C.J. Parks

Evaluations of Prospects at UCLA Camps

June 6 -- There were probably just as many UCLA-level prospects watching from the sideline as participating, but UCLA coaches got good looks at a couple of offensive linemen, a linebacker with big upside, a promising running back, and more...

UCLA had a 7-on-7 event on Saturday, and then two camps on Sunday -- the Post-Graduate Camp and the Skills Camp.  There were probably more prospect to watch standing on the sideline those that participated, but the Skills Camp had a good turnout, of probably over 450 campers. 

It was a long day, though, on Sunday, with the Post-Grad camp starting at 12:00, and then the Skills Camp running from 3:00 to 7:00. 

As it's been reported, coaches from other schools were also in attendance and coaching at the camp, including those from Wisconsin, Northwestern, Wyoming, San Jose State, Fresno State, and a few more. 


Perhaps the most notable 2018 prospect that attended but didn't participate was Missouri City (Tex.) Ridge Point's Mustapha Muhammad, The No. 3-ranked tight end in the nation was on campus Saturday, and the coaches spent a long time talking to him and taking him on a campus tour. Muhammad participated in UCLA's camp last year, so this is his second visit to campus. He was also on USC's campus Saturday, and the word is that he's seriously considering both schools, and also Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Texas and others, and that UCLA has as good a chance as any.  


One of the more interesting developments with receiver recruiting was also happening on the sideline, as UCLA commit Chris Steele, a 2019 cornerback, spent a good deal of time speaking with four-star  2018 Buena Park wideout Devon Cooley, who showed up to watch after turning in a good performance at the USC Rising Stars Camp earlier in the day (Word of clarification on Cooley particpating at USC and just watching at UCLA: it's natural for prospects to participate in the camp of the school they don't have an offer from, and it's a good sign that they still make an appearance at the school that has offered them). Cooley got some one-on-one time with WR coach Jimmie Dougherty after the camp and seemed to be all ears when UCLA senior Mossi Johnson approached him during the event. According to a source, Cooley intends to make it back to campus June 23rd for UCLA's elite camp -- the same event that earned Cooley the offer from then-position coach Eric Yarber. The thought is that, even with an offer,  he wants to make an impression on the new members of the staff. Cooley had UCLA atop his list since picking up the offer but has been looking around in recent months, with plans to take some out-of-state visits this summer.


We have to give the coaches from Northwestern some credit, talking with Chris Steele after the camp for a while -- recruiting a UCLA-committed prospect on UCLA's campus. Obviously, it's what they're allowed to do and that's going to happen in this kind of camp environment. 

Two 2018 offensive line offerees who worked out at USC and then attended UCLA's camp were Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman three-star center Jacob Isaia and Marco Brewer, Both spent time  with offensive line coach Hank Fraley. Fraley had two offensive line prospects at Sunday's camp, despite it being a skills camp (more below) and both Isaia and Brewer paid close attention to Fraley during his instruction. Isaia was a top OL performer at the USC camp, but doesn't hold an offer from the Trojans. We know that UCLA likes Brewer quite a bit. 


To our knowledge, only one prospect at the camp received a scholarship offer as a result of his camp performance, and that was 2020 Sammamish (Wash.) Eastside Catholic receiver Gee Scott. Scott was probably the most physically impressive receiver (6-2.5 and 193) in attendance and, though he had a few drops during drills, oozes upside. He should be a national prospect in a couple years.


Two other prospects that probably came close to generating offers as a result of their performances were Riverside (Calif.) Carnegie linebacker Francis Bemiy and Oxnard (Calif.) running back Danny Smith.

Bemiy was impressive, measuring 6-4 and weighing 215. His combo of size and athleticism immediately jumped out, especially with the backdrop of not many other linebacker prospects working out Sunday.  UCLA linebacker coach Scott White talked to Bemiy before the camp, and then singled him out consistently throughout the drills, and spent extra time coaching him up.  Bemiy is very long, but moves extremely well, with great feet and ability to change direction. If there was something he couldn't do though, was catch a football, but other than that he looked like a clear Power 5 level linebacker prospect, if not an elite one.  He was so good that coaches from other schools were approaching him in the drills and offering him a scholarship.  Bemiy spent time with White after the camp in the UCLA offices, seeing the new Wasserman facility and taking a tour of campus.  

Francis Bemiy

Smith was the most impressive running back in the camp, and definitely passes the eye test, at 5-11 and 205. He has a lone offer from Boise State but should probably have more schools on him given what he showed Sunday. Smith has good burst, can change directions quickly and looked very capable as a pass-catcher coming out of the backfield. The Bruins gave him some special attention before and after camp, so he could be one to continue to monitor. Running backs coach DeShaun Foster spent some time with Smith, and people close to Smith said that UCLA was hinting they could offer. 

The only 2018 player participating in the camp with a UCLA offer was C.J. Parks, who picked up an offer from UCLA as an athlete this past spring evaluation period. He worked out at receiver and cornerback, and looked fluid running routes on offense and again showed a reliable set of hands, but the talk continues to be that he might have better upside on the defensive side of the ball given his athleticism and toughness. Still, his versatility would be a plus in this class and we heard Parks had a good chat with Jim Mora after the camp. Parks hopes to make a decision by the end of the summer.


The only other prospect that participated with a UCLA offer was Bishop Gorman cornerback Greg Oliver, a 2019 prospect, and he was one of the better defensive backs. By our count, the only receiver that got the better of him was Puka Nacua (see below), who beat him on a slant up the middle, but other than that Oliver was very impressive. He's still got a slight frame, but his technique is sound and he's got good footwork that allows him to stick receivers without needing to use his hands much. He already held an offer from UCLA heading into camp.


Nathaniel Jones, the 2020 running back from local powerhouse Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, was also impressive. He's a bigger back with some power and, though he's just heading into his sophomore year, runs with assertiveness and confidence. DeShaun Foster offered Jones after seeing him at Bosco's annual spring showcase last month.

Perhaps the other prospect that might be on the verge of getting a UCLA offer that did participate is 2020 Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake tight end Seth Figgins. The sophomore-to-be prospect measured 6-6.5 and 220, and is one of the most fluid young tight ends we've seen in recent years. We know he and his family like UCLA quite a bit, and they were the first in line at the registration table Sunday, with Figgins wearing a UCLA shirt.  Angus McClure, who recruits the Conejo Valley, has been on Figgins for a few months, so that helped give UCLA a head start, which they'll probably need because we'd expect Figgins to be a national-level recruit.  

Seth Figgins

The 2018 Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon three-star quarterback Zachary Wilson was terrific all afternoon, making throws of all lengths and hitting his receivers in stride. He showed great anticipation in one-on-one battles, beat defenders over the top but also managed to step into some of his throws and dissect coverages in 7-on-7. Boise State offered earlier in the day and he's set to visit Arizona State, UNC and South Carolina this coming week, so his recruitment has taken off a bit now that some quarterbacks have made their decisions. It's safe to say that the Bruins would be in the conversation if they were in the market for a second quarterback in the 2018 class. Remember, a main selling point that worked in UCLA's favor in the battle for Dorian Thompson-Robinson was the plan to take just one quarterback this year, while Michigan wanted two regardless.

So UCLA looks to 2019 for quarterbacks, and there were a few competing Sunday.

Dylan Morris from Graham (Wash.) Graham Kapowsin showed off his strong arm and accuracy, and he's fresh off his MVP performance at The Opening Oakland. But it's worrisome that he's just 5-11.5 and a bit thick at 195 pounds, and looks like he's not going to get any taller.  

Jacob Conover of Chandler (Ariz.) and Cade McNamara both throw nice balls with relatively strong arms, but are on the smaller side, both about 6-0.5 and 185. Kijjon Foots of nearby Downey is someone to watch, showing good athleticism and a nice arm, and he looks like he has a body that could grow considerably, while only 6-0.5 and 160 pounds currently. 

Between guys like Conover, McNamara and Foots, it could come down to who, over the next year, gets to Power 5-quarterback size.  We saw McNamara get some extra time with coaches in the Acosta Center. 


Bryce Young, the 2020 prospect from Los Angeles Cathedral, who has mid-level D-1 offers and one from Utah, had a good day, but his size also continues to be his bugaboo, at 5-11 and 175. 

Jake Garcia, the Long Beach Poly product, probably had the most upside among the 2020 quarterbacks, throwing a very sharp ball with some nice accuracy downfield, and he was a very young-looking 6-1 and 172 pounds.  

Aaron McLaughlin, from Buford (Ga.) is already pretty well-known and he hasn't taken a high school snap yet, on the verge of being a high school freshman with Power 5 offers, including one from UCLA.  McLaughlin is 6-4 and 210, but still thin, with the type of body and frame you think will fill out well. He throws a strong ball, while his mechanics are still a work in progress. Just eye-balling him, you'd have to wonder if he actually is the right age for being a rising freshman in high school. 

Hamish McClure, the son of UCLA coach Angus McClure, is a 2018 QB at Crespi, and throws a great ball, but is just 5-11. Having a D-1 arm, it makes sense for him to walk on at UCLA.  

Orem (Utah) 2019 prospect Puka Nacua was a receiver that really stood out. He made some tremendous catches in traffic, repeatedly beat corners down field and controlled his body well to create space at the point of attack. He high pointed the ball well and was one of the more competitive players in the camp, which is no surprise given that he's the younger brother of former BYU and current Cleveland Browns safety Kai Nacua. He's got Arizona, BYU and Utah offers early on but should have plenty more on the list by this time next year. UCLA receiver and guest coach Jordan Lasley was clearly very impressed with Nacua throughout the session, flinging his bucket hat in the air after receptions and chasing down the 6-foot-2, 180-pound prospect for emphatic chest bumps.


One under-the-radar prospect that caught our eye was 2019 receiver Tyler Hudson out of Spring (Texas) Klein Oak. He was about 6-1 and 170, and he caught nearly everything that was thrown his way and was getting open fairly easy throughout the afternoon.

2020 receiver Johnny Wilson from Calabasas, Calif., was in attendance but didn't participate. He did watch the receivers all camp, spent time with fellow Pro Way teammate Steele and shadowed Dougherty from time to time. UCLA is among his six early offers and should be considered an early favorite.

As we said, there were a couple of offensive line prospects that participated, and UCLA coach Fraley had them in a little isolated area of the IM Field: Liam Douglass, from Harvard-Westlake, and Alec Anderson, from Etiwanda.  On one hand it was great for Douglass and Anderson that they got so many preps with Fraley, but they were over with quickly since they were taking so many reps between the two of them. 

Alex Anderson, UCLA coach Hank Fraley, Liam Douglass

Douglass and Anderson were both about 6-4 and 275, and fairly athletic. Douglass showed that he can run really well, and both displayed good feet in Fraley's drills. It didn't appear that either did enough to be on the verge of earning a UCLA scholarship, mostly because UCLA is looking for 6-6+ tackle types, or huge inside roadgraders, and neither clearly fit that bill.  Douglass has an offer from Cal, while Anderson has offers from Utah, Colorado, Oregon State and Washington State. 

Besides Bemiy at linebacker, perhaps the guy to watch is 2019 Rialto (Calif.) Carter's Devonta Bridges. He had good size at 6-1.5 and 205, and showed good mobility and instincts, even though still raw.  Scott White showed him some coaching attention in the drills. 

Jalani Ellison participated with his Reseda (Calif.) high school team in the 7-on-7 Saturday, and the UCLA coaches quickly were huddling around his game after he made some big plays on both offense as a receiver and defense as a cornerback.  Ellison looked to be about 5-11 and 190 pounds, with some considerable speed, instincts and ball skills. It will be interesting to see if UCLA starts recruiting him.

The other prospect that stood out in Saturday's 7-on-7 was Lancaster (Calif.) Antelope Valley 2019 defensive end/tight end Dylan Hall.  Hall is 6-5-ish and 225, with the type of exact body you'd like for a kid at the end of his junior year. He looked naturally agile playing tight end in the 7-on-7, but he told us afterward that his real position is defensive end.  With the type of explosion and quickness he showed playing tight end it definitely would translate. He's teammates with 2018 UCLA receiver target Devon Williams (who didn't participate since he was on an unofficial visit to Alabama for the weekend), so Hall has been on UCLA's radar.  

Dylan Hall

In attendance at camp was 2019 St. John Bosco offensive guard prospect Marist Talavou, who we've heard likes UCLA.  He has offers from Arizona State, Oklahoma, and Oregon. 

We've also heard that UCLA has some interest in Notre Dame graduate transfer Colin McGovern, who decided not to transfer to Virginia (read the story here.)  McGovern started some for Notre Dame, and he'd almost certainly be considered more depth at UCLA's guard positions for the 2017 season.  

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