There were several players that UCLA is in on that starred at USC's Rising Stars Camp on Wednesday.
The star of the day was easily Chino (Calif.) Don Lugo defensive tackle George Uko, who continued his torrid spring. Uko was one of the stars at the Scout.com Combine last month, then tore it up at UCLA earlier this month to get an offer from the Bruins. On Wednesday, his performance throughout the day made the Trojans the latest to offer him.
Uko simply dominated during the 1-on-1s, whether it was the times he just effortlessly pushed his man back right into the bag, or the times he threw a spin move on the offensive linemen, who grasped at air. During the 11-on-11, it was much the same, Uko getting a great push each and every time.
One of the knocks on Uko had been his motor, whether he brings it every down, so with a healthy chip on his shoulder, Uko has tried to dispel that all spring and Wednesday was a day where you could see it.
As good as Uko was on Wednesday, he was hardly the only defensive linemen who stood out.
In fact, it's safe to say, that there was no better position to watch then the defensive linemen.
At one point in the 11-on-11, there were four defensive linemen who are a part of the Scout 100, all on the field at the same time: Uko, Ricky Heimuli, Jackson Jeffcoat and Ronald Powell. And when those four played together, the offensive line really struggled to give the quarterbacks time to throw.
Heimuli looked good, getting a good push and showing pretty good burst. When he and Uko lined up next to each other, it was a pick-your-poison.
Powell is a physical freak and is so strong and quick off the edge. In the morning, he routinely was beating his lineman. In the afternoon, he moved to linebacker and played quite a bit in the middle.
Josh Shirley from Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser, is one of the hybrid type end/linebackers, and like Powell, he spent time in the morning with the defensive line, where he did well, getting a sack on his first rep, then in the afternoon, moved to linebacker, where he looked comfortable and smooth in the drills.
Joshua Shaw from Palmdale (Calif.), is high on several schools' lists, and for good reason. He's a big physical corner, who looks like a safety and he did well in coverage.
Shaquille Richardson from Los Alamitos (Calif.) got a lot of run with the first squad on defense as a cornerback, and he continued to excel, like he has for most of the spring. Richardson had two nice breakups during the 7-on-7.
Dietrich Riley is one of the more versatile players in the class of 2010, able to play running back, receiver or safety, and it was at safety that he showed best at on Wednesday.
Riley had a pretty pick-six, getting a good break on the ball, then showing off his athleticism to elude getting touched by the offensive side.
Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake linebacker/safety Tony Jefferson looked very good in the morning, and he moved between outside linebacker and safety during the afternoon.
There were some elite defensive linemen from the underclass ranks, most notably Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, who followed his stellar performance from a week ago at the USC Lineman Camp with a dominant showing in the afternoon. Beverly Hills (Calif.) defensive end Greg Townsend and Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman defensive end Jalen Grimble, both had great moments in the 1-on-1s and in the 11-on-11s. At one point in the afternoon 11-on-11, all three linemen were in on the same group.
Other defensive players who stood out included cornerback Anthony Jefferson from Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral, Agoura (Calif.) safety Lucky Radley, Palo Alto (Calif.) defensive tackle Troy Boyland, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser cornerback Anthony Brown, Culver City (Calif.) linebacker Victor Burnett and Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne cornerback Bryan Douglas.
Offensively, there was still plenty of studs on hand, but they just had their work cut out for them with the defensive talent. During the 7-on-7, the QBs had a hard time getting their receivers open because of the coverage, then in the 11-on-11, the offensive line struggles kept them from getting set.
Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's receiver Josh Harper did really well in the morning, doing a good job in his route running and getting good separation on the corners. Harper has nice, soft hands, and is a crisp runner, and his timing with the quarterbacks was solid.
Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne receiver Brian Hawthorne had a very nice day, scoring a touchdown on the last play of the morning scrimmage, throwing a nice head fake on the corner and catching the ball at the back of the end zone.
Anaheim (Calif.) Servite tight end Troy Niklas is one of the elite 2011 prospects in California, and he had a good morning, lining up in the slot and also playing on the line at tight end. He's got very good hands and is tough to jam at the line of scrimmage. Fellow Trinity League underclassmen Victor Blackwell from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei had a good morning session himself, showing good explosiveness.
Generally, the offensive lineman struggled during the scrimmaging, but there were some who had good moments in the 1-on-1s. Class of 2011 prospect Christian Westerman seemed to get the most reps from the line, and while he was beat on occasion, by some of the bigger and older defensive ends, he also had some really nice moments where he staved off his defender. Westerman has excellent footwork and does a great job using his hands in pass pro.
Other linemen who caught our eye were Salinas (Calif.) tackle Chandler Hubbard, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame tackle Ben Gottschalk, Riverside (Calif.) Arlington guard Corin Brooks, who also played some defensive line, and 2011 prospect from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, A.C. Patterson, who saw some time on defense as well.
There were a handful of players who came out but didn't participate, most notably Robert Woods from Gardena (Calif.) Serra.