Football Recruiting Re-Set

With Terrence Austin committing to UCLA, just where does the scholarship tally stand for the 2006 football class? What recruits are left on UCLA's recruiting board? With just a few weeks left before Signing Day, here's a re-setting of the table...

With a little over three weeks left before Signing Day, UCLA's football recruiting efforts have wound down to a handful of recruits the Bruins are still targeting.

UCLA has 22 commitments (if you count intended-greyshirt, Christian Yount). With Maurice Drew declaring for the NFL draft, UCLA then has 21 scholarships available.

But, as we've maintained for months, if target recruits still want to come, UCLA will take them, and then sort out the scholarship situation later.

At the top of the WANT list is Micah Kia, the 6-5, 300-pound offensive line prospect from Mililani (Haw.) High. Kia took his official visit to UCLA during the Bruins' big recruiting weekend, Dec. 17th, and visited Oregon State, Tennessee, and Oklahoma previously. The word is that Tennessee is doing well, as is Oklahoma, but that UCLA held a slight lead. Head Coach Karl Dorrell, assistants Dino Babers and Tom Cable were in Hawaii for an in-home visit with Kia last Monday, trying to secure a verbal commitment. Reports indicate the visit went well but Kia did not commit. He had said he intended to announce the second week in January, and it appears he could be sticking to that plan.

Darian Hagan, the 5-11, 185-pound defensive back from Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, is another big target still on the board for the Bruins. He also visited UCLA Dec. 17th, and then just visited Cal this last weekend. Those two schools – UCLA and Cal – are thought to be his frontrunners, and it's believed he'll make a decision fairly soon now that he's completed his official visit to Cal.

Also taking an official visit to Cal this weekend was Clovis (Calif.) East running back Tracy Slocum (5-10, 190). We just spoke with Slocum Sunday night and in that interview, Slocum indicates that UCLA and Cal are even and that he'll also decide soon.

Those three – Kia, Hagan and Slocum – you can probably expect to announce their decisions anytime. A big fish still on the line is Norco (Calif.) running back Toby Gerhart (6-2, 225). Gerhart also visited UCLA Dec. 17th, where the Bruins made up some considerably ground against long-time leader Stanford. In fact, UCLA has really stepped up its recruiting of Gerhart considerably, after a senior season where he proved he could be a tailback and not just a fullback. The word is that UCLA loves Gerhart, as a player and as a person, especially since he's an excellent student. Recently Gerhart has said that UCLA and Stanford are even, but he has yet to visit The Farm, which he'll get done this coming weekend. He is a standout baseball player, and there is the possibility he might not play college football at all and sign a professional baseball contract.

Craig Stevens, the 6-2, 215-pound linebacker from Tallahassee (Flor.) Lincoln, will visit UCLA on Jan. 21st. With UCLA's linebacking group being thin and inexperienced next year, linebackers were a big priority, and it appears that Stevens is the one highly-rated linebacker prospect still a possibility for UCLA. He has said that he very easily could come across the country and go to UCLA, while the other schools he's considering are Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Maryland.

Stevens will take his official visit with his friend and teammate, cornerback Ashton Henderson (6-0, 185). UCLA has offered Henderson, as has Ohio State, Mississippi, and others. The fact that UCLA is recruiting Henderson definitely helps with Stevens.

Looking at UCLA's linebacker recruiting, superficially you could draw the conclusion that, given such a pronounced need, they haven't recruited well. But UCLA was particularly hit hard by its academic admissions in regards to linebackers. There were a number of elite linebacker prospects – Mark Johnson from Dorsey, Travis Goethel from Vista, and Jonathan Cornell from Bishop Amat – that UCLA probably would have gotten if they had been able to get past UCLA's academic admissions.

The other big target left on the board is defensive lineman Adrian Taylor (6-4, 260) from Mansfield (Tex.) High. UCLA has been recruiting Taylor hotly for a long time and he will visit sometime in the last available weekends in January, probably Jan. 21st (the same weekend as Stevens and Henderson, and a few committed players).

Whether UCLA misses on these guys – Kia, Hagan, Slocum, Stevens, Henderson and Taylor – will determine greatly what UCLA will do with other recruits it's still recruiting but haven't offered.

Top on that list right now is probably quarterback/athlete Garrett Green, (6-2, 190) from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. Green was recently offered by Nebraska, having already been offered by San Diego State, Texas A&M, Kansas State and Ole Miss. We spoke to Green last night and he said, though, that if UCLA offered it'd move the Bruins to the top of his list (his interview is coming soon).

Also a player who could potentially get an offer is Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure linebacker Dwight Roberson (6-1, 215). We just spoke to Roberson Sunday (Roberson Interview).

Others potentially on the list could include Andru Stewart, the DB from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, and athlete Chris Wellington from Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Andre Crenshaw, the athlete from Lancaster (Calif.) Antelope Valley, who had been offered early by UCLA, looked like he would commit early, but then didn't, is still available. It appears, though, that UCLA has cooled on Crenshaw once he hesitated to commit.

More than likely, though, the two prospects who could potentially get offers in the next couple of weeks are Green and Roberson.


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