Football Recruiting for 2006: Defense

For the 2006 class, 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, safety Darian Hagan, and defensive end Reginald Stokes...

With the 2005 fall season here, UCLA is now seeing their class fill up pretty rapidly.

As of right now, UCLA has 21 scholarships to give, and has verbal commitments from 18 prospects.  One of those, long snapper Christian Yount, will greyshirt, so technically, they have four scholarships available.  Two of the verbals are soft commits, offensive lineman Sonny Tevaga and fullback Chane Moline, but both have older brothers starting for the Bruins and will likely follow them.

There are always rumors and discussion about UCLA potentially getting more scholarships available, and some always do tend to open up by signing day in February.

Given that pattern, it's safe to expect UCLA will have about 23 scholarships to give to the 2006 class.

So, realistically, UCLA has only about 5-6 or so scholarships remaining to give.

Some readers have asserted that UCLA has offered too many prospects too early, but when you're following recruiting it's always wise to be skeptical of reports of scholarship offers. Sometimes recruits say they've been offer when they actually haven't – not necessarily lying about it, but misinterpreting what they're hearing from the program.

UCLA, actually, hasn't offered that many prospects. There are perhaps 40 prospects overall with UCLA offers – those that are in good academic standing that have have been recognized by the coaching staff as superior players. There are others who very well could be talented enough football players to warrant an offer, but for whatever reason, many times it being academics, haven't yet received one.

In this review, we'll try to lay out exactly which players have been offered, who could be offered, and what are UCLA's priorities at each position.

This isn't going to be a comprehensive list of everyone UCLA has shown interest in, but a list that concentrates on those players UCLA has offered and those that could possibly receive an offer.

In parentheses are the scholarships UCLA wants to give for that certain position.

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. With the three defensive tackles committed, UCLA is likely done inside.  There is a chance that Keane could end up on the offensive side of the ball, but Savage is likely going to be a defensive tackle, and Siewierski is definitely a tackle. 

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. COMMITTED.  A very good athlete who is very strong, Siewierski emerged as one of the best d-tackle prospects in the west this spring. UCLA had been on him, offered him early, and they were one of his three leaders.  He took an unofficial visit to UCLA in early August and following the Oklahoma game, Siewierski pulled the trigger.

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 offered. 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

Others Defensive Tackles Of Note:

Chaz Washington, 6-3, 290, Destrahan (LA.) High
Tim High, 6-3, 295, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne
Daniel Mafoe, 6-3, 310, Carson (Calif.) High
Conan Amituanai, 6-3, 280, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Lamarr Houston Jr., 6-4, 260, Colorado Springs (Col.) Doherty
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 or 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.

Stokes has gone from being a "sleeper" to potentially one of the best defensive players in the South, and while there was some question whether he would actually leave Alabama, he has said he is 100% solid on coming to UCLA. Miller's commitment gives them another solid pass-rusher from a strong, local program.

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.  However, put him on the football field and he is absolute mayhem.  Through his first four games, he has almost 60 tackles and eight sacks plus five forced fumbles. 

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.  There is even a shot for Rush to be an outside linebacker. 

Jeff Miller, 6-5, 240, Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake. COMMITTED.  The brother of current USC tight end Jimmy Miller, Jeff is probably a better prospect – bigger and quicker. UCLA, other Pac-10s and Oklahoma were recruiting him and he had already taken one unofficial trip to UCLA this summer. After mulling it over, Miller committed to the Bruins at the end of September.

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 hometon Oklahoma offered, and are now 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.  Could also be a defensive tackle.  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 trail USC now. 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. Turpin has been at a couple of UCLA games. 

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.  After Hurricane Katrina, Lockett said he wants to leave the South.

Others Defensive Ends Of Note:

Marquez Herrod, 6-3, 220, Escondido (Calif.) San Pasqual
Louis Holmes, 6-6, 270, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College
Jacob Manuel, 6-2, 240, Oxnard (Calif.) Rio Mesa
A.J. Simmons, 6-4, 245, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd
Ugo Chinasa, 6-5, 230, Richardson (Tex.) Berkner
David Carter, 6-5, 240, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser
Mike Smith
, 6-6, 230, Las Vegas (Nev.) Palo Verde
Greg Banks, 6-5, 260, Denver (Col.) Montbello

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 continue to 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.

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.

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.

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.  Has attended UCLA home games. 

Others Linebackers Of Note:

Ryan Coulson, 6-3, 220, Elk Grove (Calif.) High
Ben Terry, 6-2, 210, Mission Viejo (Calif.) Capistrano Valley
Keaton Kristick, 6-3, 225, Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's
Devin Johnson, 6-1, 210, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High
Jamarr Robinson, 6-3, 240, Fairfield (Calif.) High
Josh Tatum, 6-2, 220, Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds
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.  

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.  It is felt that UCLA could be his leader if they were to offer him.

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.  

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.  However, the academic hurdles may be too much.

Others Cornerbacks Of Note:

James Smith, 6-2, 180, Colton (Calif.) High
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 grade, and a good student.  Was named to the Sports Illustrated All-West First Team Offense as an athlete.  Has legit 6-2 size and is very young for his grade.

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.  Was at the Oklahoma game, and the Bruins have an advantage as they are recruiting him as a safety, where he wants to play. Offered

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.

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.  Green has been to both UCLA home games and if they were to offer him a shot at QB, it could help their chances with Green.

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.

Others Safeties Of Note:

Jamar Brown, 6-1, 225, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Travon Bellamy, 6-0, 185, Greenbelt (Mary.) Roosevelt 
Quinton Carter, 6-1.5, 175, North Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyanne
Adam Liranzo, 6-3, 195, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Anthony West, 6-1, 195, San Diego (Calif.) Point Loma

SPECIAL TEAMS (1):

With Justin Medlock a junior this season, UCLA was in need of finding its next elite kicker, which they did, getting the nations best.  They also received a commitment from a long snapper, who will greyshirt.

Kai Forbath, 6-1, 190, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. COMMITTED.  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 had UCLA and Notre Dame as his top two.  He ended up picking the hometown Bruins.  Already this year, he kicked a 57-yarder, which had another 8-10 yards on it. He works out with former UCLA All-American kicker/punter Chris Sailer and prepped at the same high school as Sailer as well.  Forbath is considered the best prep kicker since Sailer out West.  Offered.

Christian Yount, 6-1, 235, Las Flores (Calif.) Tesoro.  COMMITTED.  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.  They then offered him and he committed.  Yount will greyshirt and come in during the Winter of 2007 and will count againstthe Class of 2007's scholarships.  He has worked with former UCLA longsnapper Chris Rubio which has given him some national exposure.


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