Stephan Blaylock

UCLA Football Recruiting Reset: Defense

June 14 -- We reset UCLA's defensive recruiting board with the spring evaluation period wrapped and the Bruin Elite Camp coming up at the end of the month...

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.  


Recruiting Reset: Offense


DEFENSIVE TACKLES (2-3)

After signing a pair of Scout 300 defensive tackles in 2017, UCLA would like to follow up with at least another pair of tackles, and has commitments from two already.  They're in on a couple of national prospects that have UCLA on their short list and they'll take a third if the prospect is an elite one. 

Top Targets:

http://www.scout.com/player/204571-aaron-maldonado

Aaron Maldonado, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat - COMMITTED

Maldonado was offered by UCLA in February and committed just a couple weeks later.  A versatile two-way lineman, Maldonado will play on the defensive line at UCLA and gives the Bruins a quality prospect at the position.  UCLA was his favorite school growing up and his best football is still ahead of him.  What we love about Maldonado is his motor and desire to get better and better.  At camps, he's usually the first in each rep and wanting to take as many as he can.  He's recruiting for the Bruins, too.

http://www.scout.com/player/214842-niti-liu

Niti Liu, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant - COMMITTED

Liu is one of the top two-way linemen in Sacramento and was offered early by UCLA.  He took an unofficial visit to UCLA the week after spring ball ended and got to spend the day with Angus McClure and get plenty of one-on-one time with the staff.  We then got to see him at The Opening Oakland and while he started out slow, he got it going over the course of the day.  Liu committed to UCLA the first week in June, the Bruins being his long time favorite, and he told Scout he didn't see the need to drag it out any longer.

http://www.scout.com/player/188210-trevor-trout

Trevor Trout, St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade

Trout is a top ten defensive tackle nationally and plays things pretty close to vest.  But he told Scout earlier this spring that UCLA is one of four schools in contact with him the most, along with Missouri, Oklahoma and USC.  UCLA has been recruiting Trout for a year and continues to stay in the mix for him.  Trout also said that the one school he wants to see is USC, more so than UCLA.  In fact, when he named his top 15, USC and UCLA, in that order, were the top two schools on it. 

Jeremy Werner // Illini Inquirer

http://www.scout.com/player/208900-sam-vakalahi

Sam Vakalahi, Salt Lake City (Utah) East

Vakalahi is actually rated as a four-star offensive guard -- in fact, he's the No. 1 guard prospect in the West.  But UCLA is recruiting him as a defensive tackle and he's a pretty good defensive lineman as well.  And the Bruins are on his early leaderboard.  He's blowing up nationally, though, with Alabama and Tennessee both offering last month.  Angus McClure went out to Salt Lake City the first week in May to see Vakalahi and the talented prospect has indicated he would like to get out to campus to take a closer look at the program.

http://www.scout.com/player/202689-keondre-coburn

Keondre Coburn, Houston (Texas) Westfield

Coburn is the top tackle in Texas and, right now, his top three are all in-state schools -- Texas, TCU and Texas A&M.  He's officially named a top 16 with most feeling that he'll stay in state, but Washington and UCLA have gotten some buzz as potential destinations should he leave the Lone Star State.

http://www.scout.com/player/209928-tyler-manoa

Tyler Manoa, Mountain View (Calif.) St. Francis

Manoa was a player we always could see getting an offer from the Bruins this spring after McClure got a chance to get up to the Bay during the Eval Period.  And after McClure swung by to see Manoa work out in spring ball, he was offered in late May.  Manoa had a top five, but said an offer from UCLA and Oregon State made his list expand and he's planning to visit Westwood this summer. If UCLA doesn't get Coburn, Vakalahi or Trout, they could very well opt for Manoa, since he's a completely different type of player than either Maldonado or Liu. 

http://www.scout.com/player/210153-mykee-irving

Mykee Irving, Calabasas (Calif.)

Irving was offered by UCLA last summer at the Bruin Elite Camp.  Since then, he's not added any additional offers and just looked OK, at best, at a couple of camps in the spring.  In fact, some schools are recruiting him as an offensive lineman now and he may even project better as a guard. With the commitments of Maldonado and Liu, it is likely UCLA is done recruiting Irving.

http://www.scout.com/player/207464-tommy-togiai

Tommy Togiai, Pocatello (Idaho) Highland

Togiai is the No. 2 tackle prospect in the West and UCLA was an early offer for him, but he's barely mentioning the Bruins much and USC and Washington seem to be getting the majority of his attention. UCLA wasn't in Togiai's most recent top eight.

http://www.scout.com/player/209418-masry-mapieu

Masry Mapieu, York (Neb.)

Mapieu committed to Nebraska last year but UCLA, which was one of his earliest offers, hasn't stopped recruiting him. In fact, he spoke at The Opening Regional in Chicago a few weeks ago about the Bruins and how he's hoping to take a visit to Los Angeles to see the campus.  Mapieu cited his relationship with Angus McClure as a big reason why he wants to visit UCLA and why the Bruins are still in the mix for him.  Michigan also continues to pursue the Husker pledge.

Next Tier to Watch:

http://www.scout.com/player/208695-paul-maile

Paul Maile, Salt Lake City (Utah) East

Maile has a number of offers -- 15 to be exact -- but UCLA is one he's consistently said he hopes he get.  With UCLA recruiting his teammate Vakalahi, they stopped by his school this week to see him.  He's on their board, but an offer hasn't yet gone through.

http://www.scout.com/player/208604-moa-heimuli

Moa Heimuli, Salt Lake City (Utah) East

Heimuli, much like Maile, has talked about wanting a UCLA offer and they also got a chance to see him this week when they were seeing Vakalahi and Maile.

Other Names to Know:

Josh Walker, 6-0, 290, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy - OFFERED

Devin Danielson, 6-3, 290, Clairton (Pa.) Jefferson - OFFERED

Samuela Tuihalamaka, 6-2, 280, Riverside (Calif.) Martin Luther King

Sal Spina, 6-3, 275, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

Kamakani Crosby, 6-4, 250, Newbury Park (Calif.)

Jackson Cravens, 6-3, 270, Provo (Utah) Timpview


DEFENSIVE ENDS (2)

In 2017, UCLA signed the best defensive end in the country, and one of the best the Southland has ever produced in Jaelan Phillips.  Instead of scaring off recruits, though, that has actually helped, with recruits in this class very aware of Phillips and wanting to play with him, most notably Jeremiah Martin.  Plus, UCLA also has Takk McKinley just going in the first round and Takk gave a lot of the credit for his player development to Angus McClure, which hasn't been lost on recruits.

Top Targets:

http://www.scout.com/player/209134-jeremiah-martin

Jeremiah Martin, San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon

Martin was offered by UCLA last fall and has said that the Bruins are his top school.  He told us at the Army Combine that he's often compared to ... McKinley and Phillips.  And that has stuck with him. Martin stopped by campus to check out a practice last month and closely shadowed McClure throughout the afternoon, going from drill to drill to see the linemen.  He's gotten some national attention, mainly Michigan, but he's wanting to stay closer to home.  UCLA is doing very well with Martin and will prioritize him throughout.  In fact, while Martin has said he wants to go through the process a bit still, we've heard UCLA is doing well enough with him that a commitment could actually come earlier than being let on.

Jeremiah Martin with Jim Mora at UCLA practice

http://www.scout.com/player/208453-elijah-wade

Elijah Wade, Las Vegas (Nev.) Arbor View

Wade is one of the top ends in the West and a top 20 end nationally.  He's also close friends and teammates with Greg Rogers, who UCLA signed in February.  Wade has offers from all over, including one from USC that was big for him when he was offered last summer.  That was about when it looked like USC was in the drivers' seat for Rogers too.  But since UCLA signed Rogers, McClure and Rogers have been working on Wade and the feeling is the Bruins are on the extremely short list for the four-star as a result.  Wade actually visited in April, taking an unofficial to USC and to UCLA, and we've heard the Bruins are still doing very well with him and Rogers is making an impact along with McClure.  Wade announced a top seven in May and it included UCLA, USC, Cal, Oregon, Alabama, Nebraska and Vanderbilt. 

http://www.scout.com/player/213549-abdul-malik-mcclain

Abdul-Malik McClain, San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra

McClain also received his first offer from UCLA back in December and the four-star has been very receptive to the Bruins.  He said UCLA was among his favorites, and he took in a spring practice and spent a lot of time with the coaches after the fact.  We liked him a lot at the Under Armour Camp and he's got some serious upside as either a stand up rush guy or growing more into a hand down rusher. We've recently heard he's a heavy lean to the Bruins.

http://www.scout.com/player/212818-eyabi-anoma

Eyabi Anoma, Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances

The Maryland native is one of the top pass-rushers nationally and is being recruited as such, with some of the premier programs in the country having offered him. Anoma has mentioned UCLA specifically, though, as a school of interest and talked about his relationship with McClure as a key factor in his interest.  USC has also offered and Anoma said he wants to visit L.A. this summer. so he can check out both UCLA and USC.  Anoma told Scout in early June he plans to get out to Westwood soon and he cited the UCLA academics and the speed of the Pac-12 as a reason for his serious interest in the Bruins.

http://www.scout.com/player/208785-tyreke-smith

Tyreke Smith, University Heights (Ohio) Cleveland Heights 

Ohio State is considered the favorite to land the in-state four-star, but Smith is originally from Southern California, moving from the Southland to Ohio when he was 13.  He named a top 12 in mid-Spring and UCLA was on it, as was USC.  Incidentally, Smith grew up a USC fan so even if he wants to return to Los Angeles for college, UCLA would have to out-recruit the Trojans for him.

http://www.scout.com/player/209419-john-waggoner

John Waggoner, West Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling

Waggoner is the No. 2 defensive end in the Midwest and has offers from coast-to-coast, with home-state Iowa making him a huge priority.  But Waggoner has been open to leaving the Midwest, and specifically to the Bruins and told Scout in April that he plans to get out to Los Angeles at some point to check out the campus.  He did tell Scout, however, that Oregon, Iowa State and Minnesota were recruiting him the hardest.

http://www.scout.com/player/208537-cameron-latu

Cameron Latu, Salt Lake City (Utah) Olympus

Few players have blown up this spring like Latu has.  UCLA offered him pretty early in the process, when he was still a commit to BYU (where he and his twin brother, Nathan, were committed). Since then, Latu has decommitted from the Cougars (while his brother remains a commit).  UCLA was on his initial top ten, but when he started working on his top five, he acknowledged UCLA isn't high on his list as much.  UCLA will still try, but they have their work cut out for them.

Next Tier to Watch:

http://www.scout.com/player/205040-samson-reed

Samson Reed, Kahuku (Hawaii)

Reed is about 6-3, 240 and looks like he could still add more weight and make a slide inside to tackle.  UCLA saw him in the spring but he may have to camp with the Bruins this month to get a more serious look. He made it to campus in April for a visit and enjoyed his stay.

Other Names to Know:

Ronnie Perkins, 6-4, 245, St. Louis (Mo.) Lutheran - OFFERED

Tyler Friday, 6-3, 263, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep - OFFERED

Brennan Jackson, 6-4, 220, Temecula (Calif.) Great Oak


LINEBACKERS (3+?)

UCLA signed just one linebacker in 2017, Rahyme Johnson, so linebacker is a big priority for the 2018 class.  The Bruins already have one commitment at the position in Isaiah Johnson, but would like at the minimum, two more, if not three.  And it's a very good year for linebackers in the West.  USC is doing a very good job with linebackers in this class, but the depth at the position should ensure UCLA signs a pretty good crop as well.

Top Targets:

http://www.scout.com/player/211775-isaiah-johnson

Isaiah Johnson, Modesto (Calif.) Downey - COMMITTED

Johnson is an athletic linebacker who, physically at least, has been compared to former Bruin target (and current Stanford linebacker) Curtis Robinson, who started out as a receiver but grew into a linebacker.  We're not saying that Johnson is the same caliber of player than the Top 100 prospect Robinson, but they're similar body types - former receivers who eventually out grew that position and became linebackers.  In fact, that is the same route Rahyme Johnson went.  Isaiah Johnson is a long prospect with room to add weight but with receiver athleticism that could grow into a pretty significant player as he develops physically.

http://www.scout.com/player/208231-jack-lamb

Jack Lamb, Temecula (Calif.) Great Oak

Lamb has probably been the best linebacker from event to event we've seen this spring, a relative unknown early in the spring to now a national prospect with offers from all over.  Lamb has been to UCLA a couple of times this spring and was offered by White in February, an offer he had been hoping for.  His older sister is a student at UCLA, so he's spent time on campus before and he's developed a very good relationship with White.  Lamb visited Stanford, Cal and Washington in the last few weeks and also took a trip out to Penn State, where the Nittany Lions offered him.  That was a big offer for Lamb as well as both of his parents went to Penn State and his mom swam there.  Notre Dame also offered him this spring and that was another significant offer for him and he'll go out to South Bend next week for an unofficial visit.  The big news for UCLA, though, was getting Lamb on campus, again, on Tuesday, when his family was there to pick up his sister.  Lamb's father has said that UCLA is recruiting him the hardest and it has been clear that Lamb is a primary target of White. 

http://www.scout.com/player/209168-eli-jah-winston

Eli'jah Winston, Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic 

Winston has been on UCLA's radar since they recruited his older brother, Lamar, who is now at Oregon.  Winston has visited UCLA three times unofficially this spring and raved about the trips each time.  The offer was a big one for him and he's cited on numerous occasions that his relationship with Scott White is as good as any he has with a college coach.  In fact, it was White's relationship with Lamar that nearly had him flip before Signing Day, when he eventually inked with the Ducks.  So the relationship between the younger Winston and White is even better and a big reason why UCLA is such a heavy factor in his recruitment.  Oregon and Notre Dame are also trying hard with him and the Ducks have the local edge and family edge, but Winston has been clear from the get-go that he's handling the recruiting process his own way and won't necessarily be swayed by his brother being in Eugene.

Eli'jah Winston (Brandon Huffman)

http://www.scout.com/player/196417-salua-masina

Salua Masina, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton

Masina is another player that UCLA recruited a family member and built a relationship with the family early on.  The youngest Masina of the bunch, Salua camped with UCLA last summer and was offered by the Bruins at their Elite Camp.  He has a number of offers, too, but with his brother Osa, who played at USC, having off-the-field issues, we've heard he may be more likely to stay close to home, giving Utah the advantage, and also has been looking at a couple of his SEC options like Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

http://www.scout.com/player/206520-reggie-hughes

Reggie Hughes, Calabasas (Calif.)

Hughes got his first offer from UCLA last fall and the Bruins have remained in a good position since.  Hughes can play inside or outside and he's been very good all spring on the 7v7 circuit, showing great pass coverage ability and movement in space.  He and Darnay Holmes are close and he plays for Holmes' father on the 7v7 circuit too and has made it to UCLA a couple times this spring and went to the Spring Game in April.  He will visit Arizona State this weekend, though, and the Sun Devils will certainly be a school to watch for Hughes.

http://www.scout.com/player/212394-brandon-kaho

Brandon Kaho, Reno (Nev.)

Kaho committed to BYU last summer and then blew up as a junior and this spring, with offers coming in from everywhere.  UCLA was one of those offers and Kaho said that the offer from UCLA was a big one for him and he's going to give strong consideration to the Bruins.  While he's still committed to the Cougars, the more offers that come in, the looser that commitment seems to be.  Kaho did announce, though, that he plans to serve his LDS mission immediately after high school, so he wouldn't enroll in a school until the fall of 2020, which would give schools working with tight numbers some flexibility.

http://www.scout.com/player/214666-dashaun-white

DaShaun White, Richland (Texas)

White, a new addition to the Scout 300, became a big priority for White this spring, with White getting down to Texas to see him.  His top six is a heavy list of schools close to him and then UCLA, the outlier.  Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and UCLA comprise the four-star's top six and he told Scout earlier this month, his goal is to visit each school before the end of this month.

http://www.scout.com/player/204063-palaie-gaoteote

Palaie Gaoteote, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman

The No. 1 prospect in the West in the 2018 class, Gaoteote committed to USC at the end of February, but UCLA hasn't stopped recruiting him.  For one, his teammate, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, continues to recruit him for UCLA and Scott White went out to Vegas a couple of times during the eval period to make his case.  It's a longshot, but White is trying.

http://www.scout.com/player/199628-solomon-tuliaupupu

Solomon Tuliaupupu, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

Tuliaupupu was offered by UCLA at their Bruin Elite Camp last summer but USC is thought to be the heavy favorite, and a matter of when, not if, he'll commit to the Trojans. He also recently visited Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State, without giving much of a look to nearby UCLA.

http://www.scout.com/player/207362-brian-asamoah

Brian Asamoah, Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales

Asamoah was all set to make an announcement in April, from his top six, which included UCLA along with Cincinnati, Michigan, Penn State, West Virginia and Pittsburgh.  But he backed off that and said he will wait and take his time to make a decision.  He now has a top seven, the same six schools initially involved plus Kentucky, so the Bruins still have a shot.

Next Tier to Watch:

http://www.scout.com/player/214213-francis-bemiy

Francis Bemiy, Riverside (Calif.) Carnegie

Bemiy is an intriguing prospect who just moved to the U.S. from Canada in time for his junior season.  Raw but athletic, Bemiy was at the Skills Camp on Sunday and worked closely with Scott White and then took a tour of campus, while getting plenty of attention from White.  He's still pretty new to the game and had to play running back last year for his team, but he's got a lot of upside.  There is a chance he could come back for the Elite Camp next week and work with White some more but he's certainly a name to watch moving forward.

http://www.scout.com/player/215570-m-j-cunningham?s=12

M.J. Cunningham, Portland (Ore.) Madison

We know that UCLA has been recruiting Cunningham, who has had a good spring and summer and earned some Pac-12 offers.  With good size and athleticism, he could be slightly under-rated in the west, and we think UCLA, if a few other names on this list opt elsewhere, could pull the trigger here. 

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.) 

Kolin Demens, 6-3, 205, Detroit (Mich.) Country Day- OFFERED

Xavier Peters, 6-4, 215, West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West- OFFERED

Ben Wilson, 6-2, 225, Sumner (Wash.)- OFFERED

Andrew Mataafa, 6-4, 205, San Diego (Calif.) Mt. Carmel


CORNERBACKS (1-2)

After signing one of the best cornerback crops in recent memory, a class that included the No. 1 corner in the country in Darnay Holmes, UCLA will focus more on safeties, but would still welcome a couple of corners in the 2018 class.  There are some good ones locally and nationally, and some national corners with local ties.  None, though, seem to be worried about following up the class UCLA signed, which makes it a little easier for Demetrice Martin to recruit.

Top Targets:

http://www.scout.com/player/187713-tyreke-johnson

Tyreke Johnson, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian

Johnson has long maintained high interest in UCLA and reiterated that to Scout in March at the Adidas National 7v7 Championships.  Johnson said he will definitely take an official visit to UCLA in the fall and while he didn't make it to spring practice like he had hoped, he still plans to take an unofficial visit.  Of course, with any player from the South, UCLA will have to worry about the SEC schools, like Florida, Georgia and LSU, as well as Ohio State, another school that Johnson is prominently mentioning.  But the Bruins have stayed in the race for Johnson for a long time and hope to stay in it even longer.  In fact, UCLA was down to see him in early May, with Demetrice Martin getting down to Florida right off the bat after spring ball ended.  And then UCLA offered his cousin, Tyrese Ross, during the eval period and only enhanced their standing with Johnson.

Tyreke Johnson (Brandon Huffman)

http://www.scout.com/player/204059-d-angelo-mckenzie

D'Angelo McKenzie, San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian

McKenzie is an intriguing prospect, who can play either corner or safety, and UCLA offered him early.  He took an unofficial visit to UCLA earlier this spring and raved about the visit as well as his relationship with Martin.  We know Martin likes players with positional versatility, able to play any spot in the secondary and that's what McKenzie can do.  He was back on campus for UCLA's Spring Showcase in April and told Scout at last month's Opening in Oakland that the Bruins and Notre Dame are the two schools standing out to him right now.

http://www.scout.com/player/204020-isaac-taylor-stuart

Isaac Taylor-Stuart, San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine

Taylor-Stuart is one of the best-looking prospects in the West, but to date, UCLA hasn't prioritized him as much and he's been focusing on schools like Michigan, Ohio State, Washington, Cal and USC.  UCLA has other corners higher on their board than Taylor-Stuart.

http://www.scout.com/player/204030-olaijah-griffin

Olaijah Griffin, Mission Viejo (Calif.)

Griffin is another prospect that UCLA offered early but most of the buzz with Griffin is that he's a lock to USC, so UCLA hasn't spent much energy on him of late because it seems to be a matter of when, not if, he'll commit to the Trojans. He is a Ground Zero prospect, but the son of rapper Warren G grew up a USC fan and the Trojans catapulted to the top of his list when they offered.

http://www.scout.com/player/209050-kyler-gordon

Kyler Gordon, Everett (Wash.) Archbishop Murphy

Gordon checked out UCLA in April when in town for the IMG 7v7 tournament and had a good visit.  Gordon, though, is being prioritized by the hometown Huskies of Washington and there is a big push to keep him home.  Notre Dame and Stanford are also heavily involved with Gordon, so if Gordon did leave the area, the Irish and Cardinal seem to be in a better position to get him than UCLA.

http://www.scout.com/player/215890-chigozie-anusiem

Chigozie Anusiem, La Habra (Calif.) Sonora

Anusiem was hoping to get an offer from UCLA at their camp at the end of the month, but Martin didn't see the need to wait until the end of June, offering Anusiem last week.  He was also offered by Notre Dame last week and he camped with USC and is on their board as a player that could get an offer.  Few have seen their stock rise like Anusiem did this spring.

http://www.scout.com/player/198493-verone-mckinley

Verone McKinley III, Lewisville (Texas) Hebron

McKinley has maintained the Bruins on his short list for some time, and had a top nine that included just one Pac-12 school, UCLA.  He initially planned to announce in May but new offers came in, notably from Oregon and Washington, so now McKinley is pushing back his decision date, but UCLA will be a factor for him.

http://www.scout.com/player/202437-ken-montgomery

Ken Montgomery, Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough

Montgomery told Scout earlier this spring that an offer from UCLA was a huge one for him and one that he wanted.  He got that offer and is now planning to visit Westwood this summer.  Montgomery cited the UCLA academics as a big reason why he wanted an offer from the Bruins.  Alabama has also offered him and its likely he'll land a few more offers from Southern schools before it's all said and done.

Next Tier to Watch:

http://www.scout.com/player/214544-tyric-lebeauf

Tyric LeBeauf,Long Beach (Calif.) Poly

LeBeauf could camp with UCLA next week at the Bruin Elite Camp and if he performs well, an offer wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility.  He's long and lean and one of the bigger corner bodies out West.

Other Names to Know:

Tariq Bracy, 6-0, 170, Milpitas (Calif.)

Desmond Talley, 6-0, 175, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly

Level Price, 5-10, 170, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco


SAFETIES (3)

After such a corner-heavy class, UCLA needs to sign some safeties in 2018. Of the DB's they signed in 2017, Quentin Lake seems like the most logical to make the move to safety, given his size and skill set and overall versatility.  But they'll prioritize this unit in the 2018 class. They already have a commitment from two safeties in Jhevon Hill and Cam'ron Jones and could add another before the weekend.

Top Targets:

http://www.scout.com/player/202559-cam-ron-jones

Cam'ron Jones, Mansfield (Texas) - COMMITTED

Jones was UCLA's first out-of-state commitment in this class, committing to the Bruins on Easter Sunday.  He's a four-star from Texas, where UCLA has long recruited well and despite a number of Big 12 schools prioritizing Jones, he was always feeling UCLA and Demetrice Martin.  He was a big pickup for the Bruins, but now they just have to hold on to him.

Cam'ron Jones (© Greg Powers)

http://www.scout.com/player/206226-stephan-blaylock

Stephan Blaylock, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco - COMMITTED

Blaylock had been a priority recruit for UCLA since the start of his recruitment.  UCLA wanted Blaylock badly and expressed that to him. One of his teammates, 2019 DB Chris Steele, is already committed to the Bruins so half of UCLA's ridiculously loaded secondary is Westwood-bound.  Some close to the Bosco program think Blaylock will be a better college safety than his teammate Jaiden Woodbey, a commit to Ohio State.  And Blaylock has looked good at numerous events this spring and earned an invitation to The Opening Finals.  A case could be made he's UCLA's top safety prospect on their board in this class.

http://www.scout.com/player/208880-julius-irvin

Julius Irvin, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite 

Irvin has played his recruitment pretty close to the vest, but he did talk glowingly about his visit to UCLA this spring. He's got good bloodlines- his father played for the original Los Angeles Rams.  Irvin has also visited Colorado, where his close friend and teammate at Servite, Tyler Lytle, is a freshman as well as Washington, where two former teammates, Keith Taylor and Terrell Bynum, are headed. And he's also checked out Cal and USC this spring.  Irvin said he's not close to making a top schools list or naming favorites but with UCLA having two safeties, he would be gravy at this point.

http://www.scout.com/player/216440-tyrese-ross

Tyrese Ross, Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake

Ross has been a longtime UCLA fan, but just got the offer at the end of the evaluation period.  Ross is also cousins with mega-UCLA target, Tyreke Johnson, and the opportunity for the two to play together in college is very real now.  Ross told Scout last week that he wants to visit UCLA this summer and could do so with Johnson and the Bruins have a good chance to grab the Georgian.

http://www.scout.com/player/213255-jhevon-hill

Jhevon Hill, San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon

Hill was the first commitment to UCLA in the 2018 class and was a nice, solid pickup for the Bruins but there was always a feeling he could be recruited over and that is exactly what happened, with Jones and Blaylock, higher rated safeties, jumping on board.  Hill opened up his recruitment in early June and at this point, it doesn't look like Hill and UCLA will reunite at any point.

http://www.scout.com/player/203918-shayne-simon

Shayne Simon, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peters Prep

Simon visited UCLA during the spring and has a number of Big Ten schools on him, plus in-state Rutgers and Stanford as well.  UCLA is on the short list for him but there is plenty of competition.

http://www.scout.com/player/209879-dayven-coleman?s=12

Dayven Coleman, Mesquite (Tex.) West Mesquite

UCLA just recently offered and with Demetrice Martin's connections in Texas the word is that UCLA has a chance with him, and could be added to Coleman's visit plans this summer.  

Next Tier to Watch:

http://www.scout.com/player/208072-josiah-bradley

Josiah Bradley, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro

Bradley is a player that UCLA watched last fall when recruiting a couple of other prospects at Saguaro and one they'll keep an eye on this season too for a potential offer.

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.) 

Aashari Crosswell, 5-11, 185, Los Angeles (Calif.) Hawkins- OFFERED

DeMarvion Overshown, 6-3, 200, Arp (Texas)- OFFERED

Houston Griffith, 6-0, 180, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy- OFFERED

L.J. Wallace, 6-3, 185, Atwater (Calif.) Buhach Colony 

Steve McIntosh, 5-11, 180, Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany


ATHLETES

With many of the athletes UCLA targeting being more defensive backs or receivers, it will be interesting to see what they do with some of these players.  They could bring in a number of players as athletes if they get full at specific positions, i.e., the slot.

Top Targets:

http://www.scout.com/player/206304-c-j-parks

C.J. Parks, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

Parks has been terrific all spring when we've seen him at events at receiver but is overshadowed on his own Mater Dei roster by Amon-Ra St. Brown, the No. 1 receiver in the country.  UCLA offered him in May as an athlete, though, and could bring him in as a cornerback (Demetrice Martin made the offer).  In fact, at last weekend's Skills Camp, Parks spent a good chunk of the day working as a DB, though he also got plenty of work in at receiver.  The Bruins are the leader for the new four-star.

Shotgun Spratling | USCfootball.com

http://www.scout.com/player/209129-bryan-addison

Bryan Addison, Gardena (Calif.) Serra

Addison has been one of the stars of the spring, and was named the DB MVP at The Opening Los Angeles, earning an invitation to The Opening Finals in Beaverton.  Addison long wanted a UCLA offer and was given one in February, which was a big one for him. Now, of course, there is a long history of UCLA recruiting Serra and not having much to show for it, especially when that Serra prospect already has a USC offer.  He named a top eight last week that included the Bruins along with Arizona, Arizona State, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon USC and Washington. UCLA is recruiting Addison as both a safety and receiver, and that could enhance their chances.  

http://www.scout.com/player/213547-nikko-hall

Nikko Hall, Calabasas (Calif.)

Hall was offered by UCLA in December after a two-touchdown, two-interception game for the Coyotes with Jim Mora watching Darnay Holmes.  He's been solid all spring at receiver, but some schools like him as a safety.  Hall is open to both sides of the ball and said he doesn't have a preference, so schools are recruiting him more as an athlete. He actually announced last month that he was going to make a commitment and released a top six that didn't include UCLA and we'd heard UCLA had cooled on him prior to that, as did a few other schools he liked, because he has some work to do academically.

http://www.scout.com/player/198395-talanoa-hufanga

Talanoa Hufanga, Corvallis (Ore.) Crescent Valley

Hufanga is the No. 1 athlete in the 2018 class, a safety, quarterback, receiver and linebacker all in one.  He can play any of those positions well, though quarterback is the least likely spot for him in college.  His high school coach is from Southern California and played with former Bruin star Eric Turner in high school, comparing the two often, which has Hufanga pretty interested in UCLA.  Alabama offered him in April and the two in-state schools covet him, with many feeling Oregon is the team to beat.  But don't count out Nebraska, either, with Hufanga visiting for their spring game and having a long relationship with Mike Riley from when he was at Oregon State.

http://www.scout.com/player/204166-tennessee-pututau

Tennessee Pututau, Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood

Pututau is another Utah native that the Bruins were on early, giving him an offer last fall during his junior season and the four-star has attention from all over.  Pututau can play a number of positions, but will likely grow into a stand up rush end/outside linebacker in college.  Pututau said he wants to visit UCLA this spring. But Utah has made the local prospect a major priority.

http://www.scout.com/player/212634-treshaun-harrison

Treshaun Harrison, Seattle (Wash.) Garfield

Harrison landed one of his earliest offers from UCLA, when Marques Tuiasosopo was recruiting him.  When Tui left, Scott White picked up his recruitment and has continued to stay on Harrison.  The Bruins were one of the few he visited this spring, but the feeling is he won't leave the Northwest, with Oregon and Washington the two likely destinations to battle.

http://www.scout.com/player/210576-harold-joiner

Harold Joiner, Mountain Brook (Ala.)

Joiner is favoring Auburn and LSU in the early going, with the Bayou Bengals in the best shape for him, and he's indicated the SEC is where he prefers to play, so UCLA will likely focus their attention elsewhere.

Next Tier to Watch:

http://www.scout.com/player/207309-elisha-guidry

Elisha Guidry, Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta

Guidry is the son of former Bruin defensive back Javelin Guidry and nephew of former Bruin defensive back Paul Guidry, so he has long UCLA ties.  UCLA didn't really recruit his older brother Javelin Jr., who ended up signing with Utah, but they're taking a longer look at Guidry, who was one of the surprises at The Opening Los Angeles.  He'll likely camp with the Bruins at the end of the month, though, for an opportunity at an offer.

http://www.scout.com/player/215053-jalani-ellison?s=12

Jalani Ellison, Reseda (Calif.)

Ellison had a good day at the recent UCLA 7-on-7, lighting it up as a receiver and making big plays as a defensive back, showing a good amount of speed. He definitely got noticed by the UCLA staff.  

Other Names to Know:

Parks Gissinger, 6-4, 225, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade


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