Recruiting Update: The List is Narrowing

UCLA has 8 scholarships open and is recruiting roughly 20 prospects. Here's a look at those 20 players, and the probability that UCLA gets each of them...

There are eight scholarships available for UCLA to give. Here are the recruits that UCLA is recruiting to fill those eight spots:

Trent Edwards, #1 QB, Los Gatos
Winston Justice, #5 OL, LB Poly
Rhema McKnight, #15 WR, La Palma Kennedy
Hershel Dennis, #12 RB, Long Beach Poly
Wesley Walker, LB, La Puente Bishop Amat
Fred Matua, #6 DT, Los Angeles Banning
Mike Nixon, #11 S/ATH, Tucson (Ariz.) Sunnyside
Alex Potasi, OL, Harbor City Narbonne
Antwuan Smith, #23 WR, Clovis Buchanan
Aaron Miller, #6 CB, Fresno Edison
Jarrad Page, #15 CB (S), San Leandro
David Beall, #35 OL, Vancouver (Wash.) Mountain View
Willie Andrews, #21 CB, Longview (Tex.) High
Justin London, #19 LB, Roanoke (Virg.) Northside
Willie Gaston, C, Houston (Tex.) Northshore
Mesepa Reed, OL/DE, Honolulu (Haw.) St. Louis
Taualai Fonoti, LB, Honolulu (Haw.) St. Louis
Stephen Berg, #92 OL, Tucson (Ariz.) Canyon Del Oro
Denny Flanagan, WR, Huntington Beach Edison
Keith Jackson, #50 OL, Ingelwood

Among these 20 prospects, UCLA is getting official visits from nine of them this weekend. It's very reasonable to believe that UCLA has a very good chance to get commitments as a result of the weekend. Whether they commit during the weekend or later, there are the guys who are tripping this weekend who are good bets to fill out some of the eight remaining spots.

Wesley Walker always wanted to be a Bruin, and believes it suits him best. One of his best friends will go there to play baseball. UCLA leads Oregon right now, without him having visited UCLA officially. You can probably give this one a high probability. He's a great get, at a position of need, and recent scouting reports on his senior season say he is possibly a top 100 national caliber player.

Mike Nixon is another who has maintained for a long time that UCLA was his leader. He's taken trips to other schools but still maintains UCLA as his leader. With the doubt over his Stanford trip lingering for later this month, Nixon could want to get it over with this weekend.

Alex Potasi will visit Cal this weekend with teammate Marcus O'Keith, who is committed to Cal. He'll have to fend off the Cal pressure, but the bet is that Potasi will hold out and commit to UCLA by next week. Many have speculated whether Potasi is a good get. UCLA has some solid young depth at OL. Potasi is a physical specimen and could be a good, long-term project, which might fit well since UCLA doesn't look like they'll need him to come in and contribute immediately.

Antwuan Smith will trip to Oregon this weekend, and even though Oregon has a lot going for it right now, it's a longshot that the Ducks could sway him enough to break the long-held lead UCLA has had with Smith. He could commit anytime in the next couple of weeks.

If Aaron Miller didn't go to UCLA, it would be an upset. Reports are that he's down to UCLA and Oklahoma. It would take a lot to get him to go to Oklahoma – being far away from his family (his mom being in L.A.). Plus he's doing the bonding thing with fellow Fresno guy Smith.

He came back from his Oregon State trip and Jarrad Page said UCLA still leads. Washington will be the tough one, and he visits there this weekend. He could more than likely make up his mind fairly soon after that trip. But UCLA is still a good bet; his brother went there, he's spent the most time there and feels comfortable in Westwood, also feeling comfortable with the other guys he bonded with at CaliFlorida who are leaning to UCLA, Smith and Miller.

If any of the prospects above go elsewhere, along with the other two spots open, here's how those remaining spots could be filled.

Among the big names left on the board, UCLA has the best shot at getting Winston Justice. We're still hearing he has UCLA ahead, but even the most reliable sources on him are starting to throw up their hands and say, "I don't know anymore!" It's between UCLA and USC. USC is going to sell him on two things – being able to play early and a less challenging curriculum. UCLA will have to sell him hard this weekend.

Rhema McKnight is probably the most mysterious of any big-named prospects this year. McKnight has told sources close to him that he's going to UCLA. But the word is also that he's getting pushed to leave the area, and he doesn't want to take an official visit to UCLA. There is also the opinion that UCLA is in his heart, where he's always wanted to go, and he's just taking trips for the enjoyment of it. But, as I said, he's the most mysterious and very hard to call.

Among the other big names left available that UCLA is recruiting, Trent Edwards, Hershel Dennis and Fred Matua, in my opinion, all three will most likely go elsewhere.

But I have to concede, the situation with Edwards is very interesting. He had said that if Stanford hired its OC as head coach, he'd be very compelled to go to Stanford, and if they hired outside of Stanford, he'd be compelled to go to UCLA. Stanford did go outside to hire its new head coach, Buddy Teevens, the former OC from Florida. But here are some intriguing details. Teevens is known as a great recruiter, the deal closer for Florida. Being an offensive coordinator, you'd think he be able to sell Edwards, especially on the Florida offense, which has been arguably the best passing offense in college football in recent years. Edwards now says he'll take an unofficial visit to Stanford later this month to talk to Teevens. Gut feeling: Edwards gets sold, stays home and goes to Stanford.

Dennis is another fairly interesting situation. The word is that Oregon is the team to beat right now. Much will be determined by his trip there (he told me at CaliFlorida that he would visit USC on January 11th, Oregon on the 18th and UCLA on the 25th), if he can take the weather, being a SoCal kid. If he can't, UCLA could have a fairly decent shot at him, given the fact UCLA is in Southern California, has a recent history of good running backs, and he can enroll this year (which would preclude him going against the scholarship count for this recruiting class anyway).

UCLA, I believe, is a longshot for Fred Matua. He doesn't seem like a kid who gets impressed too much, such as on recruiting visits, and UCLA will have to do exactly that this weekend to win him over from USC. They have the ammunition to do it with -- being able to get him playing time pretty q

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