Tommy Togiai

UA Camp: Analysis of UCLA Defensive Recruits

Feb. 21 -- We go in-depth in our analysis of the UCLA prospects that participated in the Los Angeles Under Armour All-American Camp Sunday, including a good group of defensive linemen UCLA has offered... It was a talented camp overall and, with Under Armour only allowing 200 or so campers, it made it far better scouting with more rep opportunities for all participants.

On defense, there were a number of UCLA offerees at all three levels -- defensive line, linebacker and defensive back. 

We have to admit -- UCLA has its work cut out for it recruiting the 2018 cycle coming off a 4-8 season while USC had the feel-good Rose Bowl win. UCLA needs to have a clearly successful 2017 season and hopefully it will get back in a strong position in 2018 recruiting.  

With the 2017 class, UCLA did well in defensive recruiting and poorly on offense, as you might suspect.  For the 2018 class, UCLA has some elite guys it's leading for on offense, but it doesn't appear to be leading for many elite prospects on defense.  That was kind of evident Sunday, with many of the elite defensive prospects at the camp not necessarily leaning toward UCLA early. 


The best defensive lineman on the day, Tommy Togiai was the quickest and ran the best among all the interior DL, and showed great nimbleness in the one-on-ones.  He still looks pretty lean and told us that he weighed 290 pounds, which is a great place for an interior DL's body to be at the end of his junior year in high school.  He probably projects to the three-technique, not really being that stout nose type.  We spoke to him (interview coming soon) and it sounded like Washington and USC were leading for him, but we know that UCLA defensive line coach Angus McClure has been in serious contact with him lately. Irving is intriguing, with a huge body, probably 6-3 and 300+, good strength and some considerable quickness for a guy his size. Remember, UCLA offered him after his performance at the UCLA camp last June.  Since, however, Irving hasn't gotten another offer, and it's probably because he didn't have a great junior season tape. And now that we saw him in person, we can probably guess why. Irving needs some coaching.  Instead of playing like a nose tackle, he was trying to be a defensive end, and while he showed some nimbleless for a body that size, he was spinning and turning against OLs in the one-on-ones when he should have been going more directly at them.  There is a great deal to work with, however, and we're sure UCLA would absolutely take him because of those basic talents -- and you just can't teach that size. In a way it's good Irving didn't have an overly impressive junior season tape, since it's kept other programs from offering and UCLA might be able to get him before they truly discover him.

It was probably a tie between Draco Bynum and Cameron Latu for the best defensive end prospect at the camp. If you were going to build a high school defensive end prospect, you'd probably start with a blueprint that looks pretty close to Bynum, who is about 6-5 and 245, with a good build on a wide frame and long arms.  He also ran and moved very well.  He's probably projects more to a strongside DE like Rick Wade than he is a razor type like Jaelan Phillips,  but he showed a good amount of quickness, and combined it with good strength and some cleverness in one-on-ones. You can expect McClure to be all over him.

Cameron Latu is 1A. Like Bynum, he has very good size and considerable quickness. He is a good 6-4 and probably 235, and probably a little narrower than Bynum but perhaps a slight bit quicker laterally. He was very aggressive and physical in the one-on-ones, used his body well to leverage his blocker, and won just about every one of his reps.  Latu also spent a good amount of time on UCLA's campus, and a few hours with McClure.

Abdul-Malik McClain has a UCLA offer but is still fairly unknown. He's a little smallish at this point (probably 6-2.5 and 225) in his development but has a good frame to hold more weight. He showed some good athleticism in the drills.

If there's a fairly under-recruited defensive lineman in 2018 at this point it would be Samuela Tuihalamaka.  He might have been the second best nose tackle type at the camp behind Togiai, at about 6-3 and 280, and a frame that will easily hold 25 more pounds.  He's been thought of as an OL a bit, too, but after Sunday we think he's clearly a defensive tackle.  He had a good first step in one-on-ones and looked strong.  As of right now, we don't think many schools have been recruiting him, but you can probably expect UCLA and others to start.

Tennessee Pututau is a tweener, yes, at about 6-2 and 220 -- with the size of a linebacker but the game of a defensive end.  We think, though, he has a real chance as a situational pass rusher, looking really explosive in one-on-ones, and just being too quick for the tackles to contain. His body, too, looks like it could easily put on 25 more pounds in college.  He has a good list of offers, and we know UCLA likes him quite a bit.

Paul Maile is a defensive tackle but has some uncertainty about him -- being probably 250 pounds and fairly narrow, which means he might not be able to put on more weight.  For that size, too, we thought he should have been able to dominate the bigger linemen with quickness, but that wasn't the clear case. He did beat some guys, but also got out-quicked at times.  We know Maile is on UCLA's list, and he has some Power 5 offers.

There were a few moments when Samson Reed looked like a top-level Pac-12 player, but then he'd have a few pretty pedestrian reps.  As a defensive end, in the drills his foot speed just didn't stand out.

We really liked 2019 defensive end prospect Keyon Ware-Hudson on Sunday.  He was among those with the quickest edge moves and most aggressive hand work.  He's probably just 6-2 at this time, a pretty thick 235ish, but has a pretty wide frame, one that could easily get to 250 after a couple of years in college.  UCLA has offered, as has many other programs.  USC is the early favorite. 

The no shows --  Jeremiah Martin, and Elijah Wade -- were particularly disappointing, since those two were headliners for the event. 


Adrian Jackson was probably the No. 1 linebacker prospect Sunday, combining great size (at 6-2+), length, a great frame and quickness. His foot speed stood out in the drills, and he looked very natural in coverage during the one-on-ones, since he's played safety. Of course, in a camp environment you don't get to see how aggressive a linebacker is defending against the run and popping a running back, so there's a little bit of uncertainty there.  He has offers from everyone in the west but right now in-state Colorado leads.  The Buffs are finally getting some traction with recruits after last season.

We thought that Reggie Hughes also showed very good athleticism in the drills, and followed that up with a good performance in the one-on-ones.  He's probably 6-1 and 210 right now, with a body that could easily put on 25 more pounds of muscle, and we think he could play either outside linebacker or inside, showing some inside linebacker instincts.  He was an early offeree for UCLA, and other schools are jumping on, but he loves UCLA at this point.

Eli'jah Winston was intriguing, with a great body -- probably 6-2+ and 230ish.  He looked good in the drills for a guy his size, but then was a bit lost in coverage in the one-on-ones. He's played a lot of stand-up end in high school and he showed Sunday that he's very comfortable in that role, and he probably very well might end up a situational pass-rushing hybrid in college.  UCLA offered him right after the camp. 

Eli'jah Winston (Under Armour)

Salua Masina might have put in the best performance by a linebacker in coverage, breaking up a number of passes with great instincts, closing ability and long arms.  At about 6-4 and 210, he's a little narrow, and probably has a limit of how much weight he could hold, but to be able to be so effective in coverage at 6-4 makes him a very valuable prospect.  Of course, his brother went to USC, but that didn't end well, so we think the younger Masina won't end up there. What better place to be than at the crosstown rival?

Masina and Solomon Tuliaupupu are similar in size and style, with Tuliaupupu not quite as long as Masina, but with a wider frame that is probably more capable of putting on weight.  Tuliaupupu was just about as good in coverage as Masina, and had some great moments in one-on-ones.  The hope here is that with Palaie Gaoteote, the No. 1 outside linebacker in the country, verbally committing to USC, it may keep Tuliaupupu from USC, but that's unlikely

We have to admit we didn't get to watch Merlin Robertson much, but from what we saw he didn't jump off the field.  He's probably 6-1 and 210, and was moderately athletic. We're skeptical UCLA will ever show much interest in a Serra player unless he expresses a life-long love for UCLA (like Bryan Addison, above).

UCLA recently offered Raymond Scott, the USC verbal commit at Harbor City Narbonne.  Scott generally looked good at the UA camp, with good mobility. He doesn't have a big frame so there's some question at how big he could get, at about 6-1 and 210 right now. In the one-on-ones he got beat a few times but had his moments.  


If there was a position at the camp that really had some top-end talent, it was probably defensive back. It wasn't as deeply talented as the wide receivers, but probably more elite prospects.

You could make a case that Steve Stephens was the best overall DB at the camp, but we couldn't get over how good Olaijah Griffin looked in the drills. His feet were lightning quick, and it really served him well in the one-on-ones. What we particularly like about Griffin is not only his speed and quickness, but that he can be very physical against receivers without committing a penalty.  While others his age like to hold and tug, he has it down to an art form on how to bump, shove and harrass without doing that. He's one of our favorites in this class, so we're pretty sad we're hearing he's leaning heavily to USC.

Steve Stephens is one of those guys that you just love to watch.  He's not overly big physically, about 6-0 and 175, built more like a cornerback than a safety, but instead of that limiting him at either spot -- corner or safety -- it enables him to play both at a high level.  In the half-skelly he patrolled the field with a sense that he knew where the ball was going, but in the one-on-ones he was one of the best cover guys on the day. He seems like the perfect guy for UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin, who loves position versatility.

Bryan Addison might have been the revelation of the defensive campers. When you first see him, you wonder how he could play safety when he's 6-3+ and 165 pounds.  But he showed good quickness in the drills and in the passing periods he was around the ball the entire day, actually picking off a few or getting his long arms out to knock down many.  He said UCLA was his dream school growing up and the Bruins offered right after the camp.

He's the No. 1-ranked corner in the west, and you can see why.  Isaac Taylor-Stuart is all of 6-1 and filled out perfectly for a junior in high school, and he had some very good quickness for his size, playing like a guy much smaller.  There were a few times that the quicker receivers got him in one-on-ones, but he won most of his reps.

Ely Doyle also looks like another position-versatile guy. At 6-1 and probably 190-ish, he looks like a safety, and that's probably where he'll end up in college. He'll probably continue to get bigger and play that role of the linebacker-safety hybrid you see in nickels.  What was pretty impressive, though, was that for his size he had decent cover skills.  UCLA recently offered him.

The sophomore verbally committed to UCLA was one of the best overall DBs on the day.  He's pretty big, at about 6-1 and 180, and he projects as a safety, but was good in coverage. What stood out was his athleticism and speed, in both the drills and one-on-ones. UCLA has a very good one in this early verbal. 

Bruin Report Online Top Stories