Jimmy Jaggers (Brandon Huffman)

UCLA Football Recruiting Reset: Offense

Sept. 20 -- Three weeks into the season, we reset UCLA's offensive recruiting board...

After a rough July, August seemed to bounce back for UCLA, with five commitments during the month.

Three of them were on offense, giving them five total on that side of the ball, with two being on defense, giving them three total defensive commitments. 

But still, UCLA has just eight commitments at the midway point of September.

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.

Fortunately, in August, UCLA got commitments from players at positions of need, tight end and quarterback, and added an offensive lineman, but there is still a need for more playmakers.

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

(Here's the UCLA Football Recruiting Reset: Defense we published Thursday.)


QUARTERBACKS  (1 or 2?)

UCLA was in a precarious position last spring with quarterback recruiting, largely because of the large shadow that incoming freshman Josh Rosen was already casting.  When Devon Modster chose Arizona over the Bruins, UCLA scrambled but was able to land Matt Lynch from Colorado and then Dymond Lee (who we still think ends up at receiver) committed to the Bruins.  And once UCLA quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo returned to UCLA, the Bruins ended up in a good spot with quarterback recruiting when Modster ultimately signed with UCLA, thanks to a late push by Tuiasosopo.  After pursuing a couple of guys as their main targets for 2017 quarterback recruiting in spring and summer and missing on them, UCLA finally landed a quarterback commitment for 2017 in Austin Burton. Burton isn't considered a big-impact prospect, so it will be interesting if UCLA just calls it a day for 2017 and focuses on trying to bring in two in 2018 or if they look to add another quarterback in this class.  Much will be dictated by any quarterbacks emerging this fall from the 2017 class, but with Lynch and Modster, and a deep and talented 2018 class, it wouldn't be a surprise if UCLA decided to wait until next year to bring in a pair.

There is an elite quarterback committed elsewhere who we've heard could be interested in UCLA but we are unable to release information about it at this time. 

Top Targets:

Austin Burton, Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange- COMMITTED

Burton came out to UCLA in June and camped with the Bruins and was actually pretty good when he threw for Marques Tuiasosopo.  He then committed to Boston College in early July when it looked like he wasn't going to get an offer from the Bruins. The day he committed to the Eagles, UCLA ended up offering.  Burton is originally from Massachusetts but moved to Florida for his senior season.  Interestingly enough, he's been out to California quite a bit, working with Body By Tra Athletics as part of their 7on team last year, but backed up K.J. Costello.  He was intrigued by the UCLA offer and the fact the Bruins throw more than Boston College.  So in August, Burton pulled the trigger and flipped to the Bruins.

Others Recruitments to Watch:

Tua Tagovailoa, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis

Tagovailoa, the nation's #4-ranked QB, committed to Alabama in May and it seems like he'll stick with the Tide, but he's also talking about taking an official visit to USC.  And the emergence of Jalen Hurts as the starter for the Tide as a true freshman could make other schools intriguing for Tagovailoa.  Of course, with USC, if Sam Darnold eventually takes over, there is another youngster Tua would have to beat out.  Tuiasosopo has a connection with Tagovailoa, so UCLA will probably continue to recruit him.

Chase Garbers, 6-3, 210, Corona Del Mar (Calif.)

Garbers had a good spring too and was QB MVP at The Opening Los Angeles and making it to the Elite 11 Finals, just missing a spot in The Opening Finals.  He committed to Cal the week of UCLA's camps in June.  But we've heard he's still open to UCLA and USC, though it's uncertain if UCLA has any interest in him and the offer to Burton when Sears was still on the market may be an indicator of that interest level.

Nick Sipe, 6-4, 195, Villa Park (Calif.)

Sipe was another player UCLA watched in the spring, but didn't offerr, choosing to focus on Jack Sears. He had several mid-major offers but ultimately picked Purdue. But UCLA could take a longer look at him this fall.

Other Names to Know:

Michael Bonds, 6-2, 185, La Canada (Calif.) St. Francis


RUNNING BACKS (1)

With UCLA making a switch to more of a power back focus it helps that two of the best in the country are both in California. The downside is both are committed elsewhere. But UCLA is trying with both Najee Harris and Stephen Carr. Getting Brandon Stephens late in 2016, to follow up the Soso-Bolu signing from the year before, and combining him with Jalen Starks, gives UCLA some much needed depth at running back. Both have gotten playing time so far this season and Stephens looks like he has a chance to be a bigtime contributor down the road, so getting a running back in this class isn't as crucial as you'd think.  But with Harris and Carr, you have two of the best backs in the country, so staying on them both is something UCLA must do.

Top Targets:

Najee Harris, Antioch (Calif.)

Harris visited UCLA in March, then was back for UCLA's first spring practice and had a good visit with the Bruin coaches, talking with Kennedy Polamalu, Adrian Klemm, Marques Tuiasosopo and Jim Mora. He's been committed to Alabama for over a year, and we continue to hear that if he doesn't end up in Tuscaloosa, that UCLA is the school he'll end up with.  But he also visited Alabama in June for their camp, his first time back since he committed, and seems to be more solid to the Tide than he's been in a long time.  He's also built a pretty good relationship with fellow Bama commit Tua Tagovailoa (the two were on the same team at The Opening).  There has also been talk that Michigan and Ohio State could be options if he flips from Alabama. UCLA will continue to pursue the No. 1 player in the country like they have been, but at this point, the odds are very low they can flip him.  We've heard that if Harris does flip, its likely to a Big Ten school, but even still its less and less likely he's flipping from Alabama.

Stephen Carr, Fontana (Calif.) Summit

Carr is a soft commit to USC but it would be a surprise if he didn't end up there. UCLA won't give up, having signed six of his travel 7v7 teammates from a year ago from Ground Zero. USC is also trying with Harris, so should the Trojans be the ones to flip him, Carr could decide to be the man somewhere else. While he has national offers, UCLA, like USC, has the close-to-home advantage, not to mention several familiar faces on the roster, including his 7v7 and prep teammate Damian Alloway. So while Carr is a bit of a longshot, the Bruins won't stop trying.  He is more open to national programs though, having visited a couple of national schools during the spring.  While before it looked like UCLA had focused exclusively on Harris, they're definitely giving Carr the attention he deserves too and would absolutely take either if they wanted to come.

Drake Beasley, La Canada (Calif.)

Beasley was a freshman at Loyola when Polamalu was coaching there, so there is a familiarity between the two and UCLA was the first school to offer Beasley. UCLA will stay on Beasley while focusing on Harris and Carr, and they'll have a chance with him because he has stated his desire to play in Southern California.  The spring netted quite a few more offers for Beasley.  While UCLA focuses on Harris and Carr, Beasley may be on their second tier, and we thought that UCLA would keep him warm, especially with Polamalu's relationship with him. Lately Beasley, though, hasn't been mentioning UCLA. With his recent move to La Canada, he was ruled ineligible for the remainder of the season by CIF for transfer rules, so that could affect his recruitment a bit.

Other Names to Watch:

Chris Brooks, 5-9, 170, Newbury Park (Calif.)

Marcus McElroy, 6-1, 200, Denver (Colo.) Mullen


RECEIVERS (1-2)

It seems like a yearly discussion that UCLA needs to sign receivers and there usually seems to be a good core group of pass-catchers from the West.  This year will be no different, with a good number of receivers (albeit, not of the same skill level of the 2016 class) available. After signing a big class in 2016, UCLA has indicated they want only one receiver for 2017, even though we wouldn't be surprised if they ended up with two, especially if they were elite.  That said, because of how many receivers UCLA lost to graduation and the NFL, most of those receivers will be expected to play right away, so there isn't the chance to space out receivers, making the 2017 class again an important one to land some impact guy(s).  With UCLA having gotten more speedy slot types, UCLA is targeting more of the bigger, possession-types for 2017. 

Joseph Lewis, Los Angeles (Calif.) Hawkins

The No. 1 receiver prospect nationally, the Bruins were one of the first schools to offer Lewis, with UCLA and USC having the hometown edge.  But for whatever reason, Lewis and UCLA just hasn't materialized, with neither side really showing much interest in spring and summer. It's unfortunate, since we've heard Lewis might be the type that ultimately wants to stay close to home and fits the exact type of receiver UCLA is targeting for 2017. He's still mentioning UCLA but they're down the list a bit after Nebraska, Arizona, Oklahoma and Oregon as well as USC locally. Lately we've heard there has been more dialogue between UCLA and Lewis, however.  

Tarik Black, Cheshire (Conn). Academy

Black, a Connecticut product, already has a who's-who list of national programs in pursuit of his services, while UCLA has offered and the Bruins have been on the radar to get an official visit.  He's visited Michigan and Auburn officially and has a visit scheduled for Alabama, while UCLA, Stanford and Notre Dame remain in contention to get an official from him.

Omar Manning, Lancaster (Texas)

Manning has a heavy dose of SEC and Big 12 schools on his list, but one Pac-12 school staying in the mix for him is UCLA.  In fact, Manning told us at The Opening that UCLA is almost certain to get one of his official visits.  While he may be tough to get West of the Rockies, the Bruins are making a push for him and if they can get him out for an official visit, that will be a huge step in the right direction.

R.J. Sneed, Cypress Ranch (Texas)

Sneed is a commit to TCU and seems to be decently solid to the Horned Frogs, but we've also heard he's got legitimate interest in the Bruins and UCLA is hoping to get him out for an official visit.  If there is any out-of-state recruit committed elsewhere UCLA might have a chance to get, it could be Sneed.

James Robinson, Lakeland (Fla.)

Robinson is somewhat of a new name to the list but a name UCLA fans should get to know a bit.  He has a top five of Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and UCLA.   He was a player we really liked at The Opening, and it isn't like UCLA hasn't gotten a big-time, playmaking receiver from Lakeland before (granted, it was 20 years ago in Freddie Mitchell and he was at Kathleen in Lakeland, but still).  While he'll be tough to pry from the Southeast, UCLA will gladly stay in the mix and mentioned by him.

Next Tier to Watch:

Isaiah Hodgins, Walnut Creek (Calif.) Berean Christian

Hodgins was interested in UCLA a lot in the spring, but the Bruins never offered him.  He ultimately committed to Washington State but then he opened up his recruitment and now Oregon appears to be the front runner for him.  He's also set up visits to Nebraska and Oregon State but told us last week that if UCLA offered, they'd definitely have a chance for a visit from him.

Jamire Calvin, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral

Calvin is our pick for smaller receivers that UCLA should stay on and eventually offer. He said that UCLA told him they're looking for bigger receivers in this class, but they also told him they're still going to keep watching him, that his talent may be too great to pass on. Calvin has never really been a priority for the Bruins and he was planning to camp with them but had a 7on7 tournament for school that kept him from it.  Should he get an offer from UCLA, it likely wouldn't be until late in the process, and that is likely too late for Calvin.

Bryan Thompson, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde

Thompson comes from the same program current offensive lineman Poasi Moala and Tevita Halalilo came from and he played with Halalilo as a sophomore.  He's the type of receiver, physically, that UCLA is looking for and was one they watched in the spring but right now, Arizona and Boise State seem to be the frontrunners for Thompson but Oregon and UCLA, two schools who've yet to offer, definitely have his interest and he covets offers from both.  He was at a UCLA practice in San Bernardino too.

Kevin Davis, Oak Hills (Calif)

Davis got an offer from UCLA in the spring and while he hasn't been much of a priority for them, he actually did pretty well at the camp and could find himself more seriously recruited by the Bruins come fall.  He's tucked away deep in the desert, so he's still a bit under the radar despite being a three-star, but he's performed well on the camp circuit.  In fact, he plays for Jaleel Wadood's uncle on the 7on circuit and that's what got him on to the Bruins radar in the first place.

Other Recruitments to Watch:

http://www.scout.com/player/201411-alex-cook?s=12

Alex Cook, 6-2, 180, Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon.  The talented three-star prospect was thought to be leaning to UCLA but then verbally committed to Washington. UCLA continues to recruit him. 

Hezekiah Jones, 5-11, 185, Stafford (Texas)- Offered


TIGHT ENDS (1-2)

UCLA needs tight ends, not just in this class, but, really, on the roster in general. With just one true tight end signing last class, and a dearth of traditional tight ends on the roster, combined with the offense moving towards using traditional tight ends more in its scheme, it's crucial that the Bruins sign at least one tight end in 2017, if not more. Fortunately, when it was looking pretty bleak for UCLA and 2018 tight ends (with the class being one of the most loaded for the position in a long time in the west), Jimmy Jaggers saved the tight end class with his August commitment.

Top Targets:

Jimmy Jaggers, Roseville (Calif.)COMMITTED

Jaggers has been one of UCLA's priorities for over a year, the Bruins having offered him in June 2015 at their 7on tournament.  He's taken a number of visits to UCLA but it looked like he was headed elsewhere, namely across town.  Yet in early August, Jaggers ended UCLA's wait for a tight end and committed to the Bruins, their highest rated offensive commitment in this class.

Josh Falo, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum

Falo is a very good receiver but needs to add more weight, still being a little slight of build. We loved what we saw from him in the spring and summer, especially at The Opening Finals. Blocking isn't his forte, but he's such a big weapon as a receiver, that it doesn't detract from him. Oregon is doing really well with him right now and you can't count Colorado out- both of his older brother's signed with Mike MacIntyre, one at San Jose State and another currently at Colorado.  Alabama offered him during the summer at their camp too and that wowed him. He visited UCLA for the Spring Showcase.  Every time he's named a new list, UCLA has been on it, so they're still on the list of possibilities but we feel not a top option. 

Tyler Johnson, Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland

Johnson has a Bruin offer amongst a host of other offers, including both the in-state schools in Arizona and he has national offers that intrigue him from Florida and Michigan State.  The Bruins are in the mix for him, but Johnson isn't a huge fan of the recruiting process.  In fact, he told Scout in July that he may announce where he goes at his high school graduation...which is four months after Signing Day.  His father played at Michigan State and the Spartans are high on his list.

Other Recruitments to Watch:

Erik Krommenhoek, 6-5, 237, Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista

Krommenhoek is a Bruin legacy and UCLA offered him in April.  USC, where several other family members went, offered in May and in June, a week after camping with the Bruins, Krommenhoek committed to the Trojans.  UCLA continues to recruit Krommenhoek and we expect they'll continue to do so through the fall but so far, Krommenhoek doesn't appear to be wavering at all on his commitment to the Trojans.

Moses Robinson-Carr, Antelope Valley (Calif.)

Not long after Krommenhoek committed to USC, Robinson-Carr spurned the Bruins and committed to Oregon.  He'd given several indications that he was looking to leave California, but the Bruins were his runner up so they're going to keep trying with him and play up the local angle.

Other Names to Watch:

Carson Terrell, 6-5, 225, Lehi (Utah)

Sire Woods, 6-4, 215, La Mirada (Calif.)

Powers Warren, 6-4, 230, Minnetonka (Minn.)


OFFENSIVE LINE (5)

UCLA needs offensive tackles and a big recruiting class for 2017.  It's missed on a few big targets, but it also has three commitments, from some solid prospects, with two of them being tackles. As of right now, UCLA would ideally like to finish off the class with Banks and McKenzie, and getting those two four-stars.  How it closes out between now and Signing Day in February, particularly those two prospects, will determine whether the 2017 offensive line recruiting class is a successful one. 

Top Targets:

Kanan Ray (OT), Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra CanyonCOMMITTED

Ray can play either tackle spot or even center, and has tremendous position-versatility, a Klemm calling card. Ray got an offer from UCLA not long after Signing Day and the Bruins were able to get past his offer from his childhood and family favorite, Tennessee. He took an unofficial visit in March and not long after that trip, was ready to end his recruitment and he committed that same week.  He's actually UCLA's longest tenured commit now, six months solid to the Bruins.

Ronald Rudd (OT), Chaffey (Calif.) CollegeCOMMITTED

Rudd visited UCLA in June and was offered on the visit.  He then committed to UCLA just a couple days later and he's a big pickup for the Bruins who need tackle prospects badly and guys that can come in and play right away.  Rudd was a non-qualifier out of high school, but is now on track to graduate in December and be ready to participate in spring football.  He'll come in at the right time, with Connor McDermott graduating after the season and off to the NFL.  That will give Rudd the spring to work at taking over for McDermott (or playing right tackle if Kolton Miller is ready to make the move to the left side).

Jaxson Kirkland (OT), Portland (Ore.) JesuitCOMMITTED

Kirkland was offered by UCLA in the spring and that was an offer he had been hoping to get.  Kirkland is a big-bodied tackle who can play either tackle spot, but might be better suited for the right side.  Kirkland visited during the early part of summer and the visit went a long way with him.  He got to spend time with Connor McDermott and that left a big impression on him.  Kirkland committed to UCLA in August, one of two offensive commits that week, with the quarterback he'll come in with, Austin Burton, committing days later.

Aaron Banks (OG), El Cerrito (Calif.)

Banks is NorCal's best line prospect and while he plays tackle for El Cerrito (where he played with Adarius Pickett as a freshman), he'll likely slide inside in college. Banks has a top ten with UCLA on it and he's also high on USC.  He visited Oregon officially two weekends ago and Notre Dame last weekend.  He said that UCLA and USC will get visits from him, but he's uncertain if they'll be unofficial or official visits.

Jalen McKenzie (OT), Concord (Calif.) Clayton Valley

The four-star tackle from the Bay Area is coming off a knee injury that he suffered on the second play of the first game of the season, but he is now 100% and after a strong showing at The Opening Oakland, Arizona State offered and Klemm was back in the Bay and reconfirmed the offer to McKenzie.  McKenzie's mom attended UCLA while his father went to Tennessee, where his older brother, Kahlil, is a sophomore.  But McKenzie said that visits to UCLA with his brother two years ago left an impression on him and that is a big reason why UCLA is heavily in the mix for him.  He told Scout in July that he's still trying to get a couple of offers from schools like Tennessee, Michigan and USC, who've all indicated they want to see senior film before offering.  While he once before was saying he wanted to pave his own path and not keep the Tennessee legacy going, it now seems like the Vols have a real shot with him if they offered.

Foster Sarell (OT), Graham (Wash.) Kapowsin

Sarell is the No. 2 prospect in the country behind Najee Harris and he's the most coveted tackle prospect in the region. UCLA was in his second tier, but with a visit to Nebraska already taken, visits scheduled with Notre Dame and Alabama, and expected visits to Stanford and Washington, the long shot has gotten even longer.

Henry Bainivalu (OG), Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline

Bainivalu was offered by UCLA last fall but it's only been during the spring that they've ramped up their efforts.  Klemm was by Skyline twice during the evaluation period to see Bainivalu and while we initially said that Bainivalu was unlikely to leave Washington for college, we're hearing more and more that he's talking about getting out of state.  That said, we still think at the end of the day, it will be tough to pull him away from him.  He's visited USC this spring (he attends the same school that Max Browne, USC's quarterback, did), but he's talking about visiting UCLA this fall.  He's a tackle for Skyline but we think his best position in college is guard.

http://www.scout.com/player/205976-orlando-umana/recruiting?year=2016&s=12

Orlando Umana, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant

Umana is one of those late emergers, and the Pac-12 is jumping on board. He has offers from Washington, Utah, Arizona and Oregon State and there are probably more to come. He visited Washington last weekend. We mentioned it about a month ago that UCLA could show interest in Umana and that could be happening. 

http://www.scout.com/player/192838-tramonda-moore?s=12

Tramonda Moore, Independence (Okla.) Community College

Moore was a U.S. Army All-American in 2016 that UCLA recruited who ultimately signed with Oklahoma State -- but ultimately didn't qualify.  We previously have said he's trying to get enough credits at the JC to get his AA to be eligible for next fall, but it looks like he'll have to go two years and enroll at a four-year in 2018.  We've heard UCLA will have a very good chance with Moore. 

Recruitment to Watch:

http://www.scout.com/player/183152-calvin-ashley?s=12

Calvin Ashley, Washington (D.C.) St. John's College. 

Ashley is a five-star prospect and the #7-ranked offensive tackle in the nation. He visited UCLA unofficially during the summer and there is talk he could visit officially, despite being a longtime verbal commitment to Auburn. 

Next Tier to Watch:

Massaman Bagayoko (OT), Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany

Bagayoko is a newer name to recruiting boards.  He's another intriguing lineman, having only played football for a year after coming to the U.S. and during the spring, he landed a handful of offers.  His film is good so he could be one of those players that uses the first few games of his senior year to make an impression.  His new head coach at Alemany is former Bruin James Washington and there are several former Bruin coaches on the new staff at Alemany so you can bet that his coaches will be keeping UCLA abreast of his progress.

Other Names to Watch:

Grant Polley (OT), 6-4, 263, Denton (Texas)- Offered (Colorado Commitment)

Jason Linden (OT), Arizona Western (J.C.)- Offered


Bruin Report Online Top Stories