Football Recruiting 2006: Defense

UCLA is looking for a few good men on defense -- some impact-type guys at various positions to upgrade its future defensive talent level, guys like linebacker Allen Bradford and cornerback Darian Hagan...

It's difficult to quantify exactly how many prospects a program needs to take at a certain position in any given year.

In parentheses below, we've included a number, or a range, which indicates how many recruits UCLA could take at a certain position.

But so much depends on the talent level in that particular recruiting class and how the program is doing at other positions in recruiting. And then there is always the availability of a scholarship if an elite prospect wants to jump in the boat.

UCLA probably didn't anticipate it would take a total of seven linemen by June, but it just worked out that way. There were players UCLA recognized as good enough to offer who wanted to verbally commit. For some of them – like those included below – you might not know exactly what position they project to play in college, but if they're linemen and you deem them good enough you take them and sort that out later, which is exactly what UCLA did.

This isn't a comprehensive list of everyone UCLA has shown interest in, but a list that concentrates on those players UCLA has offered and those that have a good chance of receiving an offer.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE (2-3):

If you count two of UCLA's linemen recruits as d-linemen, UCLA looks to be doing pretty well already in its defensive line recruiting. It's not certain that the two UCLA commits listed below, though, will play defense in college, but right now that's the best projection we can provide, based on some good information. If it works out that way, that Keane and Savage do play defense at UCLA, then the Bruin coaching staff could maybe be looking for just one more defensive tackle prospect. Or, going with the same theory as taking a good player regardless of position and sorting out the position later, it could still take a couple of defensive-tackle types if a couple of the ones offered a scholarship want to come. One among them could end up a defensive end, or on the offensive side of the ball, but again, if they're deemed good enough, UCLA is of the mindset to take them and sort out positions at a later time.

Andy Keane, 6-2, 265, Palm Springs (Calif.) High. COMMITTED. Keane has looked good in the spring camps and combines, dominating on defense at the UCLA Linemen's Camp in April. Most believe he'll end up on defense because of his quick first step, and he'll probably continue to get bigger and be a tackle rather than an end. Other programs continue to recruit him, including Stanford.

Darius Savage, 6-3, 325, San Diego (Calif.) Morse. COMMITTED. A huge kid who has good feet and agility for his size, he committed to UCLA when he was offered a scholarship shortly after the UCLA Linemen's Camp in April. He's a big load, and very strong (a state champ discus thrower), and hard to move, which makes him great for the interior d-line. He's already lost about 15-20 pounds in a couple of months, and he has shown the more he trims down the more athletic he is. Some scouts believe he could end up being the monster of UCLA's line recruiting for 2006.

Jerzy Siewierski, 6-3, 300, Sparks (Nev.) Reed. A very good athlete who is very strong, Siewierski emerged as one of the best d-tackle prospects in the west this spring. UCLA has been on him, offered him early, and they lead for him. Offered.

Sione Fua, 6-2, 290, Encino (Calif.) Crespi. Fua has been one of UCLA's prime targets since the start of recruiting for the 2006 class, and remains so. He's a big, immovable square, with long arms and smarts that scouts love as a defensive tackle. He has many schools after him but wants to take his Mormon mission after a year of college. Offered.

Seth Jensen, 6-4, 270, Fort Morgan (Col.) High. Considered one of the best defensive tackle prospects in the west, with scholarship offers from the Big 12 and others. Nebraska and hometown Colorado lead, but UCLA is hanging in there. Offered.

Matangi Tonga, 6-2, 250, San Mateo (Calif.) Aragon. Tonga looked good at the recent USC Linemen's Camp, and he has offers from five schools, including UCLA. He favors USC, but they haven't offered. Tonga has great explosion off the ball, and has the kind of frame where he could get much bigger. Offered.

Jarred Shaw, 6-4, 310, Lafayette (LA.) Northside. A prospect UCLA likes quite a bit, and has been told he has a scholarship if everything is in order academically. He favors local LSU, who has offered, and looks to be tough to beat.

Chaz Washington, 6-3, 290, Destrahan (LA.) High. Another Louisiana defensive tackle UCLA is pursuing, and has a scholarship if academics aren't a problem. He's been offered by big-time programs, and UCLA has a shot.

Lamarr Houston Jr., 6-4, 260, Colorado Springs (Col.) Doherty. A prospect that is becoming one of the most highly-sought among defensive linemen in the west, with offers from around the country. UCLA has been on him firmly for a while, and has verbally told him a scholarship is there for him if the academics are. The Bruins could find it tough fighting against Texas, Michigan, LSU, Tennessee and the like.

Conan Amituanai, 6-3, 280, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Looked dominant at the Scout.com Combine in Los Angeles, with a good burst and strength. His uncle is a coach at Arizona, and that looks tough to beat.

De'Shon Matthews, 6-5, 255, Elk Grove (Calif.) Laguna Creek. In a deep class for defensive tackles in the west, Matthews is emerging as among the best, with offers from the Pac-10 and Big 12. UCLA has gotten very interested.

Daniel Mafoe, 6-3, 310, Carson (Calif.) High. Considered one of the best d-tackles in SoCal, it's been thought he's a shoe-in for USC since he's cousins with Trojan Fred Matua, but USC is slow-playing him and he's considering others, including UCLA.

Tim High, 6-3, 295, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne. A defensive lineman UCLA has been watching closely, with good size and strength.

Braden Hansen, 6-6, 265, Sandy (Utah) Alta. A very good prospect who de-committed from BYU, and still maintains the Cougars are his #1 choice, but now lists UCLA.

DEFENSIVE END (2-3):

It's remarkable how fast things can change. Just a few months ago, it seemed like UCLA had depth at defensive end, and now it's a different story, with players switching positions and one other (Kevin Harbour) potentially leaving the program. There is only one defensive end on the roster who isn't a sophomore or older (Chinonso Anyanwu), and he could very well end up a linebacker.

In other words, UCLA needs defensive ends in the class of 2006. And that need is definitely reflected in UCLA's recruiting, with the Bruins having probably offered the most defensive ends among any position.

Fortunately, again, there is a decent amount of talent in California, and talent that likes UCLA.

Dylan Rush, 6-3, 230, Kealakekua (Haw.) Konawaena. COMMITTED, Rush is a nice athlete who also is a state wrestling champion. UCLA recruited and offered him as defensive end, even though he could also end up as tight end.

Alex Parsons, 6-4, 250, Irvine (Calif.) Woodbridge. He came to UCLA's Lineman's Camp, worked out with the linebackers, was moved to d-end and UCLA offered him a couple of days later. He's quick and smart and could be among the best in the west at defensive end. He had said UCLA was his favorite, until USC recently offered him. Offered.

Keith Browner, 6-5, 225, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. The son of former USC great, Browner has offers from UCLA, others in the Pac-10 and across the country. He says Cal is his early leader but UCLA is trying hard. Of course, if USC offers, all bets are off. Offered.

Greg Banks, 6-5, 260, Denver (Col.) Montbello. One of the best in the west, UCLA is trying hard but he seems to be favoring Big 12 schools, like Colorado and Nebraska. Offered.

Ugo Chinasa, 6-5, 230, Richardson (Tex.) Berkner. Thought to be one of the best defensive ends in Texas, he has said he doesn't want to go far for school, so will probably end up at Texas or A&M. If he leaves the area he has said UCLA would be a school he'd consider. Offered.

Jeff Miller, 6-5, 240, Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake. The brother of current USC tight end Jimmy Miller, Jeff is probably a better prospect – bigger and quicker. UCLA, other Pac-10s and Oklahoma are recruiting him. Offered.

Chase Nelson, 6-3, 250, Tulsa (Okla.) Union. Nelson is getting recruited heavily, being considered one of the best pass rushers in the midwest. He said UCLA and Tennessee are his leaders, but if hometown Oklahoma offered, that could be it. Offered.

Adrian Taylor, 6-5, 270, Mansfield (Tex.) High. Quick and explosive for his size, Taylor has received offers from all over the country. UCLA is among his top handful of schools. Offered.

Toby Turpin, 6-5, 250, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. Even though he doesn't have an offer yet, Turpin is getting serious attention from big-named schools. If UCLA offered they'd have a good chance of getting a commitment. If Turpin looks good in his first couple of games this September, the Bruins will probably move on him.

Kentrell Lockett, 6-5, 230, Boutte (LA.) Hanville. Big, quick and athletic, Lockett came out of the spring as one of the best defensive end prospects in Louisiana. UCLA has indicated he has a scholarship if everything checks out academically.

Louis Holmes, 6-6, 270, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College. A JC player who is getting a lot of attention from west coast schools. For UCLA it's a matter of his JC grades that determines the offer.

Mike Smith, 6-6, 230, Las Vegas (Nev.) Palo Verde. Led the state of Nevada with 17 sacks as a junior, Nebraska and Oregon State have offered, and UCLA could be following soon.

David Carter, 6-5, 240, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser. A really intriguing prospect who wasn't known at all before this spring. He had just a decent junior season, but if he delivers on the raw potential he showed in this spring's camps and combines, he could blow up, and UCLA would probably be quick to offer.

LINEBACKER (2-3):

It's not a matter that UCLA doesn't have a lot of bodies at linebacker, but just many unproven ones. They're bringing in four fairly unheralded guys this fall. UCLA will also then lose three of its top four linebackers to graduation after next season, so it's going to be a wild scramble for players to prove themselves for those starting spots. It's what is attractive to linebackers in the 2006 class, the potential to come in and win a starting position as a true freshman at UCLA. With one commitment already, UCLA will probably take two more linebackers, and desperately needs impact recruits to fill those slots.

Tobi Umodu, 6-0, 225, Covina (Calif.) South Hills. COMMITTED. He has played primarily defensive end in high school, but his size projects him to linebacker, and most scouts believe he has the quickness and instincts to be a standout one on the college level.

Allen Bradford, 5-11, 225, Colton (Calif.) High. Bradford is that impact player, and along with wide receiver Terrence Austin, probably UCLA's most important prospect. Bradford is fast, running a 4.5 40, and quick, and has great instincts, and is a top 50 national player. UCLA is fighting USC, but if the Bruins have a good season, they'll have a very good chance of beating the Trojans for this future star. Offered.

Josh Tatum, 6-2, 220, Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds. Probably among the top 10 overall prospects in the west, Tatum is a big-time player, with good size and speed. UCLA has been falling down his list this spring. Offered.

Toryan Smith, 6-0, 240, Rome (GA.) High. The prototypical middle linebacker, Smith is getting recruited aggressively by every big program in the south. UCLA is trying. Offered.

Craig Stephens, 6-3, 210, Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln. One of the best linebacker prospects in the southeast, UCLA is on him, but it could be a tough battle. Offered.

Jonathan Cornell, 6-2, 215, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. Showed this spring that he's one of the best linebacker prospects in the west, with quickness and athleticism. He has said UCLA is his favorite, and recently the Bruins told Cornell they had a scholarship for him if his academics were in order. Offered.

Travis Goethel, 6-3, 215, Vista (Calif.) High. A great-looking athlete, with great size, Goethel looked good in the spring camps and combines. UCLA looks to be at or near the top for him consistently. Offered.

Kris Means, 6-0, 21l, Grand Junction (Col.) High. Means tested very well at the spring camps, and came to UCLA for an unofficial visit. ASU and Colorado are the main competition, and if UCLA offered, which they could do soon, they could take the edge.

Jamarr Robinson, 6-3, 240, Fairfield (Calif.) High. A prospect UCLA would have offered by now if academics weren't a concern, Robinson is a big body with quickness.

Ryan Coulson, 6-3, 220, Elk Grove (Calif.) High. A player who, if he starts off his senior season strong, could see a UCLA offer, and he says the Bruins are his favorite.

Devin Johnson, 6-1, 210, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High. Having played mostly defensive end, most schools are waiting to see this athlete as a senior.

Ben Terry, 6-2, 210, Mission Viejo (Calif.) Capistrano Valley. A player to watch this fall, he has UCLA as his longtime favorite.

Keaton Kristick, 6-3, 225, Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's. A sleeper that emerged this spring and really impressed at the camps and combines. UCLA is picking up its recruitment of him.

CORNERBACK (1-2):

The Bruins will bring in two recruits slated for cornerback this fall, and have some other young corners, but still are in need of that big impact guy.

Darian Hagan Jr., 6-0, 170, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. Hagan, as a junior, was considered one of the best defensive backs in Southern California, and didn't do anything to supplant that opinion this spring. His dad, of course, coaches at Colorado, but the word is that Colorado doesn't have an edge. He has said that Cal does, but UCLA is hitting him hard. Offered.

Jeremy McGee, 5-9, 170, New Orleans (LA.) Karr. UCLA's connections in Louisiana are helping them with this quick athlete who also plays running back. The Bruins haven't offered, but could by this fall.

Devin Ross, 5-11, 180, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High. Many consider him the best cornerback prospect in the west, and most of the Pac-10 is recruiting him aggressively, and the Big 12. Ross has to show a bit of academic improvement, but UCLA has more or less told him he has a scholarship.

James Smith, 6-2, 180, Colton (Calif.) High. A very impressive looking athlete, who moves very well for someone legitimately 6-2. He'd probably be getting quite a bit more attention if his academics were good to go. If they improve this fall, expect UCLA to be on him quickly, and UCLA is his favorite.

Shareece Wright, 6-0, 180, Colton (Calif.) High. Wright is a fantastic athlete who also plays quarterback, but projects as a corner. If academics get in order, he'll have schools lining up, including UCLA.

SAFETY (1-2):

UCLA brought in two safety prospects in the class of 2005, and they're pretty solid prospects. However, with the unknown long-term status of Chris Horton, UCLA is still in need of some talent at safety. They have one commitment to date, but they're still in a market for another elite safety prospect.

Christian Ramirez, 6-2, 190, Imperial (Calif.) High. COMMITTED. Not many have seen the Bruin safety commit, but reports are that he's big, young for his age, and a good student.

Michael Morgan, 6-2, 195, Dallas (Tex.) Skyline. The younger brother of former UCLA d-tackle Steve Morgan, Michael is considered one of the best prospects in Texas, and could end up a linebacker. Offered.

DeLaShaun Dean, 6-3, 190, Fairfield (Calif.) High. A big, nice athlete who very well could play receiver in college, Dean attended UCLA's Skills Camp. UCLA has told him with academic clearance he has a scholarship offer.

Major Culbert, 6-0, 195, Harbor City (Cal.) Narbonne. A very quick-footed athlete who also excels as a running back, the only thing standing between him and a UCLA offer is academics. UCLA would be the leader if he was cleared for admission.

Garrett Green, 6-1, 190, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. One of the best athletes in the L.A. area, he very well could end up at quarterback in college – he's that all-around talented. He's quick, speedy and aggressive. UCLA is considering him very seriously.

Alfred Rowe, 6-0, 190, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. An aggressive athlete with a nose for the ball, Rowe has said recently that Cal leads. UCLA has yet to offer, but could this fall.

Wesley Davis, 6-1, 180, Spring Valley (Calif.) Steele Canyon. One of the best athletes in the San Diego area, Davis could also be a cornerback in college. UCLA is watching him closely.

KICKER (1):

With Justin Medlock a junior this season, UCLA is in need of finding its next elite kicker.

Kai Forbath, 6-1, 190, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. The #1 kicker in the west and perhaps the country after hitting 19 of 21 field goal attempts and all 21 extra points as a junior, Forbath has UCLA #1 on his list. Offered.


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