For UCLA football recruiting, January is going to be interesting, to say the least.
Karl Dorrell will start as UCLA's new head football coach full-time this week. Of course, his first order of business is trying to put together a coaching staff, but order of business 1A is recruiting. UCLA has, obviously, taken some hits in recruiting with the firing of Bob Toledo and the transition in hiring Dorrell. It will be a good first test for Dorrell to see how he can salvage UCLA's recruiting class.
As of the latest news, Dorrell still has not been cleared by the NCAA to recruit for UCLA. More than likely it could be delayed until after UCLA plays in the Las Vegas Bowl. At this critical time in football recruiting, every day that Dorrell misses in recruiting is digging the Bruins a bigger hole. Dorrell has a reputation, though, for being a very effective and charismatic recruiter.
UCLA has 20 scholarships to give, which makes for potentially a good-sized class. Here's a rundown of how the recruiting situation looks for Dorrell as he tries to salvage this year's class.
If you click on the links attached to the recruit's name, it will take you to the player's profile page of TheInsiders.com database. The player's profile will have a list of schools he's considering and everything written about him in the network to date.
You can always find this list as a long-standing story on the front page of the site. It's at the bottom of the front page, under "BRO's Showcase."
UCLA will probably be still looking for one quarterback.
Dennis Dixon, 6-4, 185, San Leandro (Calif.) High. Ranked #7 in the country, and considered possibly the QB prospect with the most upside in the west, with great athleticism and a great arm, but still pretty raw. He's visited Washington and Oregon State and will visit Oregon, USC and UCLA in January. A big factor here is Jarrad Page, who is Dixon's best friend. A List.
Syvelle Newton, 6-2, 208, Bennetsville (South Carolina) Marlboro County. The #8-ranked QB in the country, Newton is athletic with a strong arm.. He has plans to visit UCLA in January, along with South Carolina and Clemson. A List.
Leon Jackson, 6-1, 190, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. He had a solid year as the Poly quarterback. Undersized, but has talent. He attended UCLA's Junior Day.
Others to Watch:
Tim Plough, 6-1, 180, Ramona (Calif.) High
Greg Reynolds, 6-5, 205, Pacifica (Calif.) Terra Nova
Richard Meager, 6-2, Richardson (Tex.) Pearce
UCLA will more than likely only give out one scholarship to a tailback, and will reserve it for a pretty elite prospect. A fullback is also targeted.
Derrick Williams, 6-0, 185, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Has proven that he's a great, all-around athlete. UCLA is his long-time favorite and they'll still have a good chance with him. A List.
Marcus Thomas, 6-0, 185, Tolleson (Ariz.) Tolleson Union. He's moved up the charts with a strong senior year, and UCLA has offered. He's taking trips but has said he'll still trip to UCLA in January. A List.
Reggie Bush, 5-11, 180, San Diego (Calif.) Helix. Bush is widely regarded as the #1 running back on the west coast. UCLA hasn't recruited him that hard, and Bush has looked elsewhere. But Bush is from Karl Dorrell's high school, and it should be interesting to see if any connections can heat up this recruitment. A List.
Daymeion Hughes, 5-11, 175, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. Hughes emerged as one of the best all-around players in L.A. this year. He's quick and shifty, and can play a number of positions, including wide receiver and defensive back. He recently said he was going to commit to Cal. It could be too late to salvage it for UCLA.
Cornell Johnson, 6-1, 200, Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines. Johnson emerges as one of the best few running backs on the west coast, and even national powers hopped on the bandwagon. He's still interested in UCLA and the Bruins would have a shot.
Kevin McCall, 5-11, 185, Carson (Calif.) High. Defintely a prospect to watch in Southern California. If McCall has a big year programs will jump all over him, and possibly UCLA. Oregon State would be tough to be beat since he's cousins with current Oregon State running back Pat McCall.
Rafael Rice, 5-11, 195, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. A solid running back that is getting looks from some big programs, and has garnered some offers. UCLA is recruiting and watching.
Tyrice Daniels, 5-11, 190 Elk Grove (Calif.) High. Had a great junior year and was named all-state second team. He was on UCLA's to-watch list.
Durrell Moss, 6-1, 175, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran. Looked good at UCLA's one-day, speedy and quick. He's ranked the #55 RB in the nation, and could end up at a another position. He could get consideration from UCLA now.
Others to Watch:
Michael Liti, 5-11, 185, Tustin (Calif.) Foothill
Chase Twedell, 6-0, 180, Cerritos (Calif.) Valley Christian
Maurice Drew, 5-9, 180, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle
Jacob Flowe, 6-1, 204, Chino (Calif.) High
With one committed in Pitre, and even possibly another to help out in Tomasello, it's safe to say that UCLA is probably done recruiting the fullback position.
Michael Pitre, 5-11, 245, Orange (Calif.) El Modena. COMMITTED. Pitre is one you can be sure will stay committed to UCLA, since he committed when UCLA didn't have a coach. He's very fast for his size, running in the 4.5 range, and very strong.
Joe Tomasello, 6-0, 220, Fresno (Calif.) City College. COMMITTED. Tomasello was recruited primarily as a longsnapper, a position that UCLA needed to fill, but he could also help out at fullback, where he played for Fresno City this year.OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
UCLA has three commitments on the offensive line, although possibly two of them could end up on the defensive side of the ball. Two have said they're still committed, while the other is a good bet. UCLA might add at least one more, if not two, to this recruiting class.
P.J. Irvin, 6-4, 280, Agoura Hills (Calif.) Agoura. COMMITTED. UCLA's first commitment, committing in late April. Irvin was a long-time UCLA fan and an early UCLA lean. When more schools started picking up their recruitment of him, UCLA offered him, he attended UCLA's spring scrimmage and committed. He re-affirmed his commitment recently. A List.
Jeremy Harrell, 6-2, 285, Texarkana (Tex.) Texas. COMMITTED. Harrell was noticed by the UCLA coaching staff during their spring evaluation swing in Texas. He's particularly explosive, and quick off the ball. He was invited to the UCLA four-day camp in June, looked very impressive and UCLA offered. He went home, thought about it a few days and then called UCLA and committed. He could also play DL. He recently took a trip to Arizona State and might trip elsewhere. But he'll visit UCLA in January and it's thought he'll still be coming to UCLA. A List.
Nikola Dragovic, 6-3, 270, Vista (Calif.) Rancho Buena Vista. COMMITTED. A sleeper that many believe has the potential to be very good, Dragovic had a good senior season. He's also a championship wrestler on the national level. He has said he's still committed to UCLA despite the coaching change. A List.
Kyle Gunther, 6-4, 265, Calabasas (Calif.) High. Attended UCLA's four-day camp and looked impressive, with good size and very good quickness and technique. His mother was a volleyball player at UCLA and dad went to Arizona State. UCLA had been stepping up its recruitment of him when Toledo was fired.
Cesar Rodriguez, 6-7, 250, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. A sleeper who got bigger and had a good senior season. He's now getting serious looks from the Pac-10, including UCLA.
Hercules Satele, 6-2, 250, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Showed at many camps that he might be one of the best despite being undesized.
Matt Reese, 6-7, 330, Bakersfield (Calif.) Centennial. Huge kid, who is limited athletically.. UCLA was among leaders early, then USC became his leader in spring. UCLA might get re-involved.
Royce Edgington, 6-5, 280, San Gorgonio (Calif.) High. Showed up at UCLA's one-day camp and looked very big and moved well. On UCLA's list.
A.J. Slater, 6-5, 280, Newport Beach (Calif.) Newport Harbor. Possibly one of the best in Southern California, Slater has made some coaching staffs take notice, including UCLA.
Others to Watch:
David Sampson, 6-3, 315, Cypress (Calif.) High
Robert Gustavis, 6-4, 255, Torrance (Calif.) North
Robert Gambay, 6-6, 310, Palo Cedro (Calif.) Foothill
Alex Gottlieb, 6-5, 280, Valencia (Calif.) High
Earl Pantley, 6-5, 310, Encinitas (Calif.) Torrey Pines
Eddie Pantley, 6-5, 310, Encinitas (Calif.) Torrey Pines
Preston Clover, 6-5, 260, Laguna Hills (Calif.) High
Aleks Blagojevich, 6-4, 290, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Chad Macklin, 6-8, 265, Visalia (Calif.) Golden West
It should be a position that Karl Dorrell recruits very well, so it will be interesting to see how UCLA does with the stellar group of wide receivers on the west coast.
Alex Ghebreselassie, 6-3, 185, Chula Vista (Calif.) Bonita Vista. COMMITTED. He committed in the first week of May after getting offered at the end of April. He's big, fast and very talented, and considered one of the biggest sleepers on the west coast. Ranked 24th nationally among wide receivers. It's believed he'll stay committed. A List.
Mark Bradford, 6-2, 185, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fremont. A complete stud of an athlete, Bradford is also a pretty good basketball player. He has shown in different camps this summer that he could be among the best wide receivers in the country, currently ranked #11. He had a great Palo Alto Nike Camp. UCLA has fallen behind for him and he's tripping elsewhere, but we'll see if the Dorrell hiring can change things. A List.
Quintin Daniels, 6-0, 185, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Very swift and talented wideout from Matt Ware's alma mater, Daniels just visited UCLA's practice a few days ago. He has good grades so Stanford could be the main competition. He has said he's now had his interest in UCLA piqued with the hiring of Dorrell. A List.
Steve Smith, 6-1, 185, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. One of the best in the country, Smith is just an athlete with a great natural instinct. He had crossed UCLA off his list but said that he might reconsider the Bruins now. A List.
Noah Smith, 5-11, 175, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. The speed burner on Taft, Smith is the son of a former UCLA football player. It's believed UCLA still has a very good shot. A List.
Whitney Lewis, 6-1, 209, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. The #1 wide receiver in the country, Lewis is a difference-maker. He crossed UCLA off his list early, but has said now, with the Dorrell hiring, he'd consider the Bruins. Problem is academics. A List.
Devin Stearns, 6-2, 190, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. A stud athlete who played current UCLA freshman Eric McNeal, Stearns could end up a safety on the next level. Stearns has said his interest in UCLA is stil there. A List.
Robert Meachem, 6-2, 200, Tulsa (Okla.) Washington. Speedy, shifty and with great hands, Meachem is the #6 WR prospect in the country. UCLA has been on him for a while, and all the big names are now, too. UCLA will try, but also academics could be an issue. A List.
Joe Cowan, 6-5, 195, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Big and long, Cowan received rave reviews this season. UCLA offered. A List.
Mike Harris, 6-2, 180, Covina (Calif.) Charter Oak. Looked good at UCLA's one-day camp, with speed and good hands. He attended UCLA's bowl practice and still has interest. He could end up a defensive back.
Jason Ray, 6-2, 190, Broken Arrow (Okla.) High. Considered one of the best athletes in Oklahoma, Ray is getting strong looks from various programs. UCLA is watching.
Rudy Burgess, 5-11, 175, Edwards (Calif.) Desert. Attended UCLA's four-day camp. Very fast, but still raw. Pac-10ers are recruiting.
Jason Ferguson, 5-6, 150, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Yes, too small, but he gets it done. He scored 30 touchdowns as a junior, and he has the best cutting moves of any receiver in recent memory. UCLA is family favorite, and he'll stay on UCLA's list through next winter. He blew out his knee at UCLA's four-day camp and will miss his senior season.
Matt Slater, 6-2, 180, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. The son of former Ram, Jackie Slater, there is some great buzz about him and UCLA is recruiting him.
Duran Cooley, 6-0, 186, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral. Definitely a kid from L.A. to watch this year, Cooley has good speed and moves. On UCLA's list.
One tight end looks to be the quota, unless there are a couple of elite prospects who want to come.
Craig Stevens, 6-4, 235, Palos Verdes (Calif.) Peninsula. Emerging as one of the best in the west, Stevens got noticed at various camps this summer. He attended the UCLA one-day camp and the UCLA coaches liked him. He has some Pac-10 offers and UCLA could get more heavily involved. Stevens said he wanted to wait to see what was up with the UCLA coaching situation, so the Bruins might have a chance.
Rob Lewis, 6-5, 220, Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair Prep. He was committed to USC, but that commitment dropped out. He also likes Stanford and attended the UCLA/Colorado State game. So, he might be a longshot, but there's a chance. He's also getting recruited as a defensive end or linebacker.