22 freshmen will report to UCLA today (actually, many checked in last night). They'll undergo physicals, and then a steady wave of orientation meetings, and begin practicing in shorts Tuesday.
Perhaps the biggest story concerning the freshmen reporting today is the fact that Jarrad Page will be among them.
Page was a fifth-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the basketball draft in June but has not come to terms over a contract with the Brewers. Reportedly, Page wants a contract that he and his advisors believe is worth giving up football for, roughly in the $1 million range. Apparently the Brewers' best offer has been around $700,000, according to the Daily News.
Head Coach Bob Toledo said at Pac-10 Media Day that Page intends to enroll at UCLA and play both football and baseball as a Bruin. Toledo said that Page will not go the "Ricky Manning route," which would be to sign with the Brewers and play baseball during the summer.
The Brewers have until the first day of classes at UCLA, September 23rd, to sign Page.
If he does not sign and enrolls at UCLA, he'll have to wait until his third year in school before re-entering the baseball draft.
What else to look for this week:
Many eyes will be focused on the freshmen quarterbacks, Drew Olson and Matt Moore. Olson and Moore, as every Bruin football fan knows, were highly touted recruits that are coming into a depth chart that is depleted at the quarterback position. One or both could be called upon to play, and both are at least preparing to try to win the #2 spot behind Cory Paus this season, along with redshirt freshman John Sciarra.
Another position that is relatively thin this season is safety, and UCLA expects to take long looks at Page, as well as freshman Eric McNeal to possibly shore up the position and at least lend some solid depth. UCLA was also expecting freshman Mike Nixon to come in and possibly contribute, but he signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for over $1million after being drafted in the third round, bypassing college football for pro baseball.
Linebacker is a position where possibly a freshman or two could conceivably make the two-deep. Redshirt freshman Spencer Havner is penciled in as the starter on the depth chart at weakside linebacker and only JC transfer Patrick Pierre-Louis is also listed there. At strongside and middle linebacker there are only two players listed in the depth chart, so it makes for a potential opportunity for the incoming freshmen linebackers. Justin London comes in perhaps the most touted, and physically developed at 6-2 and 230. Kirby Joseph is also in that range, 6-2 and 230. But Xavier Burgess was considered one of the best LB recruits in the west, and Wesley Walker was one of the hottest at the end of last year's recruiting season.
Of course, all of those same eyes will be monitoring perhaps UCLA's most highly-touted new player, Marcedes Lewis. Lewis, the 6-7 athlete from Long Beach Poly, is expected to come in and contribute immediately at tight end, slot receiver and even possibly rush defensive end. Toledo has said that he has already designed some new wrinkles for the offense to take advantage of Lewis.
We'll have reports from the freshmen practices this week, of course. Later this week, we'll do our annual "What to Look For in Fall Practice" Preview.
And then starting on Saturday, when the team reports for camp at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks and begins two practices a day, you can expect two reports a day on BRO…