Football Recruiting Update

With UCLA hosting its biggest recruiting weekend in a few days, it's time to update you on their overall recruiting outlook. Here are the guys that remain as UCLA's top targets...

UCLA saw its recruiting class fill up early and rapidly and it's coming in to the home stretch here, wanting to finish it off strong.

As of right now, UCLA has 20 scholarships to give, and has verbal commitments from 20 prospects.  One of those, long snapper Christian Yount, will greyshirt, so technically, they have 19 commitments that would go toward the 2006 count, leaving them, theoretically, with just one 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 to 25 scholarships to give to the 2006 class.

So, realistically, UCLA has about 4-6 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 4 to 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. 

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.

This weekend is a big one in terms of recruiting for UCLA, with many recruits coming in. It could sort out the recruiting picture considerably. 

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, besides linebacker.  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.

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 has shown some reciprocal interest, even though you'd have to think the Bruins are still a longshot. Offered.  

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 it appeared the Bruins are making up ground with him for a while. In the aftermath of the UCLA-USC game Gable has said essentially that he's not considering UCLA anymore. UCLA is still trying, though, while still faced with the potential issue of academics. 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 and the all-time leading career rusher in California history, Gerhart is 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. UCLA is trying hard, with UCLA coaches attending a recent Norco CIF playoff game. He'll visit UCLA (Dec. 17th) and then Stanford in January. Offered.

James Montgomery, 5-10, 195, Rancho Cordova (Calif.) Cordova. Montgomery committed to Washington over UCLA back in the middle of summer, but will visit other schools, including Cal and UCLA (Dec. 17th). Offered.

Leilyon Myers, 6-1, 190, Lynwood (Calif.) High. A great all-around athlete who could play receiver or defensive back. UCLA had been fighting off elite programs for him, and doing well, with Myers having said that UCLA was leading for him. Bu recently we've heard that academics could be a sticking point. 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.  He'll visit Dec. 17th.

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. He'll visit UCLA officially Dec. 17th.  Offered.

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 is still recruiting him, but hasn't offered.

Lonyae Miller, 5-11, 190, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser. Has looked great in the spring camps, and had a good senior season, but just recently garnered some offers. UCLA offered and took a commitment from his teammate, defensive end David Carter, but it doesn't appear that Miller will be getting a UCLA offer soon.

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, and Bradford visited USC officially during the UCLA-USC game weekend. There were strong indications that UCLA was his leader before the visit, but he then said USC led after the visit.  He'll visit UCLA this weekend and it's the make-or-break moment in his recruitment. His family wants him at UCLA, but he's now leaning toward the Trojans, and it's down to just UCLA and USC. 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. UCLA might not be able to take Cornell due to academics. Offered.

Mark Johnson, 6-3, 227, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. The #10-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 and UCLA recruiting coordinator Eric Bieniemy.  UCLA hasn't offered because of academics, but that Johnson has a chance to get past UCLA admissions. If UCLA did offer they'd probably be in the driver's seat with Johnson.

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. He'l visit UCLA in late January and UCLA has to be hoping he doesn't commit elsewhere by then. If UCLA falls through with Bradford and Johnson, they need Stevens. 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 has shown less interest over the last couple of months.  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.

Spencer Paysinger, 6-3, 210, Beverly Hills (Calif.) High. A good athlete that could play receiver, Paysinger has come to many UCLA games over the years. He's still on UCLA's radar.

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 seemed, 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 raved about his official visit to Notre Dame, but privately we heard he thought it was too far away and too cold.  He'll visit UCLA this weekend and it's probably between the Bruins and the Irish. He has said he'll announce in the U.S. Army All-American game, which Austin will play in January 7th. Offered.

Tyquan Knox, 6-0, 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. He's close friends with defensive back target Darian Hagan and, of course, the former teammate of three current Bruins.  He's had some off-the-field issues, left Crenshaw but then returned to play with them when they won the City Section Championship. 

Lance Kendricks, 6-4, 205, Miwaukee (Wisc.) King. The #11-ranked receiver in the nation, Kendricks is the big receiver type, with some strong offers, and officially visited LSU and Wisconsin. He has said he'll visit UCLA in January. 

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, but it seems like UCLA has been slow-playing him a bit while other schools, that could offer despite spotty academics, are recruiting him aggressively.

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.

Richard Sherman, 6-2, 180, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez. A good athlete, and very good student, who was recently admitted to Stanford. The Cardinal lead, and UCLA has been keeping him on the back burner, but it could be getting too late.

DEFENSIVE BACK:

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

Ashton Henderson, 6-0, 185, Tallahassee (Flor.) Lincoln. A teamate of linebacker Craig Stevens, UCLA really likes Henderson, and he'll visit with Stevens in January.  Offered.

Travon Bellamy, 6-0, 180, Greenbelt (Maryland) Roosevelt. Has said 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.

Devin Ross, 5-11, 180, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High. Many consider him the best cornerback prospect in the west, but UCLA probably won't be able to offer due to academics.

Shareece Wright, 6-0, 180, Colton (Calif.) High. Another elite defensive back that UCLA probably won't be able to touch due to academics.

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.  We've heard recently that UCLA could be cooling on Culbert, probably not able to offer because of academics.

Andru Stewart, 5-11, 180, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. A good athlete at cornerback that UCLA is still considering.

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

Will Yeatman, 6-6, 255, Poway (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo. A good, big athlete that UCLA has shown interest in. Notre Dame and Maryland are at the top of his list.

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.  A broken tibia sidelined Kia for much of his season. Kia will visit UCLA Dec. 17th.  got Kia, and if UCLA got him, it could make UCLA's OL class one of the best in the country. Like with Reuland, getting Kia would also contribute to making this one of the best recruiting years in recent memory. Offered.

Nick Ekbatani, 6-5, 285, Los Angeles (Calif.) Harbor JC. Originally from Torrance South High, Ekbantani has developed into a great OL prospect, with great feet and quickness. He has visited Miami and says they're his leader. He'll visit UCLA Dec. 17th. 

DEFENSIVE LINE:

When UCLA recently got an offer from defensive end David Carter, you'd think they'd be done with DL recruiting. But 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 five DLs so far in 2006, but wouldn't mind getting any of the following guys also.

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.

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.

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. Recent reports are that UCLA might have backed off. 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 was one of UCLA's prime targets since the start of recruiting for the 2006 class. Many schools have been wary of his intention to go on a Mormon missions, and UCLA might have backed away recently. 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.  

QUARTERBACK:

UCLA hasn't offered a scholarship to a quarterback.

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, there are some questions about the 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.  UCLA recently had an in-home visit with Green.

OVERALL

If UCLA does, in fact, get the guys it needs -- Bradford, Stevens/Johnson and Terrence Austin, it makes UCLA's 2006 class a very good one. Throw in Darian Hagan, or Konrad Reuland, or Micah Kia, or Mossis Madu or Toby Gerhart, and you have some considerable icing on the cake.  Enough icing to UCLA probably guarantee UCLA a top ten class and possibly top five in the nation. 


 


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