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, cornerback Darian Hagan, and defensive end Alex Parsons...

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 eight linemen by mid-July, 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.  He is planning to take an unofficial visit in either late July or early August. 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.

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. Offered.

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 and the Bruins are in his top three with Cal and Arizona. 

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 they look tough to beat.

Chaz Washington, 6-3, 290, Destrahan (LA.) High. Another Louisiana defensive tackle UCLA is pursuing, and but academics are going to be a problem. He's been offered by big-time programs, and UCLA is trying to stay in the mix, but probably won't be able to pursue him because of grades. 

Others Defensive Tackles Of Note:

Braden Hansen, 6-6, 265, Sandy (Utah) Alta
Tim High, 6-3, 295, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne
Daniel Mafoe, 6-3, 310, Carson (Calif.) High
Jonathan Brown, 6-3, 275, Jacksonville (Fla.) Andrew Jackson
Johnny Vaigafa, 6-1, 290, Medford (Ore.) North Medford
D'Anthony Smith, 6-3, 312, Leesville (La.) Pickering 
Cleveland Jones, 6-6, 310, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey

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, 6-4, 235, 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.

Reginald Stokes, 6-3, 230, Montgomery (Ala.) Carver. COMMITTED, Stokes received some offers from Southern schools but decided to commit to UCLA.  Didn't test well at combines, but looked good in the one-on-one's and excelled at some team camps this summer. 

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 and he has already taken one unofficial trip to UCLA this summer. 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, they would be heavily in the mix. 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 along with Arizona from Pac-10 schools, and he said he is strongly considering leaving Texas. Offered.

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.  The Bruins closely trail USC. Offered.

Keith Browner, 6-5, 225, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. The son of a 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 to stay in it. 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, but is most likely staying in Big 12 country. Offered.

Jason Brace, 6-5, 245, Spanaway (Wash.) Spanaway Lake. Looked good this Spring and UCLA offered him in early July after checking him out.  The Bruins were the first Pac-10 team to offer but he is getting interest from all of the Northwest conference schools. Offered.

Chris Lewis, 6-2, 235, Clovis (Calif.) East.  Has double-digit offers and after the Nike Camp at Stanford, UCLA jumped into the mix.  The Bruins have verbally offered him and they are in his top three along with Fresno State (where his dad played) and USC. 

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 as they are his favorite. 

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 but there are some question marks.  Stood out at the Tulane Scout Combine and moved into the top 10 nationally at his position.

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 but the Bruin staff is closely tracking him.

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.  Said UCLA is also looking at him as a tight end.  Nebraska is his leader but the Bruins are right behind them.

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.

Others Defensive Ends Of Note:

Reginald Stokes, 6-4, 240, Baton Rouge (La.) Redemptorist
Jacob Manuel, 6-2, 240, Oxnard (Calif.) Rio Mesa
A.J. Simmons, 6-4, 245, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd
Marquez Herrod, 6-3, 220, Escondido (Calif.) San Pasqual

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 10 national player and the #1 linebacker prospect in the nation. UCLA is fighting head-to-head with USC, but if the Bruins have a good season, they'll have a very good chance of beating the Trojans for this future star. Has said he would like to play immediately and UCLA offers him that opportunity.  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 is a long shot to land him but is doing what it can to stay in it. 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 and Smith took an unofficial visit this spring to Westwood, showing at least some interest. 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.

Mike 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.  UCLA has not received as much attention from him in recruiting updates, but he still lists them. Offered.

Craig Stevens, 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 as the majority of his offers are from SEC powerhouses. 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. Best friend is Bruin OL commit Brandon Bennett and the Bruins have remained in front all along despite the lack of an official offer.  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, Iowa State and Colorado are the main competition, and if UCLA offered, they could take the edge.  Means camped at UCLA during the Summer and also spent time working out with the fullbacks.

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.  Looked great at the UCLA 1-Day Camp as well as the Nike Camp at Stanford. 

Dwight Roberson, 6-0, 195, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. Had some of the best defensive statistics in the state as a junior, racking up 175 tackles for the CIF Division IV champs.  Roberson said that UCLA, USC and Washington State were his top three and he was at the Adidas Camp at UCLA this Spring.  A bit undersized but you can't argue with his production. 

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.

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.

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.  UCLA is keeping him on the to-watch list.

Others Linebackers Of Note:

Michael Johnson, 5-10, 200, Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay
J.J. Kulusich, 6-2, 230, San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian
Bobby Epps, 6-1, 215, Palmdale (Calif.) Little Rock
Devohn Moutra, 6-0, 235, Gardena (Calif.) High
Bruce Robinson, 6-1, 185, Manhattan Beach (Calif.) Mira Costa

 

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.

Jeremy McGee, 5-9, 170, New Orleans (LA.) Karr. COMMITTED. UCLA's connections in Louisiana helped them with this quick athlete who also plays running back. The Bruins offered in late July and McGee committed to the Bruins in the first week of August.  His future position will be decided when he comes to UCLA, but he is a blazer who could play on either side of the ball and return kicks and punts.

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 and is a legend in Boulder, but the word is that Colorado doesn't have an edge. He has said that UCLA and Cal were two of his three leaders, along with Colorado, and he took an unofficial trip to UCLA in late June and had a good trip.  With three of his teammates coming to UCLA this fall, Hagan said that could play a big factor. 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 and the Bruins are in his top three.  Could also play receiver or safety, but the Bruin staff reportedly wants him as a big corner, a la Matt Ware.

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, however, the academic hurdles may be too much. 

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.  Teammate of linebacker prospect Allen Bradford and cornerback Shareece Wright.

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, where his stepfather is an alum. 

James Dockery, 6-2, 170, Indio (Calif.) Palm Desert.  Dockery came to the UCLA camp this summer and while he came to work out with the receivers, moved to cornerback and looked good.  Dockery has 10 offers and said if UCLA offered, it could make a big push for the Bruins as they are in his top five.

Others Cornerbacks Of Note:

Tyreace House, 5-9, 175, Palmdale (Calif.) High
Alterraun Verner, 6-0, 175, Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair
Vincent Joseph, 5-8, 180, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly

 

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.  Was named to the Sports Illustrated All-West First Team Offense as an athlete.

Sergio Brown, 6-1, 195, Maywood (Ill.) Proviso East.  One of the top safeties in the nation, Brown is leaning towards in-state Illinois as well as Notre Dame, but the Bruins are right behind the Illini and Irish and he plans to take an official visit to Westwood this fall.  Offered.

Troy Giddens, 6-1, 205, Hammond (La.) High. Originally from Southern California, Giddens moved to Louisiana but camped at UCLA this summer and looked the part, recording one of the best forty times of any one at the camp in recent memory.  Physically, is a specimen and the Bruin staff could be close to offering him soon.  Nebraska, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and LSU are the competition. Offered. 

Major Culbert, 6-0, 195, Harbor City (Calif.) 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.

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.

Jamar Brown, 6-1, 225, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco.  A good athlete, Brown could also play outside linebacker or receiver, and he has no preference.  St. John Bosco is a school that UCLA has done very well with in the past, having five current players on scholarship that are former Braves, so Brown has that connection working out for him.

Travon Bellamy, 6-0, 185, Greenbelt (Mary.) Roosevelt.  From the same prep program as last year's top-rated Derrick Williams, Bellamy has gotten some national attention because of Williams, but then stood out at some combines this spring.  UCLA was the first school to offer Williams two years ago, and they have remained on Bellamy's radar as well, especially being the lone West Coast school on his list.

Others Safeties Of Note:

Quinton Carter, 6-1.5, 175, North Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyanne
Danny McCray, 6-1, 205, Houston (Tex.) Westfield 
Adam Liranzo, 6-3, 195, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Marcus Rance, 6-0, 190, Yakima (Wash.) Davis
Anthony West, 6-1, 195, San Diego (Calif.) Point Loma

SPECIAL TEAMS (1):

With Justin Medlock a junior this season, UCLA is in need of finding its next elite kicker.  They also could be in the hunt for a long snapper.

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. He works out with former UCLA All-American kicker/punter Chris Sailer and prepped at the same high school as Sailer as well.  Offered.

Christian Yount, 6-1, 235, Las Flores (Calif.) Tesoro.  One of the top pure longsnappers in the nation, Yount already has an offer from Boston College and he camped at UCLA and the Bruin staff reportedly liked what they saw.  He has worked with former UCLA longsnapper Chris Rubio which has given him some national exposure.


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