Football Recruiting Reset: Defense

With the spring evaluation period just about over, UCLA is looking toward its camps in June to check out many recruits first-hand, extend more scholarship offers, and perhaps get more commitments. Here are the guys on defense UCLA is targeting...

Here is a look at some of the prospects UCLA has either offered or is expected to pursue heavily in the waning weeks of the evaluation period and at their two camps (1-Day on June 6th and 3-Day from June 21st -23rd).

Defensive Tackles

As usual, UCLA is in the market for defensive tackles, and while there is a good crop out West this year, there have been mixed reviews on many of them.

Cassius Marsh 6-4, 280, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. UCLA made Marsh a priority and its top target on the defensive line but Marsh committed to Cal in April. Then last weekend, he decommitted from the Bears, and while Marsh has Cal as his current leader, he's mentioning USC, Tennessee, Oklahoma and LSU as his primary schools of interest, with UCLA and Oregon on the next tier. Offered.

Julious Moore, 6-0, 255, Bellevue (Wash.). Moore is built similarly to Brigham Harwell when Harwell was a senior. Moore has UCLA as one of his two favorites, along with hometown Washington, and he'll be in Westwood for the Bruins' camp. Moore pound-for-pound is a tough-as-nails tackle and plays with a lot of nasty. Offered.

Ricky Heimuli 6-4, 285, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton. Heimuli has offers from all over the country, including the entire Pac-10. He has a connection to Norm Chow, and the Bruin staff has been in touch with him. He's an excellent student as well, making him even more appealing. But with the list of offers he's gotten, UCLA will have their work cut out for him. Offered.

Shariff Floyd 6-2, 235, Philadelphia (Penn.) Washington. Floyd has a UCLA offer and he's expressed legitimate interest in him but of late, he's rarely listed the Bruins in his group of favorites. Offered.

George Uko, 6-4, 295, Chino (Calif.) Don Lugo. Uko is a guy who's been much discussed for the past few months. While there are many questions on why UCLA hasn't offered him, UCLA is continuing to do its due diligence with him. Uko has a handful of offers and he was one of the standouts at UCLA's 1-Day Camp last spring. He's supposed to be at the UCLA 1-Day Camp in early June, and that could go a long way in determining if he'll get an offer.

Sealii Epanesa, 6-2, 300, Honolulu (Hawaii) Iolani. In UCLA's renewed efforts to make an impact on the Islands, they found this mammoth defensive tackle. Offered.

Kirifi Taula, 6-4, 275, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. Taula has a couple of Pac-10 offers and UCLA will probably take a look at him during the evaluation period and possibly as soon as their camp next month.

Other Defensive Tackles to Watch:
Brendon Tago, 6-2, 285, Palmdale (Calif.) Highland
Augafa Vaaluu, 6-2, 290, Downey (Calif.)
Sani Fuimaono, 6-2, 260, Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou

Defensive Ends

Several of the top defensive ends in the West have already made commitments, in fact, three of the top four are committed, so the pickings aren't as plentiful. Chris Martin is headed to Notre Dame, Bronson Kaufusi is committed to BYU and Curtis White is going to Oregon. Fortunately, UCLA should be decently stocked at defensive end, so there isn't the dire need there like there is at tackle.

Marquis Jackson, 6-4, 235, College of the Canyons (Calif.). Jackson was a guy UCLA had a lot of interest in from the class of 2008, playing with Milton Knox and Donovan Carter and teaming with his brother, Malik, now at USC, for one of the best defensive end duos around. Jackson was a non-qualifier out of high school and has had to go the JC route, but UCLA has offered him in hopes he's getting the work done necessary. Offered.

Shane Pennix, 6-3,256, El Cajon (Calif.) Valhalla. Pennix is a good-looking prospect who comes off the edge now, but could continue to get bigger and become a defensive tackle. His favorite school is UCLA, and the Bruins have offered, which makes him a good bet to be a Bruin. Offered.

Ronald Powell 6-4, 250, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde. Powell is the top defensive end uncommitted, boasting offers from all over. He's thought by many to be a heavy USC lean, getting offered last summer and Florida has also made a big impression on him. UCLA has offered and is trying but they're on the outside looking in. Offered.

Daniel Godkin, 6-4, 220, Las Vegas (Nev.) Palo Verde. Godkin has four offers but said that UCLA is one of the offers he's the most hopeful to land. He's one of the best pass-rushers in Nevada, and UCLA just landed that state's best end a year ago in Keenan Graham. Godkin will likely be camping at UCLA in the summer.

Hroniss Grasu, 6-3, 245, Encino (Calif.) Crespi. Grasu is an excellent two-way lineman, he can play either defensive end or offensive guard. He attended UCLA's Junior Day. Grasu has been a two-time all state pick on both sides of the ball for Crespi. He likes UCLA a lot too, and camped there last summer and is planning to again this spring.

Leonard Rhodes 6-3, 230, Walnut (Calif.). Rhodes is a running back-defensive end, at 6-3, 230, who's probably best suited to play defense in college. Rhodes has expressed serious interest in UCLA, attending several games during the fall.

Other Defensive Ends to Watch:
Andrew Hudson, 6-3, 212, Redlands (Calif.) East Valley
Tony Washington, 6-4, 210, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos
Wesley Flowers, 6-4, 250, Fresno (Calif.) Edison
Brent Williams, 6-4, 200, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft
Xavier Cooper, 6-4, 268, Tacoma (Wash.) Wilson

Linebackers

Josh Shirley, 6-3, 220, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser. Shirley is fast becoming one of the elite defensive prospects in the West in this class and the attention is well-deserved, as he's one of the premier pass-rushers in the state. Shirley was offered as a hybrid end/linebacker, able to play three downs and get after the quarterback. UCLA is one of the Bruins' primary targets. He'll likely camp there during the spring. Offered.

Hayes Pullard, 6-1, 210, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. Pullard hasn't been mentioning the Bruins much lately, while schools like USC and Florida have offered him and are making a big push for his services. Pullard is the top inside linebacker in the state and UCLA would love to get a commitment from him. He could also play running back. Offered.

V.J. Fehoko, 6-0, 225, Honolulu (Hawaii) Farrington. Fehoko is very high on UCLA, having a longstanding family relationship with Norm Chow and Fehoko has double-digit offers from all over the country. He's also got BYU pretty high on his list, being LDS, and he's camping at the USC Rising Stars Camp in search of an offer from USC. Offered.

Tony Jefferson, 6-0, 197, Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake. Jefferson was an early commit to Stanford but has backed off that commitment and has offers from all over the nation. UCLA is showing a great deal of interest in the versatile Jefferson, who could play safety and running back as well, but this appears to be a USC-Florida battle. Offered.Offered.

Zac Stout, 6-2, 220, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. Stout has attended some UCLA football and basketball games this past year and was at Junior Day during the winter. Stout is as good sideline-to-sideline as any linebacker in SoCal and he could play either inside or outside in college. UCLA has yet to offer him, and he's got a few Pac-10 offers, but BYU appears to be the leader.

Victor Burnett, 6-0, 225, Culver City (Calif.). Burnett was one of the more prolific tacklers in California this past season, and he's got a slew of offers, including from Cal and Oklahoma, but he's still very interested in the Bruins, being good friends with freshman Antwon Moutra, who he played with at Culver City. Burnett will be camping at UCLA in June.

Other Linebackers to Watch:
Shaun Lewis, 6-1, 210, Sugar Land (Texas) Hightower
Bronson Green, 6-1, 218, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola
Alani Fua, 6-4, 195, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
Jeremy Stein, 6-1, 210, Carpenteria (Calif.)
Dylan Davis, 6-0, 200, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure

Cornerbacks

Cullen Christian, 6-1, 185, Pittsburgh (Penn.) Penn Hills. The big, physical Christian has offers from throughout the country but interestingly, UCLA is the only school in the West who's made his favorites. While he's reportedly a lean to Michigan, hometown Pittsburgh is also putting in the work. Still, UCLA is going to keep trying with him. Offered.

Keanu Nelson, 6-0, 180, Tucson (Ariz.) Sabino. Nelson is the best corner in Arizona and he's attracting interest from all over, with a dozen offers. He's also got excellent grades, with Stanford and Vanderbilt also having offered him. Offered.

Joshua Shaw, 6-2, 190, Palmdale (Calif.). Shaw could be the next recipient of a UCLA offer and that would go a long way in getting the fast-rising corner into their corner. His family prefers him close to home, but he's beginning to attract interest from all over the country, including Oklahoma and Tennessee offering. Shaw has definite plans to camp at UCLA for the 1-Day Camp.

Demetrius Wright, 6-1, 195, Corona (Calif.). Early on, Wright had high interest in UCLA and said he may commit if offered. But UCLA didn't offer and in stepped schools like USC, Florida and Oklahoma for Wright. He has good size, 6-2, 200, and could play either cornerback or safety in college, which will help him in that he's got the versatility to be more interchangeable. But UCLA may have missed the boat on this one.

Troy Hill, 5-11, 165, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. Hill is one of the better cover corners in California, and has been a key in the Seraphs' two-time state championship squad. Hill has an offer from a handful of schools but has high interest in UCLA. He's got some work to do academically, but the interest is there. He'll be at the 1-Day Camp.

Other Cornerbacks to Watch:
Terrance Mitchell, 6-0, 180, Sacramento (Calif.) Burbank
Derron Smith, 5-11, 170, Banning (Calif.)
Shaquille Richardson, 6-1, 180, Los Alamitos (Calif.)
Bryan Douglas, 5-11, 170, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne
Bene Benwikere, 5-10.5, 170, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Jonathan Mack, 5-10, 185, Colton (Calif.)

Safeties

Sean Parker, 6-0 190, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne. Parker is the top defensive back in the West, his offer list a who's who of college football. The entire Pac-10 has offered, as has Notre Dame, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma among others. Parker has long said he's interested in playing out of state, but if he stays close to home, USC will have the advantage. Offered.

Dion Bailey, 6-1, 195, Lakewood (Calif.). The top defensive player on a talented Lancers squad, Bailey's stock has shot through the roof this spring, first starting with an excellent performance in Las Vegas at the Badger/Scout 7on7 and continuing throughout. He has offers from Notre Dame and Oklahoma and Florida could be next, and then he has the usual suspects from the Pac-10, including UCLA. Offered.

Ronnie Vinson, 5-11, 190, New Orleans (La.) Isidore. Vinson's offer sheet reads of schools like Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi and USC but UCLA also made the cut and he's planning a summer visit out to Westwood. Offered.

Marquis Flowers, 6-3, 195, Goodyear (Ariz.) Millennium. Flowers has offers from much of the Pac-10 as well as schools like Michigan, Nebraska and Cal, but Arizona appears to be the leader in this one. Offered.

Earnest Thomas, 6-2, 195, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary Prep. Thomas' offers spread from the east coast to the southeast to out West, with UCLA and Stanford being two of his top seven, and both expected to receive an unofficial visit from him. He's still waiting for an offer from the in-state programs, but they've reportedly been turning up the interest with him.

Lucky Radley, 5-10, 185, Agoura (Calif.). Radley is another guy who's been to UCLA a couple of times as a guest for hoops and then went to a few football games. Radley plays running back and linebacker, but his size projects him to safety in college, where he's a physical player. USC is his dream school but UCLA did have him in at camp, and he may return.

Derrick Malone, 6-1, 210, Colton (Calif.). Malone comes from a strong Colton program, where UCLA landed Damien Holmes from a couple years ago and he's another physical two-way threat who's probably best suited for the secondary. He's got a handful of Pac-10 offers and UCLA could have him at their 1-Day Camp.

Other Safeties to Watch:
Charles Garrett, 6-1, 190, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey
Tre Sayles, 6-2, 210, Corona (Calif.) Santiago
Shaydon Akuna, 6-3, 210, Kapolei (Hawaii)


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