Football Recruiting Update

With UCLA being 7-0, its recruiting for the class of 2006 looks different than it did just a short time ago. UCLA is running out of scholarships, while it also has some elite prospects ear-marked for those precious rides. Here's how it all could shake out by signing day in February...

UCLA is seeing its recruiting class fill up pretty rapidly.

As of right now, UCLA has 20 scholarships to give, and has verbal commitments from 19 prospects.  One of those, long snapper Christian Yount, will greyshirt, so technically, they have 18 commitments that would go toward the 2006 count, leaving them, theoretically, with just two remaining. 

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.

As UCLA fills up its recruiting class for 2006, there are some prospects that are obviously UCLA's prime targets.

With 5 or 6 scholarships, roughly, left to give, it's safe to assume UCLA would want to fill those rides with a tailback, one receiver, two linebackers, and one cornerback. 

If UCLA gets on a recruiting roll, which it very likely could given how the season is going, it could also opt to take an elite tight end, one more elite offensive lineman, one more defensive lineman, and one more defensive back.

It is conceivable that, if UCLA has the chance to get elite players, it could end up with more than just five or six additional recruits that want to come.

While many fans worry about it, UCLA -- and any program -- only looks at that "problem" as a luxury to have.

In this review, we're not going to do what we've traditionally done, and go by position. We're going to focus on the positions UCLA has remaining that it wants to fill, and the top targets at those positions. 

TAILBACK:

At this point, tailback is probably the most critical aspect of UCLA's recruiting.  If you project the UCLA roster out the next couple of years, it looks fairly good, but it's missing that big, impact running back.

Then, if you also project UCLA to get the players that they are rumored to be getting at other positions, like Allen Bradford at linebacker and Terrence Austin at receiver, the focus becomes even more intense on running back. If they do in fact get the guys they're supposed to get (Bradford, Austin) they're just an elite running back away from the 2006 class being undeniably a successful one, particullary in filling UCLA's needs.

C.J. Gable, 6-0, 190, Sylmar (Calif.) High. The #6 running back in the nation, who could also end up at safety, Gable is one of the elite athletes in the west. UCLA has been recruiting Gable aggressively, and, as we've reported lately, the Bruins are making up ground with him..  He now says UCLA is right behind USC on his list, but if UCLA continues to give Gable all the love they have been, while USC looks like they're frying even bigger national fish...well, it's going to be an interesting recruiting battle. Offered.

Stafon Johnson, 6-0, 200, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. The #3-ranked running back in the nation, Johnson is sought by some of the biggest programs. He has said before that USC is his leader. At this point, with USC recruiting both Gable and Johnson, UCLA would be more than happy to take the one that doesn't go to USC between the two of them.  UCLA has been consistently recruiting Johnson and he's starting to show some reciprocal interest, even though you'd have to think the Bruins are still a longshot. Offered.  

Toby Gerhart, 6-1, 220, Norco (Calif.) High. One of the best student-athlete among football players in the country, with a 4.6 GPA. He's probably a Stanford lean, but UCLA loves him and Gerhart has been at UCLA home games.  Said that Stanford was his leader, primarily because of their baseball program and it's likely that he will end up playing both sports in college. Offered.

Andre Crenshaw, 6-0, 180, Lancaster (Calif.) Antelope Valley. Crenshaw has been offered as an athlete but could very well project as a running back, though he could also end up as a defensive back.  He took an unofficial to UCLA in June, where he was offered and the Bruins are his favorite but Arizona is coming on. Offered.

James Montgomery, 5-10, 195, Rancho Cordova (Calif.) Cordova. Montgomery committed to Washington over UCLA back in the middle of summer, but has said recently he could visit UCLA and Cal officially. Offered.

Leilyon Myers, 6-1, 190, Lynwood (Calif.) High. A great all-around athlete who could play receiver or defensive back also. UCLA has been fighting off elite programs for him, and doing well, with Myers recently saying UCLA is leading for him. Offered.

Tracy Slocum, 5-10, 185, Clovis (Calif.) Clovis East. A guy UCLA likes quite a bit, who has had a big career and has a couple of other Pac-10 offers.  UCLA is watching him closely but hasn't offered, with academics possibly being an issue. If UCLA did offer, they'd probably be very close to the top of his list. 

Mossis Madu, 6-0, 190, Norman (Okla.) High. A new name to the list, Madu claims a scholarship offer from UCLA, but we have yet to confirm it. He also said that hometown Oklahoma has offered, and he's getting interest also from Nebraska. Modu says he'll visit UCLA officially.

Rodney Glass, 5-11, 174, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. One of the two fastest players in the west, Glass could also be recruited as a defensive back. IF UCLA – or USC – offered, it'd be pretty compelling for him.  UCLA reportedly likes him a lot, but his grades are preventing an offer.  If his grades improve, he could see a UCLA offer pretty quickly.  Glass was at UCLA's home game against Oklahoma with teammates, quarterback Garrett Green and UCLA-committed kicker Kai Forbath and said he would like to stay close to home.  

R.J. Stanford, 6-0, 180, Chino (Calif.) High. A talented athlete that participated in UCLA Skills Camp, he could also end up a cornerback, with a frame a little slight for a running back. UCLA will be watching him this fall closely.

Lonyae Miller, 5-11, 190, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser. Has looked great in the spring camps, now he needs to show it on the field this fall and in the classroom. If all goes well, a UCLA offer might come quickly, and he has indicated that the Bruins are his favorite and he would likely commit if offered.  Got off to a strong start to the 2005 season with a solid performance against Rancho Cucamonga and is showing that he is more than a combine all-star.

Andre Harris, 6-0, 220, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. A big, bruising type that actually has decent speed, Harris is a Pac-10 level recruit, but UCLA might not be able to recruit him seriously because of academics.

LINEBACKER:

UCLA has a commitment from one linebacker prospect already, Tobi Umodu, but it needs two more.

Allen Bradford, 5-11, 225, Colton (Calif.) High. If you look at the UCLA roster next season, the team looks fairly talented and deep -- except at linebacker.  That's why Bradford, the #1 linebacker prospect in the nation, is probably UCLA's most important prospect (along with receiver Terrence Austin). Next year, the outside linebacker position will be up for grabs, and if Bradford came to UCLA he'd have a very good chance of taking it as a true freshman. Bradford is fast, running a 4.5 40, and quick, and has great instincts, UCLA is fighting head-to-head with USC, but the word is that UCLA has pulled ahead significantly. Bradford has already visited Nebraska and Oregon, and could also visit Washington. Named as a U.S. Army All-American, he has said he'll announce his decision at the game January 7th. Offered.

Jonathan Cornell, 6-2, 220, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. A great athlete, who continues to look like he's getting taller and bigger, Cornell is the #20-ranked linebacker in the nation, with quickness and athleticism. He has said in the past that UCLA is his favorite, but USC is hitting him hard and he claims the Trojans have offered. His best friend is Bruin OL commit Brandon Bennett, and UCLA coach Eric Bieniemy is one of the most famous Bishop Amat alums. Offered.

Mark Johnson, 6-3, 227, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. The #11-ranked linebacker in the nation, Johnson is getting recruited by elite programs across the country, like LSU, Ohio State, Miami and USC. UCLA has been trying with him for some time, and just recently the word is that Johnson is now seriously considering the Bruins. He's a U.S. Army All-American. While it might have been inconceivable that UCLA get seriously involved with Johnson -- and his teammate, elite running back Stafon Johnson -- just a couple of months ago, it's a testament to what winning can do. 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 and received a UCLA offer as a result. UCLA looks to be at or near the top for him consistently. he has said that Utah, Nebraska, Oregon State and UCLA are probably his favorites, and will probably visit those schools. 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. Florida State could wrap him up soon, before he ever gets to a UCLA official visit. 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.    A bit undersized but you can't argue with his production.  Has attended UCLA home games and said he's waiting on a UCLA offer.

Marquez Herrod, 6-3, 225, Escondido (Calif.) San Pasqual. A big, physical player, Herrod is another prospect waiting on a UCLA offer. He's attended UCLA practices and games. We'll see if the Bruins get to him.

WIDE RECEIVER:

It's probably been the area in recruiting that has been most disappointing since Karl Dorrell took over the program over two years ago. UCLA truly has yet to sign a big, impact receiver prospect in those three subsequent recruiting classes, and you'd think that given Dorrell pedigree – and then getting a commitment from Ben Olson – receiver might have been where the position it did get elite talent.

It seems, early on, that that trend could end with the 2006 class, with UCLA leading for a couple of elite prospects in the west.

UCLA already has a commitment from Dominique Johnson, but is looking to fill at least one more receiver slot with an impact guy.

Terrence Austin, 5-11, 160, Long Beach Poly. One of the elite prospects in the west, Austin has freakish quickness, with the ability to lose his defender seldom seen.  He has said UCLA was his leader. He recently took an official visit to Notre Dame and came back raving, even though some inside sources still indicated UCLA was atop his list. He'll probably take many official visits, but it's expected that he'll commit to UCLA, at least by the U.S. Army All-American game, which Austin will play in, January 7th. Offered.

Tyquan Knox, 6-1, 195, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. Didn't get the spring publicity other receivers did, but Knox blew up at the Beyond 2000 Camp, and outshined bigger names at the Stanford Nike Camp.  He said that UCLA is his lifelong favorite and if UCLA offered, he'd commit.  He's close friends with defensive back target Darian Hagan and, of course, the former teammate of three current Bruins.  He's started off his senior season strong, while he also attended a couple of UCLA games. He's just waiting on an offer.  

Travon Patterson, 5-10, 165, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. It's almost bizarre that Long Beach Poly has two of the quickest athletes in the nation – in the same year at the same position. While Austin is lightning quick, Patterson is just about right there with him, and could actually be faster in a sprint. UCLA could offer if academics look good.  

Ricky Dixon, 6-2, 203, Reserve (LA.) East Saint John. Dixon is considered one of the best receivers in the country, and UCLA has told him if his academics are in order they'd want him. He has expressed interest in UCLA, listing them among some elite national programs.  UCLA could very likely get an official visit out of him.

Lance Kendricks, 6-4, 6-4, 205, Miwaukee (Wisc.) King. The big receiver type, Kendricks has some strong offers, and just officially visited LSU. He has said he wants to visit Westwood.

Jeremy Maclin, 6-0, 175, Kirkwood (Missouri) High. He's verbally committed to Oklahoma, but took an unofficial visit to UCLA recently. 

Chris Wellington, 6-3, 195, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Somewhat of a sleeper, Wellington has Pac-10 offers and UCLA has been in contact with him. He's got good size and speed.

DEFENSIVE BACK:

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 if he does. Recent reports indicate he has, and that Ross would commit if UCLA offered him.  

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, and has been to a couple of UCLA games this fall.  With three of his former teammates currently at UCLA, Hagan said that could play a big factor.  When it's all said and done, will he tell his dad no? Offered

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. He was on his way to a huge senior season when he broke his hand.   

Major Culbert, 6-0, 195, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne. A very quick-footed athlete who also excels as a running back. He has said UCLA has offered, but we believe it's contingent on improved academics.  He has said UCLA is his leader, and if got past UCLA admission, he could commit.

Sergio Brown, 6-1, 195, Maywood (Ill.) Proviso East.  One of the top safeties in the nation, Brown committed to Notre Dame, but the Bruins could still get a visit from him.  Offered.

Marcus Udell, 5-11, 180, Tallahassee (Flor.) Godby. A cornerback prospect with great speed and quickness, he has said he'd visit UCLA officially. Also getting recruited seriously by Florida, Alabama and more big names.

Travon Bellamy, 6-0, 180, Greenbelt (Maryland) Roosevelt. Will visit Illinois, and probably Purdue, and says he wants to visit UCLA.

Ryan McFoy, 6-1, 190, Chino (Calif.) High. A good athlete, the brother of a USC receiver, McFoy came to UCLA's camp in spring and has high interest in the Bruins.  It could be a matter of academics.

Quinton Carter, 6-2, 180, Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne.  A long and quick athlete, Carter attended UCLA's spring camp. He could visit UCLA officially.

Anthony West, 6-0, 180, San Diego (Calif.) Point Loma.  Very good speed and well-built, West is raw but has the tools to be a nice cornerback.  Nebraska is recruiting him, and UCLA has been in contact since he attended the Bruins' spring camp.

TIGHT END:

With limited scholarships to give, and a few young tight ends on the roster, getting a tight end in this class isn't a big priority. Except, of course, if that tight end is Mission Viejo's Konrad Reuland. In fact, at this point, it looks like Reuland is the only tight end UCLA is recruiiting.

Konrad Reuland, 6-6, 240, Mission Viejo (Calif.) High. Ranked the #1 tight end prospect in the west and #2 nationally, Reuland is a big, nice athlete.  He was at the Bruins games against Oklahoma and Oregon State, and seemed to be having a great time in the locker room following the game.  He also played close attention to how UCLA is featuring Marcedes Lewis in their offensive scheme. The fact that he's close with Mission Viejo running back Chane Moline, who is committed to UCLA, will help the Bruins.  If UCLA get the guys they're rumored to be getting, get an elite running back and then top it off with Reuland, it will be the best recruiting class in Westwood since the late '90s. Offered

OFFENSIVE LINE:

Micah Kia, 6-5, 305, Mililani (Hawaii) High.  The #2 ranked offensive lineman in the west, Kia is one of the best prospects from the Islands in recent memory.  He has listed UCLA for sometime and even recently said UCLA was near, or at the top for him.  Kia plans to take a visit to Westwood this fall. A broken tibia has sidelined Kia since late August, but he's played lately.  UCLA already had a big offensive line recruiting class, and if they got Kia, it could be the best class in the country. Like with Reuland, getting Kia would also contribute to making this one of the best recruiting years in recent memory. Offered.

DEFENSIVE LINE:

With defensive linemen, if there is a guy you've recognized to be very good, and he wants to come to your school, those types of DLs are so scarce, you just have to take them, regardless of how many scholarships you have. UCLA has commitments from four DLs so far in 2006, but wouldn't mind getting any of the following guys also.

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 that he has said are his favorite, 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. When USC offered him, the Trojans quickly became his favorite, but UCLA has been making up ground recently. Offered.

Jason Brace, 6-5, 245, Spanaway (Wash.) Spanaway Lake. UCLA offered him in early July after checking him out in the early evalution period.  The Bruins were the first Pac-10 team to offer but he is getting interest from all of the Northwest schools. 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. He has indicated USC is his leader, but they have yet to offer, wary a bit of the Mormon mission. Offered.

Matangi Tonga, 6-2, 260, San Mateo (Calif.) Aragon. Aggressive and quick, Tonga is getting recruited by the Pac-10 and others. He has said UCLA is in his top five and he'll visit Westwood. Offered.

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. If his academics were better, UCLA would have offered by now, and there's a chance he could make it.

De'Shon Matthews, 6-5, 255, Elk Grove (Calif.) Laguna Creek. One of the best DL prospects in the west, UCLA likes him, but he's questionable academically.  Local Cal is the favorite.

Greg Banks, 6-5, 260, Denver (Col.) Montbello. A big, quick athlete, Banks is getting recruited nationally, and UCLA is in his top five, the five schools he has said he expects to visit officially.

QUARTERBACK:

UCLA hasn't offered a scholarship to a quarterback and, very likely, won't.

But there is a possibility. While they didn't intend to take a quarterback in this class, there could be some factors that lead them to do it.

First, the disappointing development of true freshman quarterback Osaar Rasshan. Rasshan has been greatly inconsistent in practice and, as of right now, it's questionable whether he has the tools to develop into a useable Pac-10-level quarterback. 

Secondly, if they happen to have more scholarships open than they anticipated by February's signing day, they could take a quarterback. As we've been laying out here, it's not likely, but it could happen.

Then, there is a prospect who is athletic enough that he could plug in at safety if he doesn't make it as a quarterback. He is Garrett Green, the 6-2, 190-pounder from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. UCLA wants him, because he is such an exceptional athlete, with very good speed, but Green wants to be guaranteed a chance at quarterback. UCLA could take him and and let him take a first whack at QB, but with probably so few scholarships to give, they're in wait-and-see mode right now. Also setting back Green's recruitment has been an injury to his hand, which has made it hard to see him throw the ball in his senior year, even though he's been exceptional running it. 

The UCLA staff has also reportedly contacted Newhall (Calif.) Hart quarterback Tyler Lyon (6-5, 220) during the fall and is monitoring him. Lyon, also, has been slowed by an injury, which has slowed UCLA's recruitment of him. He is one of the most athletic 6-5 quarterbacks you'll ever see, with very good feet, speed and mobility. 

If either Green or Lyon had not been injured and come out and had huge senior seasons, UCLA might have been compelled to offer. As of right now, they are on waitiing on both.

OVERALL

If UCLA does, in fact, get the guys it is rumored to be leading for, it makes UCLA's 2006 class a very good one. Those guys would be Allen Bradford and Terrence Austin, and then with strong chances at Devin Ross, Jonathan Cornell and Darian Hagan.

UCLA will also probably get at least one among Andre Crenshaw, Leiylon Myers or Major Culbert.

If UCLA continues to win, and continues to recruit well, it could possibly throw in Konrad Reuland, Micah Kia and one of the elite DLs its recruiting.

What if UCLA actually pulls out someone like Mark Johnson, or Rodney Glass or Shareece Wright get past UCLA admissions?

Then, toss in an elite running back like Stafon Johnson or C.J. Gable, and UCLA probably is certain to have a top five national class.


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