Austin Burton

UCLA Football Recruiting Reset: Offense

Oct. 19 -- At the midway point of the season, we reset UCLA's offensive recruiting board...

UCLA was coming off a less-than-stellar off-season in recruiting, when it had a run of decommitments and previous leans picking other schools. 

The theory was that a good season could garner UCLA some recruiting momentum.

We won't say that it's impossible for UCLA to still get some recruiting momentum, but currently at 3-4 it's looking like an uphill battle.  

UCLA still has some big-named prospects it's still is doing very well with, however. If it can hang on to its current top commits, including five-star defensive end Jaelan Phillips, and bring in a class made up a 3-4 of the elite prospects UCLA still is seriously involved with, it should be a solid class, considering. 

UCLA has just nine commitments at the midway point of October, and outside of Cassius Peat, a previous UCLA commitment from the 2015 class who flipped to the Big Ten but has come full circle, UCLA hasn't landed a verbal since mid-August.

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.

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


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 two true freshman in Matt Lynch and Devon 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.

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.


UCLA's running game this fall has been pretty bad.  In fact, Jim Mora called it awful.  So you'd think that running back recruiting might be a little better, with recruits knocking themselves over to be the man in UCLA's relatively wide open running back rotation.  But that hasn't been the case so that's discouraging. Where they were once mentioned prominently for Najee Harris, they're barely included. Stephen Carr is still being discussed too, but its probably a longshot. Then couple that with a bad running back group outside the top two, and UCLA isn't in a great place at the position.

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 (see Michigan), 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 and there is more scuttlebutt that he could give UCLA a longer look.

Other Names to Watch:

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


UCLA receiver recruiting has always been a little different.  No-brainers you think they'd go after, they don't.  They often go after out-of-state too aggressively and then end up with the next tier from that state instead.  The Southland has some good receivers and they rarely look at UCLA seriously. And when they do, and they sign them, they rarely play (see Howard, Theo).  So to say receiver recruiting is curious would be accurate.  And this year is no different.

Joseph Lewis, Los Angeles (Calif.) Hawkins

The No. 1 receiver prospect nationally, the Bruins were one of the first schools to offer Lewis, a local product, which should have given UCLA and USC 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.  And we've long maintained that if UCLA put more effort into Lewis, they'd have a legitimate shot. But it may be too little, too late for him now.

Tarik Black, Cheshire (Conn). Academy

Black, a Connecticut product, has been one of UCLA's top targets 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 and Stanford remain in contention to get an official from him. He's been a little over the place, at one point, looking like a soft verbal to Notre Dame to now not even planning to visit them. And his tweet over the weekend of his top schools included three FCS schools (then again, Soso Jamabo said he was going to ITT Tech, so good for Black to do a little healthy trolling).

Omar Manning, Lancaster (Texas)

Manning has a heavy dose of SEC and Big 12 schools on his list, but one Pac-12 school that stayed in the mix for him was UCLA.  In fact, Manning told us at The Opening that UCLA was almost certain to get one of his official visits.  A lot has changed since then, though, and now Manning has no real plans to visit UCLA officially, instead focusing on the same Big 12 and SEC schools he had been.

R.J. Sneed, Cypress Ranch (Texas)

Sneed, a one-time commit to TCU, is still looking at the Horned Frogs, along with Nebraska, Ole Miss and UCLA.  UCLA is slated to get an official visit from him after the season, and if there was one out-of-state WR we think UCLA has a legit shot to get, it's Sneed.

James Robinson, Lakeland (Fla.)

Robinson is somewhat of a newer 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).  Oklahoma and Ole Miss have visits locked in with him and are in front for Robinson and Alabama and Florida will likely look elsewhere, so UCLA is right behind the Rebels and Sooners but are at least in the conversation.

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 visited Nebraska and Oregon State but told us last month that if UCLA offered, they'd definitely have a chance for a visit from him.  That said, UCLA hasn't offered and doesn't appear likely to.

Jamire Calvin, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral

Calvin is our pick for smaller receivers that UCLA should stay on and eventually offer. But 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.  That UCLA has lost commitments from three Cathedral players this cycle also probably keeps them from offering.

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, Oregon and Boise State appear to be the leaders for Thompson, who has yet to get an offer from the Bruins. He did attend a UCLA practice in San Bernardino but there never has been much serious consideration from the Bruins.

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:

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

Gary Theard, 6-2, 190, Upland (Calif.)


UCLA needs tight ends, not just in this class, but, really, on the roster in general, especially those who can block as well as catch. With just one true tight end signing last class, and a dearth of traditional tight ends on the roster,  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 2017 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, especially with UCLA needing more physical tight ends rather than pure pass-catching tight ends.

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.

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

Terrell had UCLA coaches at his game the weekend the Bruins played BYU and that ended up netting him an offer from UCLA.  The offer was a big one for Terrell too, who had been mostly looking at the in-state schools.  But the Bruin offer has them right in the mix for him along with Oregon State and BYU and they'll likely get a visit from him after the season.

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.  That Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has come under fire hasn't gone unnoticed either.

Other Names to Watch:

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


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 (C), 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, seven months solid to the Bruins.  Ray will likely come in and play center.  He was recently named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

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.  Kirkland has had a big season with Jesuit, anchoring what several Oregon natives are calling perhaps the best offensive line in state history.

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's visited Oregon and Notre Dame officially already.  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. That said, it's getting later and later for the Vols to make a move on him and their class is filling up, which could help the Bruins.

Orlando Umana (OG), Sacramento (Calif.) Grant

Umana is one of those late emergers, and the Pac-12 is jumping on board. UCLA just offered him earlier this month and he already has offers from Washington, Utah, Arizona and Oregon State and there are probably more to come. He visited Washington last month and has set up visits to Utah and Arizona for December.  He told us this week that Cal, UCLA and Washington State will be in the mix for his last two visits, which will come in January. The Huskies are in a good spot for him but UCLA is picking it up.

Tramonda Moore (OT), 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.

Grant Polley (OG), Denton (Texas)

Polley is a commit to Colorado and seems to be pretty solid but he told Scout's Colorado site that he may still take a couple of official visits and the Bruins, which offered in the summer, could be one of the schools to get a visit from him. Adrian Klemm has had success flipping linemen from Texas and Polley looks like this year's candidate to do the same. The four-star guard is one of the best players in the Lone Star State.

Recruitment to Watch:

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 still somewhat of a new 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:

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

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