Once the headliners took off their warm-ups (after the testing) and participated in the drills and one-on-ones, the UCLA Elite Camp had a good level of talent, and some big moments.
If we had to say there was one player who is capable of playing at the most elite level of anyone at the camp, it would be Gardena (Calif.) Serra athlete Bryan Addison -- and it was when he was taking reps as a receiver. Addison was one of the headliners who joined the drills/one-on-ones late, and he had a big impact on the one-on-ones. He's mostly been dominant in 7-on-7s and camps as a safety, only because he hasn't played that much receiver in many events, but he lined up on both sides of the ball and Addison the receiver has the chance to be the most elite player among any we saw at the camp today. At 6-4 and 185-ish, incredibly long and with a head-spinning vertical, Addison was skying over DBs in a way we haven't seen much at high school prospect camps. His ability to catch a pass at its highest point -- and at such a high point because of his height/length -- was truly unique.
Addison is also very quick for his size in getting off the line and running routes. He glides seamlessly through open space and should be considered one of the most fluid athletes in the region, if not the nation. He looked good at safety, too, like he always does, with the ability to really close fast and not let anything go over the top on him. But we'll say he's a four-star safety and potentially a five-star receiver. UCLA coaches spent a good deal of time with him, from Jim Mora, who walked across the field to find Addison in line for a rep, to receiver coach Jimmie Dougherty and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch talking to him individually. Addison has had UCLA on his list of finalists, and we know the UCLA staff has him high on their list as an athlete, but it has seemed like there's something missing from the recruitment. Perhaps the display Addison put on Friday makes him among UCLA's utmost top priorities for 2018.
The guy who exceeded expectation was La Habra (Calif.) Sonora defensive back Chigozie Anusiem. He measured 6-1.5 and weighed 174 pounds, and if you could make a little brother of UCLA graduated cornerback Fabian Moreau, it would be Anusiem. He not only looks like Moreau facially but in his body, with the same kind of frame and musculature. Anusiem, though, has longer arms and has a bit more upside physically than Moreau even did at the same stage. He ran in the 4.6 range for his 40, which is very good for a kid his size in the summer before his senior year without a great deal of sprint training.
What stood out was his ability to change direction given his size, with very quick and fluid feet. He's still pretty raw in his technique, but there's so much upside here, with Anusiem looking very able to play corner, even with his size, but if he gets bigger he could project to safety, and that position-versatility is the kind UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin covets. It was clear Martin was in love with him, based on the attention Martin was giving him. We heard, too, that Anusiem spent a good deal of the morning with Mora, Martin and other coaches. The feeling is that it's a UCLA-Cal battle at this point and he could decide later this summer, although Anusiem did not put a timetable on things.
UCLA-committed cornerback Chris Steele, the standout 2019 prospect from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, not only showed up to recruit other prospects but also competed in camp and was up to his usual antics, proving to be too much for wideouts on the edge and not allowing many receptions in one-on-one battles. Steele is physical at the line of scrimmage without holding and stays with receivers in and out of their breaks, almost anticipating their next move and countering with his own. Mora paid him a great deal of attention, too, and even called him out to take on Addison, who had been dominant at wideout. Steele won the rep. High school teammate and fellow Bruins commit Stephan Blaylock was also in attendance but did not participate.
Devon Williams, who has taken some important visits to the likes of Alabama and Oregon in recent weeks, competed in front of the UCLA coaches despite already holding an offer and performed well. He tried to show off his skill set on both sides, playing wideout and covering receivers as a defensive back in one-on-one battles, but didn't pop as much as Addison did. Williams is long, lean and wiry, and his frame could easily hold more good weight and muscle so it appears that he's only scratching the surface of his physical potential. He's got strong hands and, with a wide catch radius, is a matchup nightmare for cornerbacks.
Devon Cooley, the four-star receiver from Buena Park, Calif., had another fine performance but was overshadowed a bit by Addison and Williams among the 2018 pass catchers. He's put on some good weight since his standout showing at this same event last summer and looks just as explosive as he did. The Bruins have always been at the top of his list, but he's in no rush to make a decision and it should be interesting to see how things shake out over the course of the season.
Delon Hurt, a new four-star prospect on Scout following his stellar spring evaluation period, looked well built and muscular, but moved well without much stiffness. He's got great body control and showed good burst off the ball, doing a good job running routes and gaining separation. The Servite prospect is a natural pass catcher that can make plays in traffic and was one of the tougher matchups for defensive backs all afternoon.
Gardena Serra wide receiver John Jackson, the USC legacy, might have very well been the most consistent receiver in the event. He doesn’t blow anyone away with speed, but is so nifty through his breaks that seems to always gain separation and makes seemingly every catch. Jackson is a refined route runner with very sure hands and is disciplined, not panicking down field and trusting his technique. We wouldn't be surprised if the Bruins offered, but there are several other prospects higher on the board now with much bigger potential.
One receiver that did pick up an offer was 2019 prospect Colby Bowman out of St. John Bosco. Bowman did most of his damage from the slot, constantly beating coverage up the seam but also showing the ability to decipher where he was breaking to next. He gained separation quite easily with crisp routes and finished plays by catching the ball out in front of him and making a move up field. It's a smart offer for UCLA, which have also offered fellow Bosco 2019 receiver Josh Delgado and several others at the local pipeline.
2019 prospect Jordan Patterson also garnered a UCLA offer as a result of his camp performance. He worked at both receiver and safety Friday, and UCLA offered him as an athlete, and at 6-2 and 180 just finishing his sophomore year, it's probably still undetermined what position he might play, given how his body might go. For that size he was very explosive off the ball and physical, and he used his length very effectively. A few DBs tried to press him, but he was just too big, physical and quick, getting off the jam easily. He could stretch the field, too. He didn't play last year at Hawkins because of transfer restrictions, and now he's at Arcadia and eligible. The good news is he trains with the 7-on-7 team Proway, run by the dad of current UCLA freshman Darnay Holmes.
Three-star receiver Daniel Arias was not the most explosive off the ball, but he is a long strider that covered a lot of ground and got open fairly easily over the top. He can gain separation and stretch the field, using his lanky frame to shield off defensive backs at the point of attack and also showing a good set of hands. He also showed the kind of length and ability to get the ball at a high point that seemed like the theme of the day. Arias will have to bulk up for the next level but there's no question that he's a Pac-12 caliber prospect. UCLA has yet to offer but Arias has visited campus a couple of times and the Mill Creek (Wash.) Henry M. Jackson standout is certainly on the radar.
Kalel Mullings, the 2020 LB/RB from Massachusetts, was offered by UCLA after the camp and you could see why just by watching one rep. He worked out with the running backs and was easily the most physically impressive back, at 6-2 and 200. Physically he looks like a college back right now, being really well put-together, and what was most impressive was his quickness in the drills, particularly cat-and-mouse with the linebackers. He had a couple of reps where he made one cut and then torched an opposing linebacker. UCLA running backs coach DeShaun Foster showed Mullings a great deal of attention.
The 2018 Palmdale product, Richard Newton, was the most impressive running back after Mullings. He checked in at 6-0 and 185 pounds, with a very good frame and body that could easily put on more good weight. He wasn't greatly explosive but showed good quickness, especially catching the ball out of the backfield. Foster also showed Newton some attention, and with the prospect having offers from the likes of Washington and Washington State we could see UCLA getting more involved.
The running back in that upper tier with Mullings and Newton was Steele Chambers, the 2019 prospect from Georgia with an offer from Michigan. He was another big back at 6-1 and 207, but showed some good speed in the drills and some elusiveness in the one-on-ones.
Matthew Tago, the linebacker prospect from Quartz Hill (Calif.), was very intriguing. Physically, he’s just about what you would want a rising senior to look like as a linebacker prospect, at 6-2.5 and 215 pounds but not muscle-bound; in fact, he has the basics of being well-built but there’s quite a bit more he could easily add on to his frame. He came to UCLA’s camp last year as a quarterback, and we all thought he should be a linebacker, so it’s great that he made the change.
Tago is a fluid athlete but also played physically in the one-on-ones, bodying up against a receiver well and knocking him off his route. He had a great attitude and wanted to take as many reps as he could, which is something to definitely look for at a camp. UCLA linebackers coach Scott White absolutely liked him, showing him a good amount of attention. USC recently offered Tago, and we could easily see UCLA doing the same after his performance Friday. Tago would be a good fit as a third or fourth linebacker in this class for the Bruins as White looks to reel in some of his top targets.
Class of 2019 linebacker Spencer Lytle of Anaheim (Calif.) Servite had a good showing, standing out alongside Tago in the top group. He received attention from White and was asked to do more reps, which is could always be taken as a good sign at these events. Lytle, the brother of Colorado quarterback Tyler Lytle, looked good all spring and, in this setting, shined in pass coverage with his ability to stay with running backs down field. He is decently athletic and can turn and run well, which comes naturally since he doubles as a tight end at Servite. He's certainly one to monitor moving forward. tag0 size, really fluid athlete, was a QB made move. physical. taking most reps, walk right up. body with upside, physical but fluid. usc offered at 7 on 7. White showing him lot of attention.
Class of 2019 outside linebacker Jonathan Perkins didn't go through individual drills, opting to walk around with Pro Way teammate Steele as well as Addison and Williams for the first half of camp, but did put on the event jersey for the one-on-one portion and looked good. He's got a thicker frame, but that didn't prevent him from sticking to receivers while he worked with the defensive backs covering the slot. He's considered a heavy lean to UCLA, having picked up the offer earlier this year and, if we had to come up with a comparison, we'd say he reminds us of Jayon Brown and the mini 'backer role he filled early in his collegiate career.
Perhaps one of the most impressive-looking prospects, given his age, was Elias Ricks, the 2020 safety prospect from Santa Ana Mater Dei. He arrived too late to the camp to participate, but he's exactly the way you'd want a young safety prospect to look, at 6-2 and 180, with some considerable length. He clearly looked so good he received a UCLA offer from UCLA coach Demetrice Martin.
Samson Reed, the three-star defensive end from Kahuku, Hawaii, is on the smaller side, at least in regards to what UCLA has been targeting at the position in recent cycles, but he again looked good in one-on-one battles. He's got a quick first step, uses his hands well at the point of attack to keep blockers off and has a high motor that just doesn't stop churning.
Jude Wolfe, the tight end out of St. John Bosco, was another class of 2019 prospect that fared well in the one-on-one setting. Having added the UCLA offer earlier in the week, Wolfe decided to camp so he could get some work in front of Rip Scherer before the Braves begin their summer training next week. He is long and still growing, with room to fill out and gain mass, and showed good athleticism and fluidity moving up the seam, but we'd probably put him a notch below UCLA legacy Ethan Rae among the local tight ends in the 2019 class.
The 2019 safety prospect Kamren Fabiculanan from Westlake might have been overshadowed a bit by the other big-named DBs, but he flashed enough to get noticed. We've seen him in 7-on-7s and on Friday he showed the same length (at 6-1.5 and 175) and closing speed that makes him very effective in coverage. He's definitely someone to watch for 2019.
The great-looking 2019 athlete from Antelope Valley, Dylan Hall, looked good again Friday after flashing at the UCLA 7-on-7 a couple weeks ago. In the 7-on-7 he worked as a tight end and Friday he was on the defensive side, and for being 6-6 and 220 he has some quick twitch. He's teammates and friends with UCLA target Devon Williams, and we saw the UCLA coaches talking up both Williams and Hall after the camp.
Probably the best-looking quarterback was 2020 prospect Bryce Young. Young, if you don't know the story, is one of the best quarterbacks in the west for his class, with offers from some big names, like USC. He comes from a UCLA family and grew up a Bruin fan, but the new UCLA offensive staff hadn't really been involved much with Young since they've been at Westwood. He was supposed to come to the Big Man Camp Thursday to work out individually for UCLA OC Jedd Fisch, but couldn't make it and showed up Friday. He actually had to leave early because he had a high school 7-on-7 on the agenda, but he showed well in the drills, and we saw Fisch talking with Young and his family for a long time before he was getting ready to leave, and Young was all smiles. We know Young didn't receive an offer, but Fisch and the UCLA coaches told him how impressed they were with him and that he was definitely on their priority list now.
Ryan Hilinski was our pick for best class of 2019 quarterback in the camp. The Orange (Calif.) Lutheran prospect threw a good ball and put nice touch on his deeper throws, doing well to lead receivers over the top. In settings like this where receivers seek out the top quarterbacks to throw to them, Hilinski was a popular selection. He has been on UCLA's campus a couple times this year and it should be interesting to see how he develops over the next couple years playing in the challenging Trinity League.
There wasn't much talent among the OL and DL, but among the offensive linemen no one looked better than Kapolei, Hawaii, 2019 tackle prospect Julius Buelow, who picked up an offer from the Bruins this past spring evaluation period. He's the cousin of former Bruins center Eddie Williams (2010) and is coming off a top performance at the full-pads All Poly Camp last week in Utah. Buelow is a legit 6-feet-7, 300 pounds heading into his junior season and, at least physically, checks all the boxes. He moved his feet well enough in drills and, though a bit raw technique wise, has major upside.
A Few Other Prospects of Note:
Jarrell Anderson made the trip from the state of Washington, and the tight end who recently committed to Hawaii had a good showing, catching everything thrown to him.
Nason Starling, Anderson's teammate, was someone to know. He's a receiver that was about 6-3 and 185 and won the reps we saw him in.
Drake London, a 2018 receiver prospect from Moorpark, was perhaps someone to keep an eye on, since he's the big receiver UCLA is looking for at 6-4, with offers from Illinois and San Jose State.
Hamish McClure, the 2018 quarterback from Encino (Calif.) Crespi, the son of UCLA defensive line coach Angus McClure, picked up an offer from his father's alma mater, Sacramento State, and is getting serious interest from UC Davis and Northern Arizona. He's still considering whether he could walk on at UCLA.