FB Recruiting Reset: Defense

UCLA has secured six verbals in the class of 2009, all on the defensive side of the ball, with two at linebacker, two at cornerback and two at safety, but they're still looking for recruits to boost their defensive line recruiting...

With the spring evaluation period now in full swing, UCLA's assistant coaches are hitting the road to see prospects from all over the country. As of now, there are roughly 22 scholarships to give, which is under the NCAA limit for a given year, but it's not a surprise if UCLA ends up with 25 scholarships with guys leaving for a myriad of reasons.

To date, UCLA has six commitments, all on defense, and there are some positions where, including four in the secondary, so they would likely be done there.

In this review, we'll try to lay out exactly which players have been offered scholarships, who could be offered, and what are UCLA's priorities at each position.

This isn't going to be a comprehensive list of everyone UCLA has shown interest in, but a list that concentrates on those players UCLA has offered and those that could possibly receive an offer.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES:
It's not a good year for tackles in California. In fact, it's not a good year for tackles out West. The pickings are slim this year, at a spot UCLA could use some bodies.

Corey Adams, 6-3, 275, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro. Adams is the top tackle in Arizona, and one of the elite prospects at the position nationally. UCLA offered him at the end of April, but they're not listed in his most recent top seven. The feeling is, though, that he's staying in-state. Offered

Chris Davenport, 6-4, 311, Mansfield (La.). UCLA will definitely have their work cut out in trying to woo Davenport out of the South. The homestate frontrunner, LSU, doesn't often lose a recruit that they focus on, and with Glenn Dorsey setting a high standard, you can bet that LSU is selling Davenport on that. He's got offers from just about everyone, and while the Bruins are one of those, they're probably a longshot, at best.

Justin Brown, 6-2, 260, Compton (Calif.). UCLA has had Brown on campus a couple of times this spring, for a Junior Day and a meet-and-greet, and they know plenty about him, having seen him playing next to incoming frosh Datone Jones. Brown is a good-sized body who does a good job against the run. Needs to add weight too. He likes USC and UCLA both, but if the Trojans offer, they'll likely end up with him as his cousin, Chris Metcalf, is already a commit to USC.

Noel Beckles, 6-2, 285, Los Angeles (Calif.) Verbum Dei. UCLA has done well at Verbum Dei the past few years, with Justin Edison and Akeem Ayers both being former Eagles. Beckles said UCLA was his dream school and if the Bruins offered, he'd likely commit. They've had him in for Junior Day, but he'll likely be a guy that needs to have a good performance at their camp to get an offer.

Will Sutton, 6-1, 260, Corona (Calif.) Centennial. UCLA invited Sutton to their spring game, and they have legitimate interest, which is reciprocated, in him. He had a strong showing at the Nike Camp in Los Angeles, stamping him as a top prospect, and UCLA is in his top five, with Oregon the leader.

Other Defensive Tackles Of Note:

Emeka Iweka, 6-6, 330, Arizona Western (J.C.)
Nathan Holloway, 6-3, 300, Las Vegas (Nev.) Spring Valley
Sione Tuihalamaka, 6-2, 260, Gardena (Calif.) Serra

DEFENSIVE ENDS:
UCLA landed an excellent pair of pass-rushers in Damien Holmes and Datone Jones a year ago, and they're targeting a bunch of the top prospects out West this year. Like the tackles, it's not a great year in-state, so UCLA is hitting Arizona and Nevada hard in hopes of landing one of their top prospects.

Keenan Graham, 6-4, 215, Las Vegas (Nev.) Silverado. The Bruin staff offered him in late April and it made a big impression on the fast-rising Graham, one of the most heavily recruited prospects from Nevada in a while. Graham told us last month that UCLA is his leader and he's hoping to take an unofficial visit to Westwood in the spring. Offered

Devon Kennard, 6-3, 255, Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista. The top defensive end in the state, UCLA offered him earlier this year, but they'll have a lot of work to make up, as schools like, LSU, Texas, USC and hometown Arizona State have all been on him a lot longer. He took an unofficial visit to UCLA in mid-April and UCLA will try, but they're probably on the outside looking in for Kennard. Offered

Craig Roh, 6-5, 225, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral. The #2 defensive end in the state of Arizona, Roh also received a UCLA offer earlier this year. He took an unofficial visit in the latter part of April and attended the last spring practice. But several other schools got on him early and UCLA will have some work to do on getting him. Offered

Danny Mularkey, 6-3, 220, Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista. As UCLA scouted out Kennard, they also had a chance to see Mularkey, who has some Pac-10 offers and is interested in the Bruins. He visited UCLA with Kennard in April for an unofficial trip. He could be a camp offer-guy.

Anthony Anderson, 6-2, 240, La Mesa (Calif.) Helix. Anderson is an intriguing prospect in that he's been playing behind Levine Toilolo, the Stanford commit, on both sides of the ball, so he's not had a chance to really get much attention. That's changing this spring though, as Anderson had a good showing at the AIGA Combine and is getting some attention now that his highlight film is out. He's an excellent athlete and one worth keeping an eye on.

Other Defensive Ends Of Note:

James Boyd, 6-5, 215, Los Angeles (Calif.) Jordan
Jackson Powell, 6-3, 230, Newbury Park (Calif.)
Josh Banks, 6-4, 230, Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's
Italia Chricton, 6-2, 230, Lakewood (Calif.)
Craig Payne, 6-4, 235, Ontario (Calif.) Colony

LINEBACKERS:
UCLA already has verbals from two linebackers, one in the middle in Golper and one on the strongside in Bowens. They'll likely take at least one more, probably a weakside backer, though they may add a fourth linebacker too. The weakside spot, though, is probably the most pressing to get.

Todd Golper, 6-1, 225, Arcadia (Calif.). COMMITTED Golper was the first recruit in the class of 2009 to commit to Rick Neuheisel and he's been the pied piper of the recruiting class, taking the lead as the "recruiter" of this class. Golper is a stout middle-backer, ranked #6 nationally by Scout and has looked very good in the spring, after a big junior year. And if there is one player that defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker is plenty familiar with, its Golper, who was a teammate of Walker's son, Kevan, the past two seasons. Offered

Isaiah Bowens, 6-3, 220, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. COMMITTED Bowens was one of the surprises of the early recruiting stages, but he had some good offers and is coming off a solid junior year. He also comes from one of the top perennial programs in the state in Bishop Amat. Bowens also plays receiver, but his future is on the defensive side of the ball. He's one of two Amat players to commit.Offered

Manti Te'o, 6-2, 225, Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou. The top player on the Islands and the top linebacker in the country, Te'o may be the biggest recruit to ever come from Hawaii. UCLA offered him after his sophomore year, but this one appears to be a USC-BYU battle. Te'o does come from the same high school that offensive coordinator Norm Chow attended, though. Offered

Barkevios Mingo, 6-2, 210, West Monroe (La.). UCLA has really tried to recruit Louisiana heavily in the past few years, and they're going after one of the Bayou's top linebackers in Mingo, having offered him. But so have most of the Southwest and Southeast programs, making UCLA's already difficult pursuit that much tougher. Offered

Jordan Barrett, 6-3, 225, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. Barrett had an excellent junior season, despite playing in the shadows of Anthony McDonald, but he's poised for a big senior year. He has offers from Notre Dame and Washington, but attended UCLA's spring practices and spring game and has legitimate interest in the Bruins. Barrett is a versatile prospect, he could play in the middle or on the strongside too.

Trevor Erno, 6-2, 230, Lakewood (Calif.). Erno is coming on strong this spring and he took in a few of UCLA's spring practices. UCLA is one of the seven schools he's interested in, but Arizona and Washington State, who've both offered, are his leaders. Erno could be an offer guy if he comes to UCLA's camp, though, and does well.

Travis Brown, 6-2, 225, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West. Brown has a handful of Pac-10 offers, but Fresno State has his dad, Dan, on staff as the defensive coordinator, and though he likes a slew of Pac-10 schools, the feeling is that it would be tough for him to get out of Fresno and away from his dad.

Michael Clay, 6-2, 225, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep. Clay had UCLA listed in his top three with Cal and Oregon, though the Bears are now in the lead, having offered him and being nearby his San Jose home. He's visited UCLA this spring and he may take in their 1-Day Camp in June.

John Michael Davis, 6-2, 225, Las Flores (Calif.) Tesoro. Davis attended a couple of UCLA games last fall, was at some spring practices and at the Bruins' spring game. He likes UCLA a lot, and will probably attend their 1-Day Camp in the spring.

Nick Bruce, 6-1, 210, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Bruce is a middle linebacker for Taft, but would probably play on the weakside in college. Very similar in build to Reggie Carter, and with the same style of play, Bruce has UCLA as one of his top two schools, and has the academics to back it up.

Robert Franco, 6-0, 225, San Pedro (Calif.). Franco attended UCLA's Junior Day and some games last fall, as well as the Spring Game, and the Bruins, along with Cal, are one of his top two schools. Franco said an offer from one of those two schools would be tough for him to pass up. He'll be camping at UCLA in June.

Other Linebackers Of Note:

Jayson Allmond, 6-1, 245, Bloomington (Calif.)
Eric Martin, 6-1.5, 210, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde

CORNERBACKS:
The Bruins have commitments from two corners already in Pollard and Price, and really, will probably only bring in an elite guy, if anyone else, like Harris or Brown.

Marlon Pollard, 6-1, 180, San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon. COMMITTED. When Pollard committed to UCLA last summer, he was the earliest public commit to UCLA ever, doing so before his junior year. As a junior, he did nothing to show UCLA acted too soon, and he's now one of the top corners in the West and a Scout 300 member. Pollard was a commit to Karl Dorrell, but Walker was the coach recruiting him and who offered him so despite the coaching change, Pollard has remained 100% solid to the Bruins. Offered

Sheldon Price, 6-1, 160, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. COMMITTED. Price needed all of a half a second to accept UCLA's offer before he committed to the Bruins. The son of former Bruin and NFL defensive back Dennis Price, Sheldon has had UCLA as his dream school his whole life and was just waiting for the offer. After strong showings in Las Vegas and at the Nike Camp, Price received that offer and committed to the Bruins at the Spring Game. He's still needing to add weight, but his nice, long arms and good quickness at the position gives the Bruins a good prospect at the corner spot.Offered

Sean Martin, 6-0, 180, Corona (Calif.) Santiago. Like Price, Martin has had an excellent spring, and he had a big junior year, playing in the Sharks' secondary with future Bruin Anthony Dye. Martin has UCLA as one of his favorites, and if the Bruin staff does decide to offer another corner, he could be the recipient of that offer. He's excellent in coverage and has good backpedal quickness.

Cliff Harris, 6-0, 175, Fresno (Calif.) Edison. Harris is the top-ranked corner in the country, and has showed it just about every way he can, on the field, at camps and combines, you name it. He and Courtney Viney are close friends, and UCLA is a school he's got interest in, but the Bruin staff is waiting on his SAT score. USC has offered, and Oregon is a school he likes a lot too.

Osahon Irabor, 6-0, 183, Upland (Calif.). Irabor is another prospect that UCLA is very interested in and Irabor's stock may be the highest of anyone at this position out West, going from zero offers to eight, including five from the Pac-10, in a matter of weeks. Irabor is a very good student, who's got quick hips and a knack for the ball. He's come to UCLA's Junior Day and may camp in Westwood next month.

Other Cornerbacks Of Note:

Usua Amanam, 5-10, 180, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep
Avery Patterson, 5-9, 165, Pittsburg (Calif.)
Bijon Samoodi, 5-8, 160, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Semaj Harris, 5-11, 180, Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger

SAFETIES:
The Bruins signed three safeties last year, though Westgate could probably end up as a weakside backer. They've got a commit from one pure safety in Moore and Mascarenas could play either spot. They're probably done with safeties, unless one more elite guy wanted to come.

Byron Moore, 6-1, 200, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne. COMMITTED. Moore is the top defensive prospect in the City Section this year, and the Bruins snagged the top defensive back from the City for the second year in a row. An Army All-American, Moore's stock was on the rise when he committed to the Bruins at the end of April. He's a versatile two-way threat, also a good receiver, and he's excellent in coverage. Moore can also return punts and kicks and he's hoping to do the same in college. Offered

Alex Mascarenas, 5-11, 180, Mission Viejo (Calif.). COMMITTED. Mascarenas is an intriguing prospect because he could play corner or safety and probably prefers safety in college, where he says UCLA is planning to put him. He's been one of the best DBs in the Southland the past two years, earning all-CIF honors the past two seasons, including in 2006 when he was on the all-Pac5 team as the lone sophomore, the toughest division in the state. He is one of Orange County's top prospects in the class of 2009.Offered

Other Safeties Of Note:

Brent Seals, 6-1, 190, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat
Jamal Atofau, 5-10, 185, Bellevue (Wash.)
Nathan Fellner, 6-0, 195, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West
Jabari Carr, 6-1, 180, San Jose (Calif.) Oak Grove
Dijon Washington, 6-1, 180, Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger
Evan Heard, 6-1, 190, Covina (Calif.) South Hills


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