Golper Is A Junior To Watch

Because their 2008 class is filling up, UCLA is starting to develop relationships with the top prospects in the class of 2009 and one who they will keep a close eye on is Arcadia (Calif.) fullback/linebacker Todd Golper, who is close friends and teammates with UCLA's newest commit, Kevan Walker...

With UCLA's recruiting class of 2008 almost entirely booked solid, the Bruin staff has begun to focus attention on the class of 2009, already securing a verbal from cornerback Marlon Pollard and having offered quarterback Matt Barkley.

A prospect that they're beginning to keep close tabs on is Arcadia (Calif.) fullback/linebacker Todd Golper (6-1, 225).

Golper played on the defensive line as a sophomore for the Apaches and will play tight end this fall, where he'll be a target of newest Bruin commit, Kevan Walker, but Golper said the UCLA coaches have talked with him about coming in as a fullback, though linebacker isn't out of the question.

"They said they want to watch my junior year (at linebacker), but right now, they're looking at me as a fullback because fullback is more natural for me," said Golper. "Fullback would be a great spot for me. But I think they are open (to recruiting him as a linebacker). I talked to Coach (Chuck) Bullough and he said he was glad I came out as a linebacker at the UCLA camp. Honestly, it doesn't matter, as long as I can get on the field."

Golper camped at UCLA for the 1-Day Camp, his first real exposure to the UCLA coaches, though because of his relationship with Walker, one of his closest friends, he knows DeWayne Walker quite well. The camp, in fact, was Golper's first real heavy action as he paced himself coming back from back pain.

"That was my first day I came back from being cleared," said Golper. "I gave everything I had and actually did pretty well. I hadn't run in two months. I went up against Derrick Coleman a lot and I have a lot of respect for him. I got to meet him at Anthony Dye's and we talked about going against each other."

Golper attended a BBQ at Dye's, where Walker felt the nudge to flip from Minnesota to UCLA, and being around the future recruits of UCLA gave Golper even more of a desire to come to UCLA.

"It was great there. I talked with Damien Holmes. We played against Colton in the playoffs so we talked a lot about that game. I talked with E.J. Woods, Nelson Rosario, Derrick Coleman. Anthony Dye and his dad are just great people."

Golper's father attended UCLA for law school and his brother is starting law school in Westwood as well, and he grew up a UCLA fan, going to games at the Rose Bowl and bowl games on the road. So an offer from the Bruin staff would mean a lot.

"I'd have to say I'd take a couple of weeks to think about it (if they offered) but I definitely think I'd jump on board," said Golper. "It's my dream school."

UCLA isn't the only school that Golper is hearing from, as Colorado, Texas, Washington, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Syracuse have all been writing and Harvard has also been sending a lot of mail, the most according to Golper.

Having watched Walker go through the recruiting process has been eye-opening for Golper.

"Watching Kevan, it's nice to have someone there, to say the right things and do the right things," said Golper. He's been like a brother to me and he's also been helping in getting my name out there. It's nice to have someone to look out with."

And the two are developing some chemistry on the field, now that Walker has moved to quarterback from receiver and Golper to tight end from fullback.

"Its kind of funny, I really wasn't his favorite target, but our Santa Fe passing tournament, at the end, like 90% of the passes were coming towards me. We seem to be connecting well and seem to know exactly where we want to go. We have the connections."

The Apaches begin practice on Monday, and opens with longtime rival St. Francis of La Canada, and Golper said he's feeling as good as he has all year.

"My back's completely healthy," said Golper. "I've been working out twice a week with a lot of explosion and plyometrics. I was out for two months but I feel great, and I'm real excited about practice starting. I'll play both ways, kind of an H-back role at tight end, where they can get me in open space. And I'm staying at linebacker. I'll play middle, but I have to know all of the positions and all the spots."

Golper was a Second Team All-Pacific League selection as a sophomore in 2006, and finished the season with 66 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Academically, Golper has a 3.5 GPA and will take the SAT for the first time this fall.

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