Football Recruiting Re-Set

With JC recruits, transfers and some committed recruits not making it past UCLA academic admissions, it's been nearly impossible to accurately follow UCLA's football recruiting. Here's how many rides they have to give, and the targets they'd want to give them to...

This recruiting season has truly been different, and very difficult to keep a handle on.

Just from a very simple standpoint, there hasn't been a year like this one when it has been difficult just to keep track of how many scholarships UCLA has left to give.

So, we're going to re-set the table, with just under a week to go before Signing Day next Wednesday.

It had been thought that Head Coach Karl Dorrell could give out a total of 29 scholarships, 4 JC players that would count against this school year's class, and 25 that would count against next year's incoming class.

Sources now have indicated that that is incorrect. Since Dorrell granted two scholarships to players who previously didn't have them this year, those scholarships, by NCAA rules, are counters against the class for this school year. Overall, then, Dorrell can give out a total of 27 scholarships – two for this current school year and 25 for next year's incoming class.

An aside: At the sam time, confusingly enough, all six six JC players are currently enrolled, on scholarship, and will participate in spring ball legally. The reason being is difficult and convoluted to explain, but here goes:

First, you can never be over 85 scholarship players currently in your program at any given time.

Secondly you can only bring in 25 "counters," or new players on scholarship in any given year.

However, if you have players that come in for winter quarter (or spring semester), you have the option for them to be counters against the current 2003 class or against the 2004 class.

So, while all six JC players are currently enrolled, they're still under the limit of having only 85 players on scholarship at any given time because of the various players that have left the program after fall quarter (Wendell Mathis, Matt Moore, Tyler Ebell, Tab Perry, etc., and the fifth-year seniors who completed their course work after the fall quarter). At the same time, since they have the option of "counting" against either the 2003 fall year or the 2004 fall year, only two of the JC transfers will count against the 2003 year and four will count against the 2004 fall year.

Now, that's the maximum scholarships UCLA can give, not how many they have available to give. As of the count today, UCLA has 61 players that were on their fall roster eligible to be on the roster next falll. With a limit of 85, that would give them 24 scholarships available total.

Some scholaships could still open up. John Sciarra and fullback J.D. Groves have both considered transferring (sources indicate their fates will be decided fairly soon). It's also thought that freshman fullback Michael Pitre could very likely leave the team for medical reasons. Alex Potasi, the offensive lineman who had left the team, is still officially being counted among the 61 for next season, despite his status being uncertain. Longsnapper Joe Tomasello is also counted among those 61. Reports are that Tomasello will indeed be on the roster next year and some close to the program are confident about Potasi.

The status of UCLA's committed recruits has also made the number of scholarships available fluctuate – almost on a daily basis. Covina (Calif.) South Hills defensive back Bryan Payton, who was committed since last summer, de-committed due to an inability to satisfy UCLA academic standards. Anaheim (Calif.) Western linebacker Will Price also didn't make it academically, recently committing to Oregon State. It's now been learned that the Hacienda Heights (Calif.) Los Altos committed defensive back Daniel Drayton will not be admitted academically. Committed La Mirada lineman Shannon Tevaga, sources indicate, will be admitted. The cornerstone of the recruiting class, Hacienda Heights (Calif.) Los Altos defensive end, Brigham Harwell, has been cleared for admittance.

It's believed that, despite considering other schools, now that Tevaga has been cleared by UCLA academic admissions, he'll come to UCLA. Harwell has insisted a few times that he's still coming to UCLA, but has also openly contemplated going to ASU. It's a situation that will almost definitely come down to which school's National Letter of Intent he signs. Right now, trying to judge from various bits of information, you'd have to give UCLA the slight edge.

For numbers sake, counting Harwell and Tevaga, UCLA has 25 commitments. They currently have 24 available for next year's roster total, but have the possibility of three or four more opening up. Obviously, if UCLA keeps its 25 commitments, one more ride would have to open up by next fall to accomodate them. The prevailing opinion is that UCLA will have the scholarships available for its current committed recruits, and any of the remaining recruits it has offered and is pursuing. UCLA could use the option to grey shirt some currently committed prospects, which means that they would come in next spring and UCLA would then have the option of their scholarships counting against the 2005 incoming class. So, it really isn't even a matter that UCLA could be limited by the maximum of 27. As of right now, UCLA is aiming to take two more prospects, but if more remaining targets wanted to jump in the boat, UCLA would probably take them and sort out the scholarship number later.

At this point, there are five prospect that they have had in on official visits that have scholarship offers:

Allen Smith, OL
Christopher Vaughn, WR
Chancellor Young, WR/ATH
Brandon Breazell, WR/DB
Byron Velega, DB

Adrian Arrington, the highly-ranked wide receiver from Iowa, announced he'll attend Michigan today.

It's unlikely UCLA will get all five of its remaining targets, but it isn't impossible. The biggest catch would be Smith. UCLA is probably running behind the leaders for Smith at this point, but his recruiting situation has been one that's very difficult to peg (Latest Report On Smith). Sources believe that UCLA is in pretty good shape with Vaughn, down to his final three and has a legitimate shot (Latest Report On Vaughn). UCLA is also in the last three for Young (Latest Report On Young). UCLA is thought to be the leader for Velega (Latest on Velega in Rodney Van Update). Breazell has been difficult to get recent information on and it's too hard to assess UCLA's chances (Latest on Breazell).

There are currently no plans for any more official visits, and the rumors about any other potential recruiting targets have been merely rumors or not based on serious interest from UCLA.

UCLA's List of Committed Players

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