This is a crucial year for UCLA coach Jim Mora and the Bruin football program.
Mora heads into his sixth year in Westwood, coming off the Bruins' worst season since 2010 and the least successful campaign under Mora.
Wholesale changes were made on the offensive staff, with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (Jedd Fisch) as well as new running backs coach (DeShaun Foster), receivers coach (Jimmie Dougherty) and offensive line coach (Hank Fraley). The edict is simple: produce on offense and recruit better.
UCLA's 2017 class was pretty solid, considering it was coming off a 4-8 season. But it was not great on the offensive side of the ball, and that follows since UCLA's offense in 2016 wasn't a great recruiting calling card. The new offense UCLA puts on the field of Fisch and Co. looks to change that for the 2018 class.
The recruiting board changed as a result of the May evaluation period, with UCLA extending a good amount of offers.
As of right now, the Bruins hold eight commitments in the 2018 class -- four on offense and four on defense.
UCLA is indicating that, with the commitment of Dorian Thompson-Robinson, it will only take one quarterback in the 2018 class. Thompson-Robinson even said that UCLA told him they were just bringing in one quarterback in this class. There is one exception -- Tanner McKee, who will take his Mormon mission out of high school and essentially be part of the 2020 class. If Tanner McKee wanted to come, they'd take him, since he wouldn't enroll until 2020.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman - COMMITTED
Thompson-Robinson made no bones about his interest in UCLA and the Bruins stayed on him in the transition from Marques Tuiasosopo, who offered him last summer, to Jedd Fisch, who recruited him when he was at Michigan. Thompson-Robinson already had an established relationship with Fisch so when he made the move to UCLA, it was a seamless transition, and perhaps enhanced that relationship even more. After racking up 30-plus offers, Thompson-Robinson committed to the Bruins in mid-April, the Bruins' highest rated prospect in this class and big win for Fisch, especially beating out Michigan and Jim Harbaugh. What makes Thompson-Robinson so intriguing is that he picked up over 30 offers despite not being the starter at Bishop Gorman. Backing up Tate Martell, he played quarterback in a limited role on Friday nights, but was active in hitting camps and 7v7 tournaments to show off his arm. There will be questions about how it translates to Fridays, especially since he's played sparingly, but the talent is there. He could end up even higher in the ratings when it's all said and done if he has a big year, because right now, he's rated based almost all on upside. But its clear his best football is ahead of him. Thompson-Robinson was excellent at the recent Elite 11 Finals and earned a spot in The Opening Finals later this month in Beaverton.
Tanner McKee, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
McKee had as good a season as any quarterback in the West did last fall in his first season as the starter for the Huskies. He's a big quarterback, at 6-6, but is pretty dangerous with his legs to go with his arm. He's attracted national attention and visited a number of schools during the spring, including UCLA. McKee would sign in February, but he won't enroll until the fall of 2020 since he's planning to serve his LDS mission right out of high school. That makes him an ideal second quarterback for UCLA to take -- it would let the coaches stagger their quarterbacks and still sign two big-time prospects. That said, UCLA will have their work cut out for them, since McKee is coveted by many. There is a lot of buzz for BYU too, given his LDS ties. He too was excellent at the Elite 11 Finals and will be headed to The Opening Finals as well.
Other Names to Know:
Zachary Wilson, Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon (Boise State Commit)
Jamarye Joiner, 6-3, 200, Vail (Ariz.) Cienega
Jeff Miller, 6-6, 228, Murrieta (Calif.) Mesa
Hamish McClure, 6-0, 180, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
RUNNING BACKS (2)
UCLA didn't sign a running back in 2017 so new running backs coach DeShaun Foster would like to bring in at least two this class. Fortunately, the Bruins have offered a number of prospects, both locally and nationally, which will help since UCLA had its committed prospect, Carter, decommit in June.
Chris Brown, Oceanside (Calif.) El Camino
Brown starred at UCLA's Bruin Elite Camp last summer and was offered by Kennedy Polamalu. But when Polamalu was let go immediately after the season, communication had slowed down. That was fixed, though, in January, when Foster was hired. He immediately prioritized Brown and had him up for an unofficial visit in February. Scott White, who is from San Diego and recruits that area, and Foster met with Brown and made a big impression. Brown is a similar back to Foster -- a power back, between the tackles type -- and Foster made that comparison to Brown, which wasn't lost on him. Interestingly enough, Brown has been working out at linebacker for much of the offseason, and did a lot of linebacker on the 7v7 circuit and White might be seeing some potential there as his collegiate position, so UCLA could end up recruiting Brown as a jumbo athlete, capable of playing running back or linebacker.
A.J. Carter, Many (La.)
Carter recently decommitted from UCLA and committed to LSU. It happened after Carter performed at an LSU camp and got a Tiger offer. Carter was originally recruited by Foster when he was at Texas Tech and the relationship continued when Foster returned home to his alma mater. Carter visited in mid-April and committed to the Bruins on his trip. UCLA will continue to recruit him and see if the Foster/Carter relationship can offset the attraction of playing for the local powerhouse.
Andrew Van Buren, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade
Van Buren was offered by the Bruins in late February and it was an offer that he had hoped to get, being a Southland native. Van Buren was the backup running back at Chaminade last fall behind T.J. Pledger, who UCLA recruited but committed to Oklahoma, but with Pledger's move to IMG, Van Buren will be their primary back. His running back coach, who also coached Pledger, said the Eagles shouldn't skip a beat with Van Buren now their back, though he's a different style back than Pledger. Van Buren also likes Colorado and Boise State, both who've had success at Chaminade in the past and they, along with UCLA, comprise his semi-top three. But with Carter, UCLA may have the power back they need, so a speedier back (in a class full of power backs and lacking that speed back in numbers) could be the next focus.
Devon Lawrence, Wake Forest (N.C.)
Lawrence named a top five in mid-May and UCLA made the cut with four other schools, all from the South. The Bruins joined Clemson, Georgia, LSU and North Carolina in Lawrence's top five but the 5-11, 203-pounder said the Bruins will get a visit from him this summer as soon as he hammers down a date with DeShaun Foster. He then plans to visit LSU while on the road.
Lentivone Lesane, Hialeah Gardens (Fla.) Mater Academy
Lesane is planning to visit UCLA this summer after being offered by the Bruins earlier in the spring and has already developed a good relationship with DeShaun Foster. Lesane also has an offer from Utah out of the Pac-12 but is hoping for some offers from the South where he's from. Lesane is also a track star and plans to do both in college.
Lavonte Valentine, Melbourne (Fla.) Central Catholic
Valentine is another speedster out of Florida but he does have offers from some SEC programs, like Florida and LSU and the Gators have already had him on campus for an unofficial visit which left a big impression on him. He's also fond of Notre Dame, which offered him in May. He may visit UCLA in the summer, but looks like, for now, he's focusing on Southern schools.
Next Tier to Watch:
Danny Smith, Oxnard (Calif.)
Smith just performed in front of the UCLA coaches Sunday at the Elite Camp, and looked good. He's a well put-together kid, with a good frame and some width, and he showed good quickness and explosion. To date, he has an offer from only Boise State, but we'd expect him to garner more by the end of the summer, and probably some from the Pac-12. We think UCLA was considering offering him as a result of the camp, but it could be a case where they want to see a few games of his senior season.
Jahmir Smith, Sanford (N.C.) Lee County
The three-star back has 30+ offers with a top three of Duke, Northwestern and Clemson, so the talent and the academics are there. He's visiting USC for their Rising Stars Camp at the end of June (the Trojans have offered) but he has said that he wants to visit UCLA while he's in Southern California and cited the academics of UCLA why his interest level is high. If he visits, UCLA could extend an offer to him.
Toa Taua, Lompoc (Calif.)
Taua is the younger brother of UCLA junior defensive tackle Ainuu Taua, but he's the smallest of the family and will play running back in college. Taua was the RB MVP at the L.A. Opening but, right now, UCLA isn't really recruiting him, while Cal is. Nevada is also on his short list, and his oldest brother, Vai, was one of the finest backs the Pack have ever had.
Other Names to Know:
Chuck Wick, 5-11, 180, Ventura (Calif.)
Jermar Jefferson, 5-11, 198, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne
Richard Newton, 6-1, 185, Palmdate (Calif.)
After not signing a receiver in the 2017 class, UCLA made a change at the receivers coach position, bringing in Jimmie Dougherty as Eric Yarber left for the Los Angeles Rams. UCLA has been recruiting the receiver position in 2018, though, pretty aggressively, with Yarber before (he focused more on the 2018 class, which is deeper and more talented), and now with Dougherty. In fact, Dougherty offered a number of these receivers while he was at Oregon. So the pre-existing relationships are there. UCLA needs to sign at least three and, possibly four, from this class.
Kyle Philips, San Marcos (Calif.) -COMMITTED
Philips committed to UCLA as part of a big weekend for the Bruins, when they also landed Carter and Thompson-Robinson. The four-star has been outstanding all spring on a loaded 7v7 roster with a number of Scout 300 receivers. Many people thought Utah was in the driver's seat for him, since he's close friends with Utes' quarterback commit Jack Tuttle. But Dougherty did a tremendous job with Phillips and the Bruins landed a sure-handed receiver who has impressed the Scout staff every time they've seen him.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
St. Brown is the No. 1 receiver in the country, but right now, UCLA has their work cut out for them, with Stanford, where his brother Osiris signed in February, and Notre Dame, where the oldest, Equanimeous, plays, standing out along with USC. UCLA didn't really put much effort into Equanimeous (understandably so at the time) or Osiris, and that has hurt the Bruins, but they got him on campus a couple of times during the spring and they're starting to make up some ground with the five-star. Thompson-Robinson told us St. Brown is one of the receivers he has his eyes on and their teams are set to face off during a highly anticipated matchup in Orange County this fall. But before then, the two will be on the same team at The Opening Finals (then again, so will Matt Corral) so we'll see who is a better recruiter from the get-go.
Jalen Hall, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Hall was first offered by UCLA three years ago before he started his freshman year at Hawkins. But USC has two of his former Hawkins teammates signed in the 2017 class, has a commitment from a 2018 teammate and a 2019 teammate. Hall is far more open to UCLA than Joseph Lewis was, but UCLA still is likely on the outside looking in for him. He just transferred to Poly, too, where he's now teaming up with USC quarterback commit Matt Corral.
Chase Cota, Medford (Ore.) South
Cota on the other hand, is high on UCLA's board, with Dougherty building that relationship with him early on in his time at Oregon, and Cota visited last month and loved his visit. He's got a number of Pac-12 offers and Notre Dame got in the mix last month and had him for an unofficial visit. Cota has visited UCLA three times this spring and the relationship with Dougherty and with Mora has been a key part of their recruitment. His father played at Oregon, so the Ducks are going to be hard to beat, but he also played for Mora's father in Indianapolis, so that gives the Bruins some hope. On the first day of the eval period that UCLA coaches went out after spring ball, Dougherty went to see Cota at his school and went again the last week of spring ball.
Devon Cooley, Buena Park (Calif.)
Cooley is one of the receivers that UCLA is doing the best with and their offer to him last summer left a big impression. Cooley was one of the standouts at the UCLA Elite Camp in June, after starting with the younger group and then being moved to the main group. Yarber offered him after that camp and Demetrice Martin went to watch him in the fall when seeing Elijah Gates. Cooley also picked up an offer from Oregon when Dougherty was there and his move to UCLA only helped the Bruins and Cooley has said on numerous occasions, UCLA is one of his favorites. He was at the UCLA Skills Camp on Sunday to spend time with Dougherty and the Bruin coaches but he plans to return to the Elite Camp at the end of the month to work out with Dougherty and in front of the majority of the new offensive staff.
Devon Williams, Lancaster (Calif.) Antelope Valley
Williams has been one of the standouts this spring after being a bit overshadowed last fall by teammates Moses Robinson-Carr and Morrell Osling. Those teammates, though, both signed with UCLA, and the Bruins were one of the first schools to offer Williams and that left a huge impression on him. So, too, did his teammates signing with the Bruins. Throw in that his head coach, Jermaine Lewis, is a former Bruin running back, who split time in the backfield with current Bruin running backs coach Deshaun Foster, and UCLA has a lot of ties to Williams. Alabama hosted Williams for an unofficial visit over the weekend and it went well, but with several players of Williams' ability on Bama's board, will they press for a commitment from a West Coast kid when they have others from the South? That's what UCLA will have to watch for.
Geordon Porter, Etiwanda (Calif.)
Porter has blown up this spring as more people are seeing the speedster as a true receiving threat. His father was a world-level runner at USC and his older brother Grant plays at Washington State. Dougherty recruited Grant when he was at San Jose State and built a good relationship with him and the family when he was there before he picked WSU. But that pre-established relationship with the Porters has helped with Geordon, who has been offered by Alabama and Georgia among others this spring. He ran a 4.5 40 on a slow surface at The Opening Los Angeles and was a top five runner that day. He visited UCLA last week and had a good time meeting with Dougherty and the Bruins are very much in the mix for him.
Khalil Shakir, Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta
Shakir has been another true standout this spring, shining at just about every event we've seen him. UCLA was a big offer for him and one he coveted and UCLA is one of his two favorites (along with Arizona State and Arizona). He plays for ProWay, which is coached by Darick Holmes, the father of UCLA freshman Darnay Holmes. The addition of Phillips does give UCLA one of their smaller, quicker receivers, but Shakir is a talent that they likely would still take if he wanted to come.
Nikko Remigio, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Remigio was offered shortly by Eric Yarber after the Bruin Elite Camp and UCLA has stayed on his short list, but its uncertain how aggressively the Bruins are even recruiting him, with Phillips already committed and UCLA wanting his Mater Dei teammate, C.J. Parks (recruiting as an athlete) and Shakir a bit more.
Isaah Crocker, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum
Crocker has emerged as one of the top prospects in Northern California, with offers from all over, including USC and Notre Dame. His teammate and close friend, Josh Falo, signed with USC earlier this spring, but Crocker has said that UCLA was one of his top schools. The school to watch for, though, is Cal, which is close to home and his childhood favorite. He recently named his top eight and UCLA was included on it. He's visited UCLA twice, both when in the Southland for 7v7 tournaments but the feeling we got from The Opening Oakland was that Oregon and Oregon State are the frontrunners with Cal also involved.
Solomon Enis, Phoenix (Ariz.) North Canyon
Enis was offered by UCLA in the fall after Bruin coaches went to see him play. And there is a connection with Enis too on the Bruin staff. His father, Curtis Enis, was an All-American running back at Penn State, when Tom Bradley was an assistant for the Nittany Lions. He's visited unofficially already this spring. The Nittany Lions, though, are a school he's strongly considering and he also likes Arizona State and USC quite a bit. Bradley made it a point, though, to see Enis right away, stopping in Phoenix in early Mat to check in on him.
Tommy Bush, Schertz (Texas) Samuel Clemens
The four-star has offers from all over the country but told Scout in May that he plans to get out to the West at the end of the summer and specifically said he'll visit UCLA along with Cal and Stanford. He's got almost 50 offers and its from a who's who of schools, with a number of SEC and Big 12 schools prominent, so if he actually does make the visit West, UCLA will know its a legitimate factor in his recruitment.
Andre Hunt, Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete
Hunt was offered early in the cycle by UCLA but they haven't spent as much time on him as others and Hunt is favoring USC as it is, so don't be surprised if UCLA continues to focus on others and not recruit him.
Miles Battle, Houston (Texas) Cypress Creek
Battle has UCLA on his short list, along with Oregon, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss and LSU. The Bruins are really trying with him, and went to see him during the spring evaluation period.
Next Tier to Watch:
Jalen Nailor, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Nailor was a player we've liked all spring and one we liked last summer at UCLA's Elite Camp, when he camped with his Gorman teammates, Thompson-Robinson and Brevin Jordan. With offers out to a number of other receivers, though, it may be unlikely one makes its way to Nailor.
J.R. Justice, San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine
Justice also shined at UCLA's camp last summer, but the Bruins have yet to offer. Much of it is because of uncertainty where he projects at the next level. They'll keep an eye on him and he's still interested in the Bruins despite no offer.
Tuni Fifita, Milpitas (Calif.)
Fifita plays for Maurice Jones-Drew's 7v7 team and is a player on UCLA's radar, but with bigger receivers like Michael Ezekie on their list, Fifita may be out because of numbers.
Other Names to Know:
Kundarrius Taylor, 6-1, 190, Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway - OFFERED
Jalen Jordan, 6-5, 210, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy - OFFERED
Elijah Moore, 5-10, 160, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas - OFFERED
Daniel Arias, 6-4, 190, Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson
John Jackson, 6-2, 200, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Kenden Robinson, 6-3, 175, Alameda (Calif.)
TIGHT ENDS (1)
A year ago, UCLA needed tight ends badly. Then they signed Jimmy Jaggers and Moses Robinson-Carr and saw Caleb Wilson emerge as a legitimate starter type last season. And with Devin Asiasi transferring to UCLA (he'll more than likely sit out the 2017 season, depending on his appeal), the Bruins went from desperately needing tight ends to now having a surplus. And there is a case to be made that Asiasi was the most impressive player on offense in the spring, so when he's eligible, whether it is this fall or more likely next, expect him to be utilized immediately. They still will try to bring in at least one tight end in this class and another big receiver/Y type.
Michael Ezeike, Ontario (Calif.) Colony
Ezeike moved to tight end in the Scout rankings and projects more there now, but he still could come in as a receiver rather than a true tight end, so if UCLA could get him, they'd be thrilled. Ezeike has been one of this spring's bright spots and when UCLA offered, he said it was a dream offer. He visited campus this spring and UCLA is in a good spot for him.
Camren McDonald, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
McDonald was offered by UCLA over a year ago, but they haven't put much emphasis on him, especially with the emergence of Ezeike as their bigger receiver. They'd still take him if he wanted to come, but he's not given many indicators that UCLA is on his real short list, with USC considered the heavy favorite.
Mustapha Muhammad, Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point
Muhammad camped with UCLA last summer and also returned last weekend to the Southland to visit UCLA and USC. The Bruins have stayed on his short list, with Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas and USC, and getting him out for a return visit certainly can't hurt. He spent much of Saturday on the UCLA campus with the coaches.
John FitzPatrick, Atlanta (Ga.) Marista
Fitzpatrick is another prospect from the other side of the country UCLA is recruiting and he will visit the UCLA campus this week for a much-anticipated unofficial. He's checked out a number of schools during the spring and summer. He's visited Georgia a number of times and the in-state program finally offered him in May which helps their chances, but Fitzpatrick has long mentioned UCLA as a factor in his recruitment. His sister goes to UCLA, and he and his parents will be out this weekend to pick her up at the end of the school year, giving FitzPatrick a chance to visit UCLA again. It's believed he could make a decision soon.
Glenn Beal, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian
Beal has expressed legitimate interest in UCLA and cited his friendship with Kenny Young, who played at John Curtis Christian, as a big reason why. He wants to visit Westwood this summer and check out UCLA. He's already visited Alabama and Ole Miss, while LSU is on his list too. But he said he grew up with UCLA as one of his favorite schools so the Bruins have a realistic chance with him. UCLA is also in the mix for Willie Allen, who he also played with at JCC; Allen is now transferring after his freshman year at LSU and took an official visit to UCLA last week.
Next Tier to Watch:
Tae Le, Newport Beach (Calif.) Corona del Mar
Le was a player who we liked at UCLA's Elite Camp last summer and has looked good throughout the spring but he's undersized as a true tight end and isn't quite explosive enough as a receiver to be a priority recruit for the Bruins right now. That said, they'll keep watching him through the spring, summer and fall.
Other Names to Know:
George Takacs, 6-7, 236, Naples (Fla.) Gulf Coast - OFFERED
Kyle Pitts, 6-5, 235, Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood - OFFERED
Parks Gissinger, 6-4, 235, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade
Jake Peters, 6-5, 220, Santa Margarita (Calif.)
OFFENSIVE LINE (4+)
One of the biggest differences in recruiting between new offensive line coach Hank Fraley and former line coach Adrian Klemm has been how many more offers Fraley has made than Klemm. Klemm would focus on a smaller group and recruit them more aggressively while Fraley has made more offers to cast a wider net. Both strategies could work; the development of the players is the key. So that said, there are far more offers out to linemen this year than in previous years, with the emphasis being on Western prospects as opposed to when Klemm would recruit a little more nationally. And the feedback on Fraley from recruits has been pretty positive, with players loving his long NFL career and experience in both college and in the pros. Now Fraley just needs to land a couple key linemen. He's already gotten a grad transfer for this fall in Sunny Odogwu, but he'll have no bearing on this class. He is also looking at the JC and regular transfer market.
Blake McDonald (OT), Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley - COMMITTED
McDonald had an offer from the Bruins in February and took an unofficial visit to Westwood that month and loved his time there. A return visit to Westwood in April, when he took in a spring practice and met at length with Hank Fraley and Jim Mora, swung it in UCLA's direction and he committed to the Bruins on that visit. McDonald had an offer from nearby Cal, but said UCLA was always his dream school and the Bruins won out over the hometown school.
Justin Dedich (C), Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral
Dedich was offered by Klemm last summer at the Bruin Lineman Camp and Fraley quickly reiterated that offer once hired. Dedich has made a case to be the best linemen in the West, period, despite being a true center. He's easily the best center in the country but has to be considered one of the premier linemen nationally, regardless of position. He's a high priority recruit for the Bruins and Fraley and has visited campus since Fraley was hired and hit it off with him. Dedich has over 20 offers, so as his stock continues to rise, UCLA will have to keep recruiting him hard, but they've prioritized him without question.
Jason Dickson, (OT) Diablo Valley (Calif.) College
Dickson, is originally from Southern California, starting out at Corona (Calif.) Santiago, where he primarily was a basketball player. He only started playing football his junior season before moving up to Northern California and playing at Vallejo HS. So he was pretty much an unknown when he went to Diablo Valley JC. Once there, though, Dickson gained weight and started to turn into a prospect. He has now picked up offers from several schools in the Pac-12, including Cal, Utah and Colorado and a number of other Power Five programs. UCLA has been recruiting Dickson for the last several months, and he unofficially visited UCLA this spring. He's also on track to be able to transfer with the right classes from his JC into the UC system.
Willie Allen, (OT) LSU Transfer
Allen was a big target of UCLA when he signed in the 2016 class out of John Curtis Christian, where he played with his close friend Kenny Young. He went to LSU to play for Les Miles but when he was fired and Ed Orgeron was made the permanent head coach, Allen started to look around and he received his release from LSU earlier this month. He visited UCLA last week and then immediately went to Baylor for a visit. We've heard TCU is a school he's high on, which he was in high school, but his release from LSU is preventing him from going there, so the Bruins will have a legitimate chance with him.
Tommy Brown (OT), Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Brown was also offered after the Bruin Linemen Camp last summer and he too was quickly prioritized by Fraley. He visited in February with his teammate Chris Murray and his line coach at Mater Dei is former Bruin lineman Chris Ward. He also attended a couple of UCLA's spring practices to watch Fraley up close. He's hoping for an offer for Alabama (the school his father attended) while being drawn to Auburn, which has offered, as well as Oregon, Cal and Michigan.
Steven Jones (OT), Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral
Jones was probably the third best prospect at UCLA's Lineman Camp last summer, but only Dedich and Brown left with offers. After a good junior year and a good spring, Jones visited UCLA unofficially in March and Fraley offered him then and that was big for Jones, who coveted a Bruin offer. Dedich and Jones aren't officially a package deal but the two have talked about playing together and that offer from Fraley went a long way with him. He's also looking pretty closely at the Oregon schools as well as Washington.
Chris Murray (OG), Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Murray may be overshadowed a bit by his the skill position teammates at Mater Dei and even by Brown on the offensive line but he's emerged this spring as one of the better interior prospects in the Southland. UCLA offered him in February and that was an offer he was hopeful for and the Bruins are doing well with him. Of course, an offer from USC could really change things up for him and he reportedly did well at their camp on Sunday, but right now, Cal is probably the toughest competition for Murray.
Max Barth (OT), Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's
Barth visited UCLA in early March and left with a favorable impression of the Bruins and with Fraley. Two of his teammates on the offensive line at St. Mary's signed with Pac-12 schools (Popo Aumavae/Oregon and Cole Noordgard/Washington) so schools got a chance to see him when recruiting those two. Barth got an early offer from the Bruins but Oregon is the school he's been talking a lot about lately and Cal can't be counted out either.
M.J. Ale (OT), Fife (Wash.)
Ale also visited in March and enjoyed his trip and his time with Fraley and the Bruins are very much a threat for him. Despite playing in Washington, he's only been in America for two years, moving here from Australia, so he doesn't have long ties to the state. That said, Washington signed a Fife prospect in 2014, Kaleb McGary, who starts at right tackle for the Huskies, and the Huskies offered him last month when he was on campus for a spring practice. Right now, it looks like the Huskies, Bruins and two Oregon schools are the ones he's looking at the closest.
Matthew Cindric (OT), Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline
Cindric also is playing in Washington, and he's a Washington native who started opposite Henry Bainivalu, who signed with Washington in February, on the offensive line. He grew up a Washington fan but lacks an offer from the local school, despite having double-digit offers. A Husky offer would be hard to beat, especially being at a school that has sent a number of players there. Cindric visited in May and raved about his trip to UCLA and his time with Fraley.
Penei Sewell (OT), St. George (Utah) Desert Hills
Sewell is the top tackle prospect in the West and landed his first offer a year ago from UCLA. But then when Klemm was let go, there was little communication from UCLA. However, Fraley got in touch with Sewell and he came out and visited in April and UCLA shot right back into the mix for the four-star and has a very realistic shot at him now. He does like USC a lot and they could still be hard to beat, but UCLA is now back in it after being all but eliminated.
Will Craig (OT), Granite Bay (Calif.)
Craig visited UCLA this spring and he's become one of the more heavily recruited prospects in the state. Angus McClure was who offered him but Fraley has followed up and stayed on him. Cal is the school Craig was most impressed with, being closer to home and being his first Pac-12 offer. UCLA though, definitely made a big impression on him on his unofficial so the Bruins are very much in the mix. Oregon has also made a lot of headway with him. Craig was named the OL MVP at The Opening Oakland and since then has added even more offers, including from Washington and Notre Dame, so he's now in no hurry to make a decision.
Miles Owens (OT), Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd
Owens picked up an early offer from the Bruins and it immediately stuck with him and he's said that it puts UCLA on his short list. He then visited last month for spring practice and raved about the campus, the visit, the coaches and Los Angeles and said UCLA was on his very short list. He's an intriguing prospect but we haven't seen him at all this spring because of AAU hoops. He's a basketball player first but started at tackle opposite four-star USC signee Alijah Vera-Tucker and has a lot of upside.
Brandon Mello (OT), Concord (Calif.) Clayton Valley
Mello is another player who played opposite a USC tackle signee, opposite Khalil McKenzie a year ago. He took a visit to UCLA in April and he too raved about it. He struggled quite a bit, though, at The Opening and looks like more of a long term project at this point.
Joey Ramos (OT), Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley
Ramos is on UCLA's short list but likely projects as an inside guy at the next level. He's visited UCLA already this spring and raved about his trip but he's getting a lot of attention from Arizona State and Oregon, which was the dream school growing up.
Matteo Mele (OT), Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic
Mele moved into the Scout 300 earlier this spring and is becoming one of the more hotly pursued offensive linemen in the West. The four-star visited UCLA in March and glowed about the trip, saying that UCLA was among his leaders and would be a factor throughout his recruitment. The Bruins are in the mix with Arizona State, Colorado and Louisville, but Oregon left a big impression on him when he visited in April and could be the team to beat.
Jacob Isaia (OG/C), Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Isaia is the son of former Bruin lineman Sale Isaia and had made no bones about his hopes for a Bruin offer, which he got an unofficial visit in March. His grandfather, though, played at Michigan State, and the Spartans also have offered and that was a big one for him as well. It's likely a battle between those two schools, but UCLA has Bishop Gorman teammate Thompson-Robinson recruiting him daily so that's certainly something to monitor.
Rafiti Ghirmai (OT), Frisco (Texas) Wakeland
Ghirmai is a national recruit, but he took an unofficial visit to UCLA in the spring and enjoyed his time and spoke highly of Fraley and Westwood. In fact, Ghirmai enjoyed the trip so much, he's planning to return to campus later this month when he's in Los Angeles for a graduation. UCLA will have to work against schools like Alabama and Texas, but the unofficial visit earlier this spring went a long way with him.
Junior Angilau (OG) Salt Lake City (Utah) East
Angilau was offered by UCLA the first week of May when Angus McClure was in Utah to see his teammate and Bruin target, Sam Vakalahi. In fact, Angilau said the offer from UCLA likely gets him and Vakalahi on to campus this summer for an unofficial visit and Angilau noted the location of UCLA and the weather as a consideration for them. He's the No. 3 rated guard in the West in this class.
Marco Brewer (OG), Corvallis (Ore.)
Brewer took an unofficial to UCLA in April but left without an offer. That changed in early May, though, when UCLA became the first Pac-12 school to offer the three-star. He can play tackle or guard, but likely projects inside in college. The UCLA offer was a big one for him and he's also a good student with Ivy League offers. He was back on campus for the Bruin Camp on Sunday too and UCLA is very much a factor for him.
Verdis Brown (OT), Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
Brown is originally from Illinois, moving to IMG for his senior season. He told Scout over the weekend that Florida State and Michigan are schools he really likes but said that he talks to UCLA almost daily. That said, he also said he's feeling more the Midwest schools.
Reuben Unije (OT), Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
Unije has a UCLA offer and he told Scout earlier this spring that the Bruins have been one of the schools recruiting him the hardest and indicated that an unofficial visit could come this summer. But the SEC and Big 12 schools are the ones he said have really stood out to him.
Chris Bleich (OT), Plymouth (Penn.) Wyoming Valley West
The former Penn State commit visited UCLA unofficially last week and apparently, according to sources back east, loved the visit. Bleich is a big body and has superior strength with decent athleticism, probably projecting to right tackle. He went to away from home, to Florida, last year for high school so going away for college wouldn't be a problem. The competition looks to be Nebraska, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Mississippi State.
Next Tier to Watch:
Solo Vaipulu (OG), Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Vaipulu was one of the surprises at the Los Angeles Opening Regional and he could be a guy that UCLA watches more closely if he comes to their summer camp.
Jake Syptak (OT), The Woodlands (Texas)
Syptak has already visited UCLA once during the spring, checking out a spring practice and he'll back on June 22nd to see UCLA again and camp at their Big Man Camp, where he's hopeful to add an offer from the Bruins.
Other Names to Know:
(prospects included here could be guys 1) UCLA might not offer or 2) those they have offered we think are extreme long shots to get.)
Nick Petit-Frere (OT), 6-6, 258, Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep - OFFERED
Trey Stratford (C), 6-3, 271, Allen (Texas) - OFFERED
Daniel Faalele (OT), 6-8, 400, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy - OFFERED
Jack Carman (OT), 6-6, 290, Fairfield (Ohio) - OFFERED
Jaelyn Duncan (OT), 6-6, 295, Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy - OFFERED
John Campbell (OT), 6-5, 285, Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips - OFFERED
Connor Galvin (OT), 6-6, 250, Katy (Texas) - OFFERED
Syr Riley (OG), 6-4, 302, Pacific Palisades (Calif.)
Alec Anderson (OT), 6-4, 275, Etiwanda (Calif.)
Liam Douglass (OG), 6-4, 275, North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard Westlake
Kekaniokoa Gonzalez (OG/C), 6-2, 285, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Jarrett Patterson, (OT), 6-5, 275, Mission Viejo (Calif.)
Elijah Carson (OT), 6-8, 285, San Diego (Calif.) Morse