Football Recruiting Reset: Offense

UCLA currently has six verbal commitments, and with probably 20 or so scholarships to give, has been fairly selective in offering prospects. With just one commitment on the offensive side of the ball at quarterback, the Bruins still have some considerable needs to fill at offensive line and running back...

At the midway point of July, UCLA is sitting on six commitments, but only one is from an offensive player, Nottingham. UCLA will probably bring in 7 to 8 more offensive prospects in the class of 2010, so here are the guys the Bruins are targeting at this stage, and the ones most likely to end up in Westwood.      


At one point, it looked like UCLA might take a pass on quarterbacks in the class of 2010, but Nottingham made a big impression and got the offer.  With needs elsewhere, Nottingham looks like he'll be the only quarterback the Bruins will bring in.

Brett Nottingham, 6-4, 215, Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista.  COMMITTED.  Nottingham had UCLA ties and a lot of interest in the Bruins but UCLA offered Austin Hinder and Taylor Graham before him.  But Nottingham didn't give up on his chance to impress the UCLA coaches, coming to the final day of the UCLA Three Day Camp and throwing for the coaches.  That earned him an offer which he accepted that day.  A big kid with a strong arm, Nottingham is the top quarterback prospect in NorCal and thanks to a strong showing at the Badger/Scout 7on7 and then the Nike Camp and Elite 11 workouts, Nottingham's stock has moved up significantly.  His sisters both attended UCLA and he was at a handful of games last fall so when UCLA offered, he said it was a "dream come true."  Offered.

Running Backs

No position is more talent-laden this year in California and UCLA has offered several prospects.

Malcolm Jones, 6-1, 215, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian.  The top back in the state, Jones is a must-get on numerous levels: his talent is evident and UCLA could sure use a player from Oaks Christian, with Aaron Ware being the lone Bruin coming from the Lions' program.  Jones could be an elite linebacker if that's where he focused, but running back is where UCLA likes him.  He received offers from all over the Pac-10, but at this point, it looks like a UCLA, Cal and Stanford battle for Jones, with perhaps the Cardinal having the edge.  Offered.

Anthony Barr, 6-4, 215, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola.  The first running back UCLA offered in this class, Barr was offered on September 1st, and Rick Neuheisel is plenty familiar with Barr, since Neuheisel's son Jerry is the quarterback at Loyola.  Barr is another one like Jones that he could be an elite defender, but he's not really played there (unlike Jones), and running back is the spot where he's most comfortable.  He's a big and powerful athlete.  Notre Dame has to be considered the favorite thanks to his family ties to the Irish, but USC, UCLA, Stanford and Cal are all trying to keep him in-state.  Offered.

Jordon James, 5-10, 190, Corona (Calif.).  Few backs have been as hot on the recruiting trail as James has, and he's got offers stretching across the country, from the Pac-10, down to Florida and out to Notre Dame.  James is a speedster, but he can be an everydown back in college.  He's fully recovered from an arm injury that robbed him of half of his junior year and he was one of the standouts at the Combine.  James was selected to the UnderArmour All-America Game and has said he'll likely announce there.  He's already set up four of his official visits, to Florida, Notre Dame, Arizona and then for UCLA, and he'll visit the Bruins officially in late November.  Offered.

James McConico, 6-0, 195, Compton (Calif.). McConico may have the most upside and the best combination of speed and strength of any running back in the state.  A gifted back with nine offers, McConico is still waiting on an in-state offer from the Pac-10.  The hangup with McConico, to some extent, is academics.  He said he has a verbal offer from UCLA, pending continued improvement in the classroom.  McConico is a guy who UCLA will watch closely this fall, especially in the classroom, and he's said in the past his relationship with current Bruin Datone Jones could have an impact on his decision.

Lache Seastrunk, 5-11, 192, Temple (Texas).  Seastrunk is a longshot, with offers from all over the country, but he was one of the few elite, out-of-state guys that UCLA has offered and while they have their work cut out for them, they're going to try.  Offered.

Other Running Backs to watch:
Deontae Cooper, 6-0, 200, Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill
Cameron Roberson, 6-1, 220, Newbury Park (Calif.)
Adonis Smith, 5-11, 200, San Mateo (Calif.) Serra
Emery Schexnayder, 6-0, 205, Riverside (Calif.) J.W. North
Ricky Seale, 5-11, 185, Escondido (Calif.)
Kyle Middlebrooks, 6-0, 200, Fountain Valley (Calif.)
Bronson Green, 6-1, 218, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola (FB)


UCLA had a commitment from Richardson, and while he's open, he could end up back with the Bruins.  UCLA will likely bring in up to three receivers in this class.

Paul Richardson, 6-1, 185, Gardena (Calif.) Serra.  Richardson's father played for the Bruins and UCLA was able to get an early verbal from him but more and more schools extended offers to him, which caused him to open up his recruitment.  He will take some visits during the summer and fall, and while he says UCLA is number one, he's definitely interested in going through the process some more so UCLA will have to re-recruit him all over again.  Offered.

Robert Woods, 6-1, 170, Gardena (Calif.) Serra.  Woods may be the best skill position player in the West this year, and he has offers from all over the country.  Woods is the focus of each of the California Pac-10 schools' efforts, and Cal and USC will be two of UCLA's fiercest opponents in landing him.  He's also a gifted track guy; he focused on track during the spring, not doing any camps or combines.  He's been selected to both All-American games and likely won't make a decision until then, at the earliest.  Offered.

Kenny Stills, 6-1, 190, Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon.  Stills is probably the best pure receiver on the West Coast, a combination of quickness, excellent hands, crisp route running and playmaking ability.  He ran a 4.36 forty (laser-timed) at the Combine in Los Angeles, en route to MVP honors.  He is in double-digits for offers, including all the in-state Pac-10 programs plus programs like Oklahoma, Penn State, Florida and Tennessee, and he probably won't be deciding until well after the season is done and he takes his official visits.  Stills visited UCLA unofficially last month, and he said that he's probably not going to take any official trips to West Coast schools, instead, using them on schools outside the region.  Offered.

Anthony Jefferson, 6-1, 190, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral.  Jefferson has offers from all over the country, and especially the Pac-10, and he's one of the few guys at this position who really could play on either side of the ball in college.  UCLA offered him as an athlete, while several schools have offered him specifically as a receiver, with USC offering him as a corner. The Trojans were his childhood favorite, but he's also close with Randall Carroll, who he played with at Cathedral and is signed with UCLA.  Jefferson's offer list has allowed him to be patient and he doesn't seem to be in a rush to decide.  He'll likely take all five visits.  And after having a front row seat to the drama surrounding Carroll's recruitment last year, it's a safe guess his coaches and family will have him completely sure before he picks a program.  Offered.

Other Receivers to watch:

Bobby Ratliff, 6-2, 175, Etiwanda (Calif.)
Tyler Slavin, 6-3, 185, Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt
Austin Hill, 6-3, 195, Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt
Sean Linton, 6-2, 185, La Mesa (Calif.) Helix
DeChe Milburn, 6-1, 185, League City (Tex.) Clear Springs
Tehvyn Brantley, 5-8, 165, Durham (N.C.) Mt. Zion
Kaelin Clay, 5-10, 175, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
John Timu, 6-2, 195, Long Beach (Calif.) Jordan
Brando Tessar, 6-1, 185, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade

Tight Ends

UCLA has offered four tight ends, a year after landing the nation's best, since they lose two to graduation this next year, but two have committed to USC (Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer).   Former Crespi tight end Joseph Fauria is committed to the Bruins, choosing to enroll at UCLA this fall after transferring from Notre Dame.  Because of Fauria, UCLA's need at the tight end position has become less critical, with Fauria set to have three years of eligibility starting with the 2010=2011 season.  But UCLA will try to bring in at least one more tight end.

Christian Thomas, 6-4, 218, Palmdale (Calif.) Highland.  Thomas is one of the top tight ends in the country and he told us after his unofficial visit to UCLA earlier this spring went very well that the Bruins are right in the mix with USC, who was the first school to offer him.  He has offers from all over the country, and stil has interest in USC, despite the Trojans having those two TE commitments.  Washington and Florida State are also strong contenders.  Offered.

John Young, 6-5, 257, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola.   Young is an intriguing prospect who could grow into an offensive tackle down the line.  He's a big kid and after we watched him play last fall, we see the offensive line being his likely destination.  He was offered as an athlete by the Bruins, who offered him first on September 1st.  Since then, UNLV and Florida State have also offered Young, both as a tight end, and he's also hoping to hear more from Stanford.  His mother was a former UCLA cheerleader, though, so the Bruins have the family factor in their favor.  Offered.

Other Tight Ends to watch:

Pierce Richardson, 6-5, 225, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
Kendall Montgomery, 6-6, 240, Miami (Fla.) Monsignor Pace
Asante Cleveland, 6-5, 220, Sacramento (Calif.) Christian Brothers

Offensive Line

Afer UCLA signed a very good offensive line class for 2009, it's critical that it continues to bring in impact offensive line prospects.  With probably 3 scholarships to give to OLs -- maybe 4 tops -- the elite prospects locally become very big priorities for UCLA.

Chris Ward, 6-5, 285, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei.  The first offensive lineman UCLA offered in-state, Ward comes from a program that UCLA has historically struggled to recruit.  The good news for UCLA is that Ward has the Bruins as one of his leaders along with Cal. He's attended Junior Day and has made an unofficial visit on a separate occasion.  This one will come down to UCLA-Cal, unless USC offers, which is always a possibility, but of late, it seems Ward has shifted his focus solely on the two in-state UC programs.  Offered.

Erik Kohler, 6-5, 265, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian.  Another one of the early offer guys from UCLA, and another guy UCLA will have to battle Cal closely for, and now Washington.  Kohler visited Washington unofficially, the Huskies offered him and that catapulted the Huskies onto the leader board. That came on the heels of his good friend, Nick Montana, committing to the Huskies. Washington UCLA and Cal are in front at this point for him, with Notre Dame getting more seriously involved also, and he could decide before summer is done.  Offered.

Seantrel Henderson, 6-8, 331, St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Durham. Henderson is the top lineman in the country, and's top-ranked prospect overall.  UCLA has been mentioned in his top seven for months, though they are probably a longshot.  Still, UCLA will keep doing whatever they can to get a trip out of him.  Offered.

Wade Yandall, 6-4.5, 280, Carson (Calif.).  Yandall came to the UCLA 1-Day Camp and made a favorable impression on the UCLA coaching staff.  A few days after the camp, Yandall was offered by the Bruins, who he grew up rooting for.  Yandall's secured a few more offers since then but the Bruins are definitely in the lead.  Offered.

Sil Ajawara, 6-4, 305, Los Flores (Calif.) Tesoro.  Another offensive lineman who made a big impression at UCLA's 1-Day Camp, Ajawara landed an offer from the Bruin staff a week later.  UCLA is one of four Pac-10 schools to have offered him, along with Arizona, Washington and Arizona State.  Ajawara was thrilled with the Bruin offer, but he's not rushing a decision.  Ajawara will play tackle for Tesoro this fall, but he'll be a guard in college.  Offered.

Kody Innes, 6-3, 273, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro.  Innes is one of the top linemen in Arizona, and UCLA offered him in late May.  He took an unofficial visit to Westwood in May as well.  Stanford and Cal have offered him as well from the Golden State, as have the two in-state programs.  Offered.

Giovanni Di Paolo, 6-5, 265, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. Di Paolo has some UCLA bloodlines of his own, his grandfather playing in the Rose Bowl for the Bruins.  He's got a handful of offers and while UCLA has family in its favor, he's heavily favoring USC, and the Trojans joined Stanford in offering from in-state. Di Paolo could probably play any of the offensive line spots in college and USC offered him as a center.

Other Offensive Linemen to watch:

John Cullen, 6-6, 285, Fullerton (Calif.) College
Derek Stickney, 6-6.5, 305, Placentia (Calif.) El Dorado
Daniel Munyer, 6-3, 265, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Tyler Sulka, 6-5, 270, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Colin Tanagawa, 6-4, 250, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola
Corin Brooks, 6-3, 276, Riverside (Calif.) Arlington
Ben Loth, 6-4, 250, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
David Peterson, 6-4, 270, Redlands (Calif.) East Valley

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