2011 Recruiting Reset: Defense

With limited scholarships to give to the class of 2011 -- and already six recruits having verbally committed -- a UCLA football scholarship is going to be scarce. Here's a rundown of the guys UCLA is targeting on defense...

With fall practice just weeks away, the Bruin staff is working on putting together a class for 2011 that will consist of 14-20 recruits. After a fruitful spring evaluation period, they filled practically one-third of the class, getting six commitments. The program did have three rides recently open up, but two of those spots have already been filled for this fall by JC prospects. So, overall, a UCLA football scholarship will be a scarce commodity between now and February's Signing Day.

Those six commitments are all on the offensive side – four offensive linemen, one receiver and one tight end. In fact, throw in the two JC players that are coming in this fall, quarterback Darius Bell and offensive lineman Casey Griffiths, and that makes for a spree of offensive commitments. More than likely, the 2011 class will be pretty balanced between offense and defense, so expect a good number of future commitments to be from the defensive side.

Here is a look at the prospects UCLA will likely be targeting for the 2011 class on the defensive side of the ball.

DEFENSIVE ENDS (2)

UCLA will probably take up to two defensive ends in 2011. The defensive end class in general in the West is outstanding for 2011, and UCLA has already offered a few of the top pass-rushers in the region as well as a couple of more nationally. It seems, though, that the Bruins are generally on the outside looking in on many of them.

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 to tougher to get.  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, and Scout.com projects him as an outside linebacker in college.  He has 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.  Still, Lyerla told us at the Nike Camp in Corvallis that UCLA was one of the schools he's still considering. 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 has 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 and he told Scout.com recently that he plans to take some official visits.  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 is thought to be heavily favoring the Trojans.  He was one of UCLA's first 2011 prospects to get an offer, but it's been an uphill battle ever since. He was supposed to camp at UCLA, but didn't end up making it. The general feeling is that UCLA is probably not going to be in the final mix for Townsend. Offered.

Anthony Rabasa, 6-3, 215, Miami (Fla.) Columbus.  Rabasa is one of the Bruins' staff out-of-state prospects, and one that UCLA is doing very well recruiting.  His final six schools include the three in-state powerhouses, Miami, Florida and Florida State, while also including LSU, Notre Dame and UCLA.  Rabasa has said he plans to visit UCLA officially in the fall, so the Bruins will get a chance to make a splash with him.  Offered

Kevin Anderson, 6-4, 245, Palo Alto (Calif.).  Anderson committed to hometown Stanford earlier this spring 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 "steal" one Stanford commit in last year's class in Jordan Zumwalt, and with their continued recruitment of Anderson, it's clear they wouldn't mind doing it again.  As is always the case with Stanford commits, they have to go through the admissions process, and last year, when more than a dozen commits ended up elsewhere because they weren't admitted, UCLA is staying in touch with Anderson.  Offered. 

Steve Dillon, 6-3, 250, Palmdale (Calif.).  Dillon earned an offer last month from the UCLA coaches after a strong showing at the 1-Day Camp and then showing off his athleticism at the Bruins' 7on7 tournament, where he played tight end.  Cal and Florida (no offer from the Gators) are his top schools, as his close friend, Josh Shaw is with the Gators now, but Dillon says he does like UCLA.  He did tell us, though, that he has some work to do academically.  Offered.

Jadeveon Clowney, 6-5, 235, Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe. He's considered the #1 prospect in the country, and he lists UCLA, but the Bruins are an extreme longshot. Offered

Other Defensive Ends to watch:
Jermauria Rasco, 6-4, 251, Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian
Sam Tai, 6-3, 230, Henderson (Nev.) Liberty
Cody Kurz, 6-3, 245, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Reggie Coates, 6-2, 230, Encino (Calif.) Crespi

DEFENSIVE TACKLES (2)

UCLA signed three guys in 2010 projected to play defensive tackle, but can never have too many of them, so you can expect the Bruins to sign two more in 2011. .

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 Cal, Stanford, Oregon and Washington, but Cal is considered the leader for Barr.  The Scout 100 member is planning to take his time and take some official visits this fall, though he said he'd likely use his official visits on out-of-area schools.  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 schools like Nebraska and Miami, who've had a good run of defensive tackles in recent years, are also very high on his list.  Heyward said he's not rushing his decision.  Offered

Mickey Johnson, 6-1, 310, Covington (La.) St. Paul's.  Johnson has UCLA in his final two and the Bruins have made a big impression on the out-of-state elite prospect, who's in the Scout 300.  Johnson should also be good academically, despite a low-reported GPA.  He'd be a huge get for the Bruins, considering his list of suitors and where he's from.  Nebraska is his other leader, and following the Bruins and Huskers are Michigan, Tennessee and LSU.  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, including UCLA, and he camped with the Bruins last month.  He was arguably the top performer at the UCLA Linemen Camp in June.  Washington is in a good place for him, being close to home.  Oregon and Stanford are also doing well with him.  Offered.

Darian Cooper, 6-1, 290, Hyatsville (Md.) DeMatha.  Cooper came out to UCLA on his own dime during the spring to check out the campus and take an unofficial visit.  While he's got a long list of schoiols after him, UCLA is right in the mix for the Scout 300 tackle.  Cooper may still return to UCLA in the fall for an official visit, and he's said that he plans to take all five of his official visits.  Offered.

Cody Temple, 6-3, 285, Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty.  Temple has performed admirably at two of UCLA's camps, the Lineman Camp and the 1-Day Camp in June.  While he didn't get an offer at either camp, he impressed the Bruin coaching staff and he's been told they'll watch him this fall.  At the Lineman Camp, they moved him to the offensive line even. and got him some reps and he did a solid job there.  With four lineman commits, though, Temple's best bet may still be as a defensive tackle.

Other Defensive Tackles to watch:
Nathan Falo
, 6-1, 305, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum
 

LINEBACKERS (2)

UCLA signed four linebackers in the 2011 class, but lost one to off-the-field issues in Josh Shirley. They'll probably now look to sign two, after initially probably planning to sign only one.

Jason Gibson, 6-2, 210, Gardena (Calif.) Serra.  Gibson is the top linebacker in California, and one of the highest rated in the nation, despite playing primarily as a defensive end.  But we talked to him earlier this month at the Nike 7on and he said he still plans on playing linebacker in college.  UCLA has been in and out of his top five, but now appears to be under serious consideration, having received a visit unofficially from him late last month.  UCLA, USC, Oregon and Cal, still the leader, are who he's considering.  Offered

Aaron Wallace, 6-3, 205, San Diego (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo. Wallace has some good bloodlines, with his father an All-American at Texas A&M and a longtime NFL player.  One of his college teammates was Todd Howard, now UCLA's defensive line coach.  Wallace was one of the top performers at UCLA's camp last month and landed an offer as a result. Now, he's down to UCLA and Texas A&M, and he could be deciding as soon as this week.  Offered

Curtis Grant, 6-3, 215, Richmond (Va.) Hermitage.  While UCLA could be considered a longshot for Grant, he did visit the UCLA campus last week for an unofficial visit.  The nation's #2-ranked outside linebacker, we haven't heard yet how Grant enjoyed the visit, but it's a big plus for the Bruins to get an unofficial visit from him.  Still, they have a lot of schools to compete with for him.  Offered.

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 and has followed it up all spring by showing the ability to make a smooth transition to outside linebacker.  In fact, after Wallace, he was probably the top linebacker at UCLA's camp last month.  Waller likes Washington a lot, and could commit soon, but if he waits, UCLA could offer him in the fall if he gets off to a good start, in pads, at linebacker. 

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.  He's got a couple of Pac-10 offers too.
 

Other Linebackers to watch:
Woodson Greer, 6-2, 215, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Jalen Jefferson, 6-3, 225, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Blake Renaud, 6-2, 225, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle.
Lavonte Barnett, 6-2, 225, Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete
 

CORNERBACKS (1-2)

UCLA would like to add another cornerback to the mix, perhaps even two, with Shaquille Richardson's departure.  They're doing well with the top pure cover corner in the West and they're keeping a watch on several others.

Doran Grant, 5-10, 177, Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary's.  While UCLA has to be considered a longshot for Grant, they did have him on campus last month and Grant said UCLA could get a return visit from him in the fall.  The #2-ranked corner nationally, Grant will probably be staying in Big Ten country.  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 is in his top three with Washington and Boise State.  Offered. 

Mercy Maston, 5-11, 185, Bakersfield (Calif.).  Maston showed up at UCLA's two camps last month and did a stellar job and landed himself an offer from the Bruins.  Maston is one of the top prospects from Central California and a player that UCLA thinks highly of, which is reciprocated with Maston having the Bruins atop his leaderboard.  Still, Maston plans to take some visits.

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, and camped at UCLA, but doesn't have an offer yet.  He's still considering the Bruins, though, despite not having an offer, yet they're not on his top five.

Other Cornerbacks to watch:
Thierry Nguema, 6-0, 175, Corona (Calif.) Santiago. 
Kris Olugbode, 5-10, 185, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep
Fred Wilson, 5-10, 175, Bakersfield (Calif.) West

SAFETIES (1)

UCLA has many young safeties on its roster and, with Dietrich Riley's signing in 2010, UCLA is probably only looking 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. Atkinson has a UCLA offer, while his brother doesn't, but Oregon and USC are his leaders.  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 late 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.

Pat Martin, 6-0, 198, Greenville (S.C.) Mann. UCLA is in Martin's top five, but not his top two, but the Bruins could make huge inroads with him when he takes an official visit to Westwood, which he plans to do in early December for the USC game.  Offered

Marqise Lee, 6-1, 185, Gardena (Calif.) Serra.  Lee has been deep in basketball and track for the Cavs, and is one of the players in the country who won a state title in football and in basketball.  Lee recently was offered by UCLA and was certainly deserving, as he's one of the premier defensive backs in the West.  USC, though, if they offer, will be tough to beat.  Offered.

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.)
 


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