Recruiting Reset: Defense

As the spring evaluation period inches closer in the coming weeks, BRO takes a look at some of UCLA's top targets on the defensive side of the ball...

With Spring Practice starting today, and the evaluation period beginning later this month, the UCLA coaching staff can focus more on recruiting the 2011 class.  Several top prospects are expected to come to Spaulding Field in the next few weeks to check out the Bruins in Spring Practice.  The coaches will then hit the road to recruit following spring ball.  Right now, we're hearing they'll have between 14-17 scholarships to give.

UCLA stocked up on the defensive side of the ball in the 2010 class while emphasizing offensive recruits with the 2009 class. The 2011 class could be evenly weighted between offensive and defensive recruits.

Here is a look at who UCLA will likely be targeting for the 2011 class, with how many they will likely bring in at specific positions.


The defensive end class in general in the West is outstanding for the class of 2011, and UCLA has already offered a few of the top pass-rushers in the region as well as a couple of more nationally.  They will try to bring at least one in this class, but probably would take a couple if those players so chose to be Bruins.

Jalen Grimble, 6-3.5, 255, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman.  Just two years ago, the Bruins landed the top prospect in Nevada, a defensive end, in Keenan Graham.  This year, it's Grimble, who has a host of offers from all over the country, including Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and USC, where his cousin, Xavier, signed.  Grimble camped at UCLA last spring for the 1-Day Camp, and was verbally offered not long after that.  He has family in Los Angeles aside from his cousin, and he is very high on Rick Neuheisel and staff.  UCLA will have their work cut out for them going against the other national programs, but they're most definitely in the mix for Grimble.  Offered. 

Colt Lyerla, 6-5, 225, Hillsboro (Ore.).  The Bruins landed one of the top pass-rushers in the country a year ago from Oregon in Owa Odighizuwa.  But Lyerla will be much tougher.  Lyerla has been considered one of the top prospects to ever come from Oregon, and easily in the last decade or so.  He can play tight end, outside linebacker or defensive end, but Scout projects him as a defensive end in college.  He's got offers from all over the country, but he's a huge Oregon lean, so UCLA, and mostly everyone else, will have to work hard to pull Lyerla away from the Ducks.  Offered. 

Brennan Scarlett, 6-4, 245, Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic.  Scarlett comes from the same school that produced Oregon legend Joey Harrington, so many feel like the Ducks will be a heavy factor in his recruitment, and that's true.  However, Scarlett has been open about looking all around, and he camped at USC and UCLA last summer, as well as at Washington.  He's got offers from most of the Pac-10 along with Nebraska, Notre Dame, LSU and Oklahoma and his father went to BYU (though he's not LDS).  He'll likely take some time before he commits.  Offered. 

Greg Townsend, 6-4, 255, Beverly Hills (Calif.).  Despite playing just minutes from the UCLA campus, Townsend isn't as serious about the Bruins as he is other schools in the Pac-10, namely USC, Oregon and Washington.  Townsend said the Bruins were in his top ten, but not his top five, which includes those three Pac-10 schools, Miami and TCU (where his father played).  He was one of UCLA's first 2011 prospects to get an offer, and they could try and pick things up with him, but they'll have work to do to get higher on his list.  Offered.

Brennen Beyer, 6-4, 220, Canton (Mich.) Plymouth.  Defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough is hoping to go into his homestate and land Beyer, but he'll have to go up against the traditional Midwest powers like Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame to get him, and Beyer said earlier this week that the Wolverines and Irish were his top two, though  many feel he's Michigan's to lose.  Offered. 

Cedric Reed, 6-5, 245, Cleveland (Texas).  One of the premier defensive players in the Lone Star State, Reed was dominant at the U.S. Army All-American Combine in January in his home state.  Reed is focusing on several Big 12 schools and is rarely mentioning UCLA (as well as Stanford, the other Pac-10 school that has offered).  Still, UCLA will try with him until they know for sure they are out of it.  Offered. 

Kevin Anderson, 6-4, 245, Palo Alto (Calif.).  Anderson committed to hometown Stanford last month and said he remains solid to the Cardinal.  Still, the Bruins like his motor and ability up front and Anderson did tell us that it is nice to have some options just in case.  UCLA did get one Stanford commit in last year's class in Jordan Zumwalt, and with the they're giving Anderson, wouldn't mind doing it again.  Offered. 

DeVante Wilson, 6-3, 225, Corona (Calif.).  Wilson has been to UCLA a couple of times, for Junior Days and to Bruin games last fall with teammate Jordon James.  He's got a couple of offers, from Arizona and Colorado, but has definite interest in the Bruins and said he plans to camp there this spring.  He's a guy that UCLA will want to see up close in the camp setting before they offer, as he's still a bit undersized to be a defensive end, but could end up as a strongside linebacker like Josh Shirley.

Dylan Wynn, 6-3, 235, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. The best lineman on the best team in the state, Wynn is coming off an all-state season with the Spartans, who he helped to a state title.  Wynn has a handful of offers, but has serious interest in UCLA.  He'll be in Westwood in the spring for an unofficial visit and plans to be at the Spring Game and will also likely be camping at UCLA during the summer. 

Charles Burks, 6-1, 230, Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison.  Burks is even less a prototypical defensive end, at 6-1, 230, but his motor doesn't quit and he had a very good season as a junior, with 14 sacks, for a stellar Chargers team.  Burks has interest in UCLA, being close to home and being friends with Zumwalt, but Stanford was the first school to offer him and he told us a couple weeks ago that he's feeling the Cardinal.  He'll camp at UCLA during the summer, though. 

Corey Waller, 6-2, 225, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly.  Like Shirley, Waller is a linebacker who's had to play defensive end, and he's done it quite well.  Waller, the Jackrabbits' top prospect in the 2011 class, had a great showing at the U.S. Army Combine and had a strong junior year.  He told us he likes UCLA a lot, Washington has offered and that USC is his dream school.  UCLA will watch him closely in the spring.

Ian Seau, 6-4, 235, Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon.  Kenny Stills got all of the attention for LCC last year, but Seau, the nephew of Junior Seau, was their star on defense, and is one of the premier defensive players in San Diego County.  UCLA is showing interest in him and he has a couple of offers, but we're hearing that if his uncle's alma mater offers, he'll end up at USC.

Stephan Nembot, 6-7, 245, Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair Prep.  Nembot is an intriguing prospect, who's only played one season of high school football.  He came to the U.S. from Cameroon to play basketball, but with his size, frame and athleticism, coaches at Montclair Prep talked him into football and now he has a couple of Pac-10 offers.  Nembot said two of his inspirations when he came to the U.S. were former Bruin basketball players Alfred Aboya and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, so if UCLA's football coaches decided to pursue him further, they can use that angle.

Other Defensive Ends to watch:
Jadeveon Clowney, 6-5, 235, Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe
Jermauria Rasco, 6-4, 251, Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian
Cody Kurz, 6-3, 245, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Robert Ash, 6-4, 245, Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks
Sam Meredith, 6-3, 250, La Mesa (Calif.) Helix
Lavonte Barnett, 6-2, 225, Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete
Reggie Coates, 6-2, 230, Encino (Calif.) Crespi


You can never have too many tackles, and UCLA would like to still add more tackles, especially with Julious Moore and Rykeem Yates' uncertainty academically.  They've offered five so far,

Todd Barr, 6-3, 265, Lakewood (Calif.).  One of the best defensive linemen in the West, Barr has a handful of offers, and UCLA was one of the first schools that offered him.  Barr is high on the Bruins, along with Washington and USC, though the Trojans haven't offered.  USC wants him at their camp this summer before they offer him, but it worked for two of his teammates, Jesse Scroggins and Dion Bailey, who a year ago, were offered by the Trojans based on strong performances at their camp.  But Barr told us that even with an offer from USC, he's still very serious about the Bruins.  Offered. 

Christian Heyward, 6-3.5, 266, San Diego (Calif.) Point Loma.  The most versatile lineman in San Diego County in the class of 2011, Heyward is a load up front, quick enough to be a defensive end, big and strong enough to play inside, and he's very similar in style of play to Cassius Marsh with his quickness off the ball and good length.  UCLA offered him very early in the process and the Bruins are doing very well with Heyward, but he too is planning to camp at USC this summer to see where he stands with the Trojans, and that could affect his recruitment.  Offered.  

Danny Shelton, 6-3, 286, Auburn (Wash.).  Shelton is a player we've seen a lot of the past few years, and he's a load in the trenches.  He can flat out move, especially well for his size, and he's a very good pass rusher up front.  He's also strong against the run and plays with a bigtime nasty streak.  Shelton has offers from all over the Pac-10, but Washington is in a good place for him, being close to home and his good friend and teammate, Chris Young, signing with the Huskies in February.  Offered.

Antwaun Woods, 6-4, 285, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft.  Woods was the first interior defensive lineman the Bruins offered, doing so verbally last summer and then officially on September 1st.  But Woods is committed to USC, which he did on Signing Day of his Junior year.  He's said he'll still take all five of his official visits, and UCLA is a place he plans to visit, but we fully expect him to sign with the Trojans come February of 2011.  Offered.

Viliami Moala, 6-5, 305, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant.  The best defensive lineman in the West in the class of 2011, Moala has offers from all over the Pac-10, but academics have held some schools, namely UCLA, from offering him.  Moala told us he expects to be a full qualifier when it's all said and done, so UCLA will probably offer him officially sooner than later, and he's a talent and a player worth offering early.  Still, the Bruins will have tough competition from USC, Oregon and Cal, the early favorites for the five-star. 

Mustafa Jalil, 6-4, 300, San Diego (Calif.) Cathedral Catholic.  "Moose" has been on the map since his sophomore year, when he starred for the Dons on their state championship team.  Jalil surprised everyone when he committed to hometown San Diego State over a host of Pac-10 offers, early in his junior year, but he said that he wanted to be close to home, that he needed the Aztecs and the Aztecs needed him.  That said, with more Pac-10 schools, and other schools nationally, showing interest in Jalil and offering him, he may open things up, and UCLA could be one of the schools to further pursue him. 

Todd Peat, 6-3, 280, Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol.  Peat is the top defensive lineman in Arizona in the 2011 class, and he's also the brother of elite 2012 prospect Andrus Peat, so a school that lands Todd could have a leg up.  UCLA hasn't offered Peat, but they're in consistent contact with Peat and he's still very much interested in the Bruins, despite the lack of offer.  He's visited UCLA unofficially and will likely camp in Westwood this summer.  Arizona State has the local advantage, being in Tempe, and he has family ties to the Sun Devils. 

Other Defensive Tackles to watch:
Nathan Falo, 6-1, 305, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum
Cody Temple, 6-3, 285, Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty
Anthony Popovich, 6-3, 270, Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic
Wyatt Baker, 6-2, 265, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite


With four linebackers coming in the class of 2010, linebacker isn't a pressing need, and UCLA has only offered two in-state linebackers so far, in fact, only two West of Texas in Gibson and Moreland.  They'll still probably bring one linebacker in with the 2011 class, but this isn't a major area of concern for them.

Devon Moreland, 6-3, 215, Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian.  Moreland has played with his hand down for Salesian, and has been one of the best in the Southland.  But he projects more to a strongside backer in college, not unlike Shirley, and that's what he's planning to do this spring and summer- work out as a linebacker, since he'll play there in college. Moreland has a host of Pac-10 offers and the Bruins are in his top two along with Oregon, but have the hometown advantage working in their favor.  Offered.  

Jason Gibson, 6-2, 210, Gardena (Calif.) Serra.  Gibson is the top linebacker in California, and one of the best in the nation, and he's one of two California linebackers that UCLA has offered.  Unfortunately for the Bruins, Gibson is rarely mentioning the Bruins when naming his favorites.  He did attend UCLA's Junior Day in February, but he raved more about Cal's, who's the early favorite, and if USC offers, the feeling is that he'll end up a Trojan.  Offered

Stephone Anthony, 6-3, 220, Wadesboro (N.C.) Anson.  The five-star outside linebacker is ranked #3 nationally by and he's one of the premier defensive players in the country, ranking in the top 25 of all prospects. He's got 20 offers, including one from USC, but the Bruins are one of the only schools not in the ACC/SEC that he's mentioning so UCLA is hoping for an Aramide Olaniyan-type cross-country move.  Offered.  

Ryan Shazier, 6-3, 210, Plantation (Fla.).  One of the best pass-rushers in Florida, Shazier has played end despite having more linebacker size, but his speed has helped him blossom.  His offer sheet is one of the more impressive, with offers from the SEC powers Florida and Alabama, home state Florida State and schools like Oklahoma and Ohio State among others.  Shazier is a long shot for the Bruins, but he's listing them.  Offered.  

Tony Steward, 6-2, 215, St. Augustine (Fla.) Pedro Menendez.  Another one of the top prospects in Florida, Steward will be hard to get out of the Southeast, especially the Sunshine State, where Florida and Florida State are making a major push for him.  Stanford is another West Coast school who's offered, but Steward has said he's likely staying in the South.  Offered. 

Anthony Wallace, 6-2, 225, Dallas (Texas) Skyline.  One of the premier prospects in the Lone Star State, Wallace's offer list spreads the entire country, and includes both Los Angeles schools. The good news for the Bruins is that he's in regular contact with new linebackers coach Clark Lea, and he's planning a visit to Westwood during the summer.  But the UCLA staff will have to work overtime for Wallace, who's got his pick of the litter.  Offered. 

James Vaughters, 6-2, 232, Tucker (Ga.).  Like Wallace, Vaughters' offers come all across the country, including UCLA, but Vaughters has been more interested in visiting USC when he's been on the West Coast, and it's thought that if he came out West, USC would be his likely destination.  Offered. 

Shaquille Moseley, 6-3, 225, Fresno (Calif.) Edison.  UCLA will have a good shot with Moseley if they offer, with two of his Edison teammates, Tevin McDonald and Wesley Flowers coming to UCLA in the fall and a third, Rykeem Yates, greyshirting.  Moseley may have been the best prospect on the Tigers defense last fall, helping them to the CIF-Central Section title.  Big, physical and athletic, Moseley is the rare non-defensive back from Edison.

Aaron Wallace, 6-3, 205, San Diego (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo. Wallace is an intriguing player, having played defensive end for RBHS, but projecting more to an outside linebacker.  We saw him play safety at the Badger/New Level 7on7 and he did it quite well, showing that linebacker is a good spot for him to end up.  His father played in the NFL for a decade as a defensive end, so he should fill out, and his dad's college teammate is Bruins' defensive line coach Todd Howard.  Wallace went to UCLA's Junior Day and will camp in Westwood this summer. 

Blake Renaud, 6-2, 225, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. Renaud was an all-state pick as a junior, and anchored the Spartans' state championship squad.  He's got one offer, from Minnesota, but he likes UCLA a lot, and will visit Westwood during the spring. 

Other Linebackers to watch:
Woodson Greer, 6-2, 215, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Jalen Jefferson, 6-3, 225, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Kristopher Bass, 6-0, 222, San Pedro (Calif.)
Micah Seau, 6-1, 205, La Jolla (Calif.) Bishop's School
Matthew Lyons, 6-2, 200, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey
Tre Madden, 6-1, 217, Mission Viejo (Calif.)
Tyler Perkins, 6-3, 225, Irvine (Calif.) Northwood
Adam Pulsipher, 6-2, 200, Temecula (Calif.) Valley
Ryan Jack, 6-0, 215, Corona (Calif.) Centennial



UCLA would like to add another cornerback to the mix, but doesn't seem to be too aggressive in recruiting a cornerback, with Anthony Jefferson and Tevin McDonald joining the mix a year after the Bruins signed three cornerbacks.  So should an elite corner emerge, UCLA may put the press on one, but only one.  The only offers to a corner are to an Alabama native and a San Diego prospect.

Chris Jones, 5-11, 180, Adamsville (Ala.) Minor.  One of the top cover corners in the Southeast, Auburn is sitting pretty for the Alabama native, and it will be tough to pull Jones from the Southeast.  Offered.

Stefan McClure, 5-11, 175, Vista (Calif.).  The top defensive back in San Diego, McClure was a player who really impressed us last fall when we saw him.  He's a bigtime physical player for Vista, really good against the run, but even better in coverage. He's one of the better corners in the West in the class of 2011, and UCLA was his favorite school growing up.  McClure has a handful of offers, and UCLA just recently threw their name in the mix with an offer.  Offered. 

Josh Atkinson, 6-0, 180, Livermore (Calif.) Granada.  Atkinson's brother, George, has an offer from the Bruins, and Josh would like one as well.  The two aren't necessarily a package deal, but admitted they'd like to play together in college.  Atkinson will visit UCLA during the summer and will likely camp with the Bruins, as he hopes to land an offer.

Thierry Nguema, 6-0, 175, Corona (Calif.) Santiago.  Nguema is one of the better cover corners in the Southland, and is tight with the family of current Bruin defensive back Tony Dye.  Nguema has good, quick hips and active hands, but could add some more weight.  He doesn't have an offer yet, but the Bruins are watching him pretty closely.

Kameron Jackson, 5-10, 175, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly.  An active defender, Jackson could serve to add some more weight.  But he's smooth in his backpedal and has good ball skills and has matched up against several top receivers the past two years for the Jackrabbits.  He has an offer from Washington but has interest in the Bruins, and is close to Iuta Tepa and Stan McKay, his former Poly teammates.

Davion Orphey, 6-0, 185, Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison.  Orphey could play safety or cornerback in college, but more likely projects to play corner. He also plays running back, so he's got good athleticism and often matched up against the best receiver Edison would face.  He's pretty physical too. 

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, 6-0, 170, Chino Hills (Calif.).  One of the best corners in the West, Ekpre-Olomu is a ballhawk who's got tremendous ball skills, with a dozen picks the past two seasons. He's got a host of offers, including a handful from the Pac-10, but has serious interest in UCLA and will camp there in the summer.

Other Cornerbacks to watch:
Kris Olugbode, 5-10, 185, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep
Darius Guilory, 5-10, 185, Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral
Kyle Evans, 5-10, 165, Inglewood (Calif.)
Dennis Rufus, 6-0, 185, Covina (Calif.) Charter Oak
Tevin Ivy, 5-10, 175, Fresno (Calif.) Hoover


With Dietrich Riley's signing, UCLA only needs to bring in one safety in the class of 2011.  They've been stingy with their safety offers, with two offers having gone to players from the South and only one to a player from the West in Atkinson, whom they're recruiting as an athlete.

George Atkinson, 6-2, 210, Livermore (Calif.) Granada.  A good comparison, physically, for Atkinson is Riley, very similar players, both good athletes who could play a number of positions, including receiver or running back, but who both project to safety in college.  Atkinson is the top safety in Northern California and one of the best athletes in that region.  He's got 13 offers, from all over the country, and said he'd like to play with his twin brother Josh in college, but it's not a deal breaker.  The Bruins have yet to offer his brother, but they'll both camp in Westwood in the summer.  Offered. 

Avery Walls, 5-11, 185, McDonough (Ga.) Union Grove.  Normally you'd think UCLA would be a longshot for a kid from Georgia, one who has offers from all the powers that be, but UCLA has a unique ace-in-the-hole: Walls uncle lives in Beverly Hills and attended UCLA so the Bruins are one that Walls has been hearing about for years.  He's planning to come to Los Angeles during the summer to visit his uncle and the UCLA campus, so the Bruin coaches are hoping his family ties are strong out West.  Offered. 

Wayne Lyons, 6-1, 190, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard.  Lyons is another stellar prospect from the Sunshine State, who's offer list spans the country.  Lyons will be tough to pull from Florida, though, and if he were to come West, we're hearing USC is the school he's more interested in.  Offered.

James Sample, 6-2, 185, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant. One of the hardest hitting safeties in the West, Sample was a key part of the Pacers' defense pitching six shutouts in 2009.  Sample has a bunch of Pac-10 offers, but has long had interest in UCLA and is planning to camp there in the summer.  If his academics are in good shape, it wouldn't be a surprise if UCLA offered him.

Marqise Lee, 6-1, 185, Gardena (Calif.) Serra.  Lee has been deep in basketball for the Cavs, and is one of the players in the country who won a state title in football and in basketball, the latter coming last weekend.  Lee is one of the top safeties in the West, and the top one in Southern California, and he has offers from all over the country, though the Bruins haven't offered him.  Still, Lee has some interest in UCLA, attending Junior Day in February. 

Other Safeties to watch:
Desman Carter, 6-1, 195, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser
Aaron Almond, 5-11, 195, Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch
Jerry Haymon, 6-0, 185, Fresno (Calif.) Central
Taj Teague, 6-1, 205, Pomona (Calif.)
Dennis Rufus, 6-0, 185, Covina (Calif.) Charter Oak
Tevin Ivy, 5-10, 175, Fresno (Calif.) Hoover

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