Re-Set of Recruiting for 2007

It's the first weekend that UCLA will have recruits in for official visits, so it's time to re-set the table in terms of UCLA's football recruiting for the 2007 class. We run down the current possibiities for UCLA's remaining scholarships, like Colorado receiver Drew Davis, and who are the most likely to get them...

With only nine scholarships available in the class of 2007 for UCLA, and with seven of them already spoken for, it will be interesting to see who will fill the two remaining scholarships.

UCLA looked to be gaining a scholarship with the retirement of Robert Kibble, but Joe Cowan's knee injury, which forced him into a redshirt year, kept that number at nine.

There is also the possibility UCLA could still have more scholarships open up in January and be available for the 2007 class. Also, if a few players that UCLA has offered did decide to commit to UCLA, the Bruin staff could take commitments from one or two over their current scholarship limit, believing that more scholarships could become available by next fall.

Right now, with scholarships limited, however, the Bruin staff is looking at a couple of possibilities of greyshirts in this class. Here is a quick snippet of who UCLA could fill complete its recruiting class with as well as the possibilities for greyshirts.

First, of the committed guys, none seem to be in danger of decommitting. Akeem Ayers has taken an official visit to Colorado and still may take a trip to Cal, but he remained adamant about sticking with the Bruins. Brian Price has been to a couple of USC games but said that he wouldn't be taking any official visits anywhere other than UCLA and is signing with UCLA in February. Perhaps if Price takes an official visit elsewhere, it might be time to worry in his case. The other five committed prospects, CB Courtney Viney, QB Chris Forcier, RB Raymond Carter, LB Steve Sloan and TE Nate Chandler are all rock solid in their verbals to UCLA. The committed prospects are all scheduled to visit UCLA on December 16th.

Then, there are the prospects those who are still looking at the Bruins but haven't committed anywhere.

UCLA will bring in three prospects for their official visits this weekend: DB Jordan Bernstine, OL Kristofer O'Dowd and WR Drew Davis.

Bernstine has maintained the Bruins in his top five since they offered him in spring. However, Iowa, the homestate school, remains the team to beat and with Iowa State hiring renowned defensive coordinator Gene Chizik as their new head coach, even the Cyclones will be a factor. Bernstine has visited Texas A&M and Nebraska and may visit Pittsburgh. He's scheduled to visit Iowa the weekend after UCLA.

O'Dowd has long been rumored to be a USC lean, but told Scout.com this week that he doesn't have a favorite and isn't a silent commit anywhere, including USC. However, O'Dowd reportedly had a good trip to USC last weekend, and they will be a major factor for his services. O'Dowd is also looking at Tennessee and hometown school Arizona aside from the Bruins.

Of the three coming in this weekend, the Bruins likely have the best shot with Davis, but by no means is it a done deal. This will be the third visit for Davis; he's also visited Oregon and Washington. He also plans to visit Cal and Georgia Tech. As recently as three weeks ago, he said Georgia Tech was his leader, then after his trip to Oregon the next weekend, Davis said his top four included Oregon, Washington, Cal and UCLA, with Georgia Tech not even mentioned. So it's unclear just who exactly leads for Davis, but UCLA will get the next crack at him. If the Bruin staff did sway Davis, he would immediately become the best receiver signee under Dorrell. While he is rated lower than what Terrence Austin was when Austin committed to the Bruins, Davis is a big-play guy with the size and speed that UCLA has lacked in the last few years.

Of the remaining targets, several outstanding offers remain. The top targets include cornerback Donovan Warren, linebacker Malcolm Smith and tight end Devin Mahina. Warren has said he won't take an official visit to UCLA or USC, being the local schools, but will likely take unofficial trips. USC is still the favorite for Warren and Ohio State and Cal are also being heavily considered.

If UCLA could secure a commitment from Malcolm Smith, he just may be the feather in the cap of this class, and the recruiting coup of Dorrell's coaching tenure at UCLA so far. One of the most versatile and athletic prospects in the state in this class, Smith could be an impact guy from the day he sets foot on UCLA's campus. The younger brother of USC receiver Steve Smith, Malcolm has remained mum on his leaders, but the recent scuttlebutt is that Notre Dame could be the team to beat, and that he's not set on following in his brothers footsteps as it may seem. Still, USC cannot be counted out as a player for him.

Mahina seems to be the most likely player to commit to the Bruins from this group. He has narrowed his top four to BYU, UCLA, Oregon and Colorado, but from what we hear, UCLA and BYU are the two to beat and the proximity to home is playing in the Bruins favor. Mahina, who is LDS, has also said he would like to take his mission as soon as he can, which would be a bonus for UCLA, being able to sign him, but not have his scholarship count until the fall of 2009, when he would likely come. Mahina is scheduled to visit UCLA the same weekend as the committed prospects.

UCLA has offered Duarte (Calif.) offensive lineman Mike Harris and, according to Duarte assistant coach John Brown, Harris is likely going to take the offer from UCLA, which dictates that Harris greyshirt, enroll in the winter of 2008 and his scholarship counts against the count for the 2008 school year. Harris is also going to visit Arizona, who has offered him as a conventional freshman, but Harris has grown up a UCLA fan, his mom is a teacher and education is important to him. He has been a presence at most of UCLA's games this fall.

Loyola cornerback Chris Conte committed to Cal during the summer but there has been a lot of talk that he could renege on that verbal and come to UCLA instead. Conte was at a Bruin practice two weeks ago, has been to a game at the Rose Bowl and was at a fall practice, showing that he still has some level of interest in the Bruins.

Chris Carter, who was at UCLA practice this week, is the younger brother of freshman defensive end David Carter, and he has maintained UCLA as one of his favorites throughout the recruiting process. Carter could end up with an offer if they miss on some of their targets, and he also could receive a greyshirt offer, though he may be less inclined to take it since he's been one of the key targets of Oregon State and Fresno State and could play early there.

Reggie Dunn, the speedster from Verbum Dei, could also be a greyshirt possibility, and he has been doing work in the classroom to allow for a UCLA offer. But at the same time, Dunn has offers from Oregon, Oregon State and Washington, and those could be more enticing than sitting out a semester.

Other guys that UCLA is still looking at but have yet to offer are Malachi Lewis from Rio Mesa in Oxnard, Arizona running back Prince Amukamara, Florida receiver Tray Herndon, Arizona defensive end William Yancy and San Diego safety Todd Doxey. Lewis had been verbally offered by UCLA in the spring, but he hasn't shown much interest in UCLA and he hasn't been officially offered. There is also some question about what position Lewis will play in college. Amukamara said UCLA told him to keep a visit available and they will likely bring him in for a trip. Herndon is in a similar situation to Amukamara, possibly taking a visit out West but holding offers from several schools in the South, including homestate Miami. Doxey is still on UCLA's radar, but he is leaning towards Oregon and Washington State and will likely choose from those two. Yancy has a plethora of offers and holds UCLA as a favorite, but has yet to receive an offer from the Bruins.

Notre Dame safety Shane Horton remains on UCLA's radar after a strong senior season, as does University receiver Titus Young, Muir safety Lance Mitchell and Crespi defensive end D.J. Holt.

There have been some reports and discussion that Byron Velega, the former Bruin cornerback who left the program in spring, could return to UCLA. Now going by the name Byron Davenport, he is currently at El Camino College, and is entertaining interest from some Pac-10 schools, but we've heard that it would be a longshot for him to return to UCLA.


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