolina, NC State and Mississippi State are the schools he talks with most frequently, speaking with the Bruin coaches weekly.  The home state schools, NC State and North Carolina, though, continue to be in a good spot for him.

Damion Daniels, Dallas (Texas) Bishop Dunne

The Dallas native released his top 12 in mid-June and UCLA made it with two other Pac-12 schools, Colorado and USC.  He still has a few more list cuts to go, but the Bruins are staying on him and hope to get him on campus for a visit.  He camped with Texas last weekend and Iowa also is on his short list.

Other Names to Watch:

Marvin Wilson, 6-4, 309, Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal- Offered

Deiontae Watts, Plano (Texas) East- Offered


DEFENSIVE ENDS (2)

Like with tackles, this is a very good defensive end class out West, the No. 1 defensive end in the country from California. At one point, UCLA had commitments from the top two defensive ends in the West, but that changed last week when Hunter Echols decommitted.  Still, the best defensive end in the class is Jaelan Phillips and he's rock solid to the Bruins.  But UCLA will still pursue a second end and could continue to pursue Echols.

Top Targets:

Jaelan Phillips, Redlands (Calif.) East Valley- COMMITTED

Phillips, the No. 1 defensive end in the country, is another prospect that UCLA identified early and had been on for some time. His family is all Bruin and that ended up paying off huge when Phillips picked UCLA this spring.  He had blown up nationally, with offers from a number of SEC powers, including Alabama, and Stanford, who usually gets the better end against UCLA in head-to-head duals, was pretty confident that Phillips would head to The Farm.  Instead, he chose his childhood favorite and UCLA got him as he continued his ascension up the rankings, culminating with him moving in to the top spot after a very good week at The Opening, where he was a Final Five defensive lineman.

Hunter Echols, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral

Echols committed to UCLA the day after Signing Day, signaling a dream come true for the lifelong Bruin fan.  But few players enjoy the recruiting process like Echols.  He released a top ten, despite being committed to UCLA.  He would say he's solid then talk about other schools glowingly, took numerous unofficials and camped with other schools, all while saying he was recruiting for UCLA.  So it was little surprise that last week, Echols decommitted from the Bruins and since then, a number of different schools have been linked to him as "the favorite".  UCLA will likely stay on Echols because he's the caliber of player that should continue to get recruited.  That said, it also wouldn't be a surprise if they tire of his antics and choose to go their separate ways.  Essentially, the ball is in Echols' court.  UCLA would love to bring him in without any drama and pair him with Phillips, which would make for a pretty good 1-2 punch.  But it's uncertain at this point how hard they'll pursue him given the last couple weeks. If UCLA stays on him, we could see Echols having his fun with his recruitment and taking his visits, but then ultimately wanting to be back in L.A., and it wouldn't surprise if it came down to UCLA and USC. 

K'lavon Chaisson, Galena Park (Texas) North Shore

Chaisson was very good at The Opening and was on the Scout Super Team Defense.  He has a top ten that includes UCLA and he comes from the same school that current Bruin Najee Toran prepped at (of course, also the same school that Zach Whitley is from).  While UCLA may have a little more work to do, without Echols committed, the Bruins could have a shot at Chaisson.

D.J. Johnson, Sacramento (Calif.) Luther Burbank

Johnson camped with UCLA last summer after his sophomore year and was offered that day and is now one of the most heavily pursued players in the West, with over 50 offers. UCLA was his very first offer and he told Scout that they would always be on his short list because of that. But he named a top ten last week that didn't include the Bruins.  In fact, it didn't include one in-state school. Then he committed to Miami on Monday.  UCLA will probably still recruit him, but his commitment and seemingly desire to get out of California plus Echols' decommitment made for a tough couple days opposite Phillips.

Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls (Pa.)

Much of Jeter's attention is coming from Big Ten country, including Penn State and Michigan and Notre Dame is also pursuing him but the Bruins are the lone West Coast school on his short list and Tom Bradley has recruited his area forever.  Jeter told Scout at the end of May that he's in frequent contact with UCLA, though not quite like he is with six others, but maintains that UCLA is very much a candidate for him.

Next Tier to Watch:

Aliki Vimahi, Kahuku (Hawaii)

Vimahi camped with UCLA but just happened to be at a position that looked to be a logjam with Phillips and Echols.  But with Echols opening things up, UCLA could decide to take a closer look at Vimahi.  The beginning of his senior season could be crucial for him in hopes of landing a Bruin offer.

Victor Jones, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum

Jones is teammates with two UCLA targets, defensive back Trajon Cotton and tight end Josh Falo and he took an unofficial visit to UCLA in March and again in April and said an offer would go a long way for him. He's a good student too.  He named a top six this month but if he does well this fall and there is room, UCLA could keep an eye on him.

Other Names to Watch:

Alden Tofa, 6-4, 255, West Jordan (Utah)

Jordan Jackson, 6-3, 233, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd


LINEBACKERS (3)

Thanks to the strong efforts of Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year Scott White, UCLA signed the No. 2 linebacker in the country and locked up the No. 1 outside 'backer in the country in Mique Juarez and the West's top two insider backers in Lokeni Toailoa and Krys Barnes. So linebacker recruiting isn't an issue at all under White and in fact is a strength. So now that White has that under his belt, expect him to at least duplicate that effort in 2017. 

Top Targets:

Addison Gumbs, (OLB), Oakland (Calif.) Stellar Prep

Gumbs is an intriguing player, playing at a small school in the Bay Area, where he's been extremely productive. We saw him two years ago on the camp and 7v7 circuit and he's grown a ton since then. UCLA saw what they needed on film, offered him and immediately made an impression on him to the point they're on his very short list. Interestingly, he played on the same 7v7 team with Bolu Olorunfunmi when he was a sophomore.  He's already visited UCLA twice this spring, and after that visit there was an indication he was strongly leading UCLA's way. He also said that he'd be making a decision in June, then pushed it to the week of The Opening and yet here we are in late July and he's still not committed anywhere.  Like with Jack Sears, there is now a concern that if UCLA was the leader, why hasn't he committed.  The Bruins still appear to be the pick, if and when he decides, but the longer it drags out, the more worrisome it gets.

Baron Browning, (OLB), Kennedale (Texas)

Browning was a commit to Baylor but opened up things and UCLA is very much in the mix for him. He was hoping to get out to UCLA by the end of summer, but the Bruins will also have to battle a number of national programs who want the five-star on campus. Even when he was committed to Baylor, he was staying in steady communication with the Bruin coaches, however. We've heard Browning is one of those Texas kids who might not stay in the state for college, and that he has connections in Los Angeles, which all bodes well for the Bruins. At the least, UCLA appears to be getting an official visit, but we still hear that the Bruins are even higher on his list than being let on.

Dylan Moses, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy

Moses was at once committed to LSU, then opened it up not long after leaving Baton Rouge for IMG.  Earlier this summer, he announced five official visits and UCLA will be getting one from Moses in November when the Bruins host USC.  Moses will also visit Alabama, Miami, Ohio State and Texas and will likely take some unofficials to his native Baton Rouge to visit LSU.  While he may be a long shot, the fact that he's taking an official visit to UCLA and already has it scheduled, rather than just saying he wants to take one, is a positive step.

Levi Jones, (OLB), Austin (Texas) Westlake

Jones visited UCLA in March and raved about the visit and his time spent with Jim Mora. He's a Texas native but he's talked about moving to the West Coast for college.  UCLA and USC both had him on campus and both are pursuing him.

Will Ignont, (ILB), New Market (Ala.) Buckhorn

Ignont left IMG Academy after a brief stay and is now in Alabama so that makes it a little more difficult for the Bruins, especially with Auburn and Georgia in heavy pursuit but he's been listing UCLA as a school he's still considering.  In fact, he talked with high praise about the Bruins at The Opening.  He cited his relationship with Scott White and the comparisons he's been given to Myles Jack as reasons for interest and said he will definitely take an official visit to UCLA.  Ignont is also looking closely at Florida State, LSU and Michigan.

Anthony Hines, (ILB), Plano (Texas) East

The No. 1 inside linebacker in the 2017 class, Hines named a top ten that had only one school from West of the Rockies: UCLA.  He's talked about taking an official visit to UCLA, but the feeling is still that he'll be tough to pry out of Texas.  But UCLA would absolutely welcome him for a visit and will continue to keep recruiting him.

Rahyme Johnson, Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian

Johnson was UCLA's first commit in the 2017 class, committing back in the summer but then opened things up in spring. He's a pretty good athlete with good size and he's looked solid this spring on the 7v7 circuit and fluid in coverage. He could outgrow the position and he was originally a receiver, so tight end wouldn't be completely out of the question, but for now, he's an outside linebacker. Nebraska has made a big impression on him, though, and a visit there in April was followed not long after by a decommitment from UCLA.  We're not sure UCLA is even considering Johnson at this point.

Next Tier to Watch:

Lamin Touray, (ILB), Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany

Touray is one of the better inside linebackers in the West, but his size has slowed down his recruitment with Pac-12 schools.  He's in double-digit offers with a number of Mountain West schools, but he might be a senior year offer guy for most of the Pac-12.  UCLA was his favorite school growing up and would be hard for him to pass on if they offered.  He's coached by former Bruin James Washington, the new head coach at Alemany and his linebacker coach is four-year Bruin starting linebacker Reggie Carter.

Richard Cage, (OLB), Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt

Cage actually looked pretty good at UCLA's Elite Camp last month and at least got himself on the map a little more for a senior year watch.  While it may be a matter of numbers that ultimately keeps him from getting an offer, he's definitely a Pac-12 level prospect.  And he's a Ground Zero product too, so if UCLA offered late, they have that going for them should they pursue him after others.

Other Names to Watch:

Santino Marchiol, (OLB), 6-2, 225, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy- Offered


CORNERBACKS (3+)

UCLA has some needs at cornerback. In the last several years, they've been missing that true elite lockdown cornerback. It might be one of the biggest priorities in the 2017 class. They also generally needs corners, with many of the DBs on the roster more safety-like. They're doing well with the West's top corner in Holmes and, given these needs, he may very well be the most important defensive recruit in this class.

Top Targets:

Jeffrey Manning, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral- COMMITTED

Manning was terrific in the spring at the numerous events we saw him at (at least six of them).  He had long pined for a UCLA offer and camped at two different satellite camps in front of Demetrice Martin and ended up getting the Bruin offer.  About the only thing that didn't work out for Manning was he wanted to commit at the Bruin Elite Camp, but with his move to Cathedral, he had to play in a 7on tournament with them that night, so he committed the day before.  Manning can play corner or swing to safety as well as play nickel so his position versatility was a big reason UCLA went in on him.

Darnay Holmes, Calabasas (Calif.)

Holmes is the West's top defensive prospect in 2017 and is arguably UCLA's top uncommitted defensive target in this class. The Bruins offered him when he was a freshman and have prioritized him for years. His father and Demetrice Martin grew up together in Pasadena and played together as youth. Holmes has plans to visit Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State while also still considering USC.  But UCLA continues to be in a pretty good spot for him.

Thomas Graham, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.)

Graham was offered by UCLA early in his sophomore year but then he committed to USC just at the beginning of last summer. Since then, he's decommitted fully, after softening his commitment in February, and UCLA is all over him.  He's focused on four schools: Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon and UCLA and the Bruins are very much in the mix for him.

Jaylon Redd, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.)

Redd is another guy UCLA went in on early and the Bruins made his top eight.  Oregon sounds like the team to beat for him, but he cited his relationship with Demetrice Martin as a reason the Bruins continue to be on his short list so the Bruins still seem to be pursuing him.

Elijah Gates, Buena Park (Calif.)

Gates has been one of the best players the entire spring and UCLA offered him in February and are doing well with him. He visited unofficially in March and enjoyed his time with Martin and Jim Mora, saying that was a big deal for him to get to spend time talking with them. The Bruins should be on his real short list throughout his recruitment but Oregon is making a serious push for him and he's also planning to visit TCU officially in September.  He told Scout that UCLA, Oregon and Notre Dame have been recruiting him the hardest.

Quentin Lake, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

The of a former Bruin, Lake is the son of UCLA great Carnell Lake, who also coached the Bruins secondary with Rick Neuheisel before going back to the NFL to coach. Lake is one of the best defensive backs in the state and has positional versatility too, much like his father, who was a Pro Bowler at both safety and corner in the NFL.  He was offered by UCLA at their Elite Camp after an excellent showing, just a week after USC offered him.  But the Bruins were the childhood favorite and the longstanding ties have UCLA in good shape for him.

Elijah Hicks, La Mirada (Calif.)

Hicks is really seeing his stock rise this spring too and UCLA offered him in February as well and that was a big offer for him. He's starting to attract some national attention too, with Oregon also making a run at him and a spring visit really helped their case. Then he camped at USC at Rising Stars and was offered not long after and that was a big offer to Hicks as well.  Academics are a big thing for Hicks and he has a number of Ivy League offers too.

Jaylan Shaw, Corona (Calif.) Centennial

Shaw has been one of the biggest revelations this spring after being a backup last fall.  Of course, he wasn't a backup for talent reasons, but more because the Centennial secondary was loaded (three Pac-12 signees and a fourth going to Boise State).  But he still played quite a bit.  Now he'll be the starter at one corner spot for the Huskies this fall.  In the meantime, he has double digit offers, including from UCLA, who offered after their Elite Camp and from USC, who offered the week before.  And like with Lake, UCLA is in a good spot with Shaw.

Lamont Wade, Clairton (Pa.)

The No. 1 corner in the East and No. 3 nationally, it may be tough for UCLA to get a commitment from Wade, but they're at least going to get an official visit from him.  Wade told Scout at The Opening that he'll visit UCLA officially and he'll be out in November the weekend UCLA hosts USC.  The five-star also has official visits to Tennessee and Alabama scheduled.  Wade has been recruited by Tom Bradley, who's got longstanding ties to Pennsylvania.

Next Tier to Watch:

Marques Evans, Newbury Park (Calif.)

Evans has just a couple of Mountain West offers but we think he'll end up with a slew of Pac-12 offers when it's all said and done. He's originally from Pasadena and his father is also a childhood friend of Demetrice Martin. Evans has looked very good this spring but because of all the other players UCLA is involved with in the secondary, they likely won't get to him.

Javelin Guidry, Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta

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. He was the DB MVP of The Opening Dallas regional in March.  Guidry actually committed to Houston while he still lived in Houston, but they moved back to the Southland and he'll play at Vista Murrieta.  We also know he covets a Bruin offer and if UCLA did offer, they'd have an excellent chance to flip him.

Other Names to Watch:

D.J. Brown, 5-11, 160, Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside- Offered

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


SAFETIES (1-2)

Getting a big, physical safety is definitely one of the ten most important recruiting needs for UCLA this year. As we’ve said a few times, UCLA’s lack of size at safety in 2015 was a factor. So they signed two physical safeties in 2016 but still need more depth. UCLA needs cornerbacks, but if it can get two elite safeties, it will take them. 

Top Targets:

Chaz Ah You, Saratoga Springs (Utah) Westlake

Ah You is the top skill prospect in Utah and some in the state have said he's one of the better skill guys the state has produced in a long time. The Bruins have long been a contender for him along with Stanford and Oregon but he has ties to a couple other programs, his uncle having played at Oklahoma and now on staff at Vanderbilt while his father is on staff at BYU. But still, we've heard he wants to carve out his own niche for college and the Bruins are on his very short list.  If he gets admitted into Stanford, though, that could make the Cardinal the team to beat.

Bubba Bolden, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman

Bolden was terrific at The Opening and made a big jump in the rankings, moving to the No. 1 safety in the West.  The following week, he decommitted from USC, where he'd been a verbal to since December.  And the Bruins are heavily involved with him.  He's also listing Colorado and Arizona State and he and Alex Perry, his Gorman teammate, could end up playing together in college (those are the only two schools they're both considering), but Bolden also has ties to Los Angeles and the Bruins are trying to get him to play in Los Angeles, but just come up the road a bit. 

Trajon Cotton, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum

Cotton has had his recruitment take off of late, with double-digit offers, but is getting set to whittle his list down and the schools most likely on that list are Arizona State, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA and Utah.  He has official visits set for Nebraska and Oregon in September and October respectively and he also said Colorado will for sure get a visit.  He also said he'll likely take an unofficial visit to UCLA, being the lone in-state school on his list, having visited twice previously.

Josh Talbott, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly

Talbott was an early offer recipient from UCLA along with Oregon, but he told Scout in the spring that the schools standing out to him were Texas A&M, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington State. He's another that UCLA may not have room for and they don't seem to be prioritizing him at this point.

K.J. Jarrell, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro

Jarrell was another player UCLA offered early. He took an unofficial visit to UCLA in March and raved about his time with Martin and Jim Mora and about the school. Arizona State also has the local edge and Texas A&M, which has former Saguaro teammate Christian Kirk and Washington, which inked Saguaro teammate Byron Murphy last month, are both trying to reunite him with former teammates.  And of course, USC had him on campus for Rising Stars (though he didn't participate) and he's high on the Trojans.

Next Tier to Watch:

Isaiah Pola-Mao, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe

Pola-Mao is the nephew of Bruin offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu and has looked really good when we've seen him this spring.  He's a versatile athlete, he can play safety or receiver but he may end up growing into a linebacker.  He's one UCLA will take a long and close look at, but they have some obvious family ties.  He was excellent at The Opening, showing great ball skills.  UCLA just is doing well with a number of other safeties ahead of him.

Other Names to Watch:

Derrick Tucker, Manvel (Texas)- Offered

Jaylen Kelly-Powell, 6-1, 190, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech- Offered

Chris Wilson, 6-0, 186, Hitchcock (Texas)- Offered

Maleik Gray, 6-2.5, 200, LaVergne (Tenn.)- Offered

Christian Cumber, 5-11, 175, Denver (Colo.) Mullen


ATHLETES

UCLA mostly has a pretty good idea where it projects the prospects on its 2017 board, but there are a few exceptions who have some versatility. Given UCLA's overall penchant for using guys two ways during Jim Mora's time in Westwood, you could probably expect all of these players below to move around a bit if they came to UCLA.  

Top Targets:

Sione Lund, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton

Heimuli-Lund committed to Stanford around Thanksgiving last fall, but was offered by UCLA earlier in the spring and is legitimately interested in the Bruins. He's not a slam-dunk for Stanford admissions, though that's what he's aiming for- he'll actually attend a more academically rigorous academy in Utah, but they don't have a football team, so he'll continue to play for Brighton. But because he's not a lock for admissions, he's already putting back-up plans in place, and Marques Tuiasosopo has been recruiting him. He visited UCLA and raved about the trip. UCLA likes him as a power back in their offense, but he's also a very good linebacker, which is what Stanford likes him for. So wherever he ends up, his positional versatility as a jumbo athlete will give him options.

Terrance Lang, Pasadena (Calif.) Maranatha

Lang was offered in late April after playing on the same 7v7 team as Angus McClure's son (TMP Elite) participated and McClure got to see him.  He's a big kid, and schools recruiting him as a defensive end, but we think he could end up a pretty good athletic left tackle.  He was a basketball player first so he's still a bit raw from a football standpoint, but he's got a ton of upside.  USC is the school he most often talks about and seems to be the heavy leader for him, but UCLA will continue to pursue him.

Other Names to Watch:

Bruce Judson, 5-10, 171, Cocoa (Fla.)- Offered

Jordan Genmark-Heath, 6-1, 210, San Diego (Calif.) Cathedral

Tayler Katoa, 6-2, 215, Layton (Utah)


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