Let's start the Thursday with some good news from the football front. Looks like Neuheisel picked up another solid recruit securing a commitment from former Birmingham Senior HS grad Marquis Johnson, who is one of the best JUCO DEs in the country. Brian Dohn reports on the committment (HT muircoach):
"It was humbling. It was different," the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Jackson said of the junior college experience. "Although I was a good athlete, it was not just like I was going to go somewhere based on my talent. I had to take care of academics.
"Once I got dropped by Fresno State, things started changing. I wasn't ready to give up. Once I knew in high school I wasn't going anywhere, I had to get on my game."
Jackson and his mother, Robin, met with UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel and defensive line coach Todd Howard on Wednesday and committed.
His twin brother, Malik, plays at USC.
"It's time for us to separate," Marquis Jackson said. "We've been together for 18 years. I think it's a good time to separate. When I first started getting offers, I had no idea where I was going to go. I need to be in California. It's the best place for me. It's home. UCLA came out to be the best option."
As always, we have to see how this all pans out because of our recent history of JUCO commits who weren't able to fulful their academic obligations. Per Dohn Jackson still has "coursework to complete" as he plans to enroll at UCLA for 2010's winter quarter. So good luck to him both off and on the field this fall.
Marquis Jackson (via noseguard59)
He sure looks like a beast and probably explains why he had offers as JUCO recruit from schools such as LSU, ASU, Oregon and others. Anyways, it's key committment given DL is such a huge area of need for the football program. You can see our full committment list here. Roundup down the BN walk continues after the jump ...
Of course UCLA recruiting will be impacted by the kind of season we are going to have on the field this coming year. We have maintained that if Bruins are able to show tangible improvement (record wise) from this past season and show that they are moving in the right direction, recruiting will get even better. Overwhelming majority of the previews we have seen this season have essential set the expectations line around 6 or 7 wins and I think that is just about right. Jake from Oregon State's Building The Dam just wrote up his UCLA season preview this week that hits many of the themes we have been discussing on BN this off season. It will all come down to our OL:
As discussed above, the offensive line is the major area of concern for the Bruins this season, but a lot of players have been able to gain valuable experience. Will they be able to put it to use? Sophomore left guard Jeff Baca, sophomore senior Kia Maiava, and junior left tackle Sean Sheller are the leaders of the group. If the offensive line can be somewhat successful, the Bruins will be able to move the ball easier, which means less reps for the defense, which could go a long way to getting UCLA back to the .500 mark.
That is exactly right. Jake does need to however, update the details re. our RB situation. Jake observes:
The success of the rushing game will have a lot to do with how the offensive line fares. Kahlil Bell is gone, but sophomore Derrick Coleman and fullback Chane Moline return. Coleman averaged just under 30 yards per game last season, and Moline checked in at just under 10 yards per game. Sophomore Raymond Carter, who appeared in seven games last season, figures to also be in the mix.
Of course from what we have heard it will be Christian Ramirez who will most likely come in as the number 1 starter at the RB spot this fall. Coleman will be the number 2 guy at this snap shot of time with Jonathan Franklin (who apparently has shown a lot of promise at Spaulding) at number 3. Carter has transferred out this off seaosn. I am sure Moline will be in the mix as a seasoned veteran and we can't forget about Milton Knox who could break out this August. But for now Ramirez, Coleman and Franklin are going to be the guys getting their shots. Rest of Jake's preview is a solid read, which you should do so by heading over to BTD.
Kevin Love is playing pickup with our current players this week. He likes our young guys. It's good to have him around- such a smart player.
Well I know if I was taking summer classes in Westwood, I'd stop by to see those outlet passes flying towards ML and JA (assuming they are also playing with KL and the gang). That would beat watching the replay of old football games currently on Fox Sports West during this dead off season.
Lastly, UCLA's What's Bruin Blog has a cool update on former baseball alum Tim Murphy putting together dominating performances in the minor leagues. For a full list of former UCLA ballplayers in the minor leagues go here. Late this afternoon rye will continue with his analysis/reflections from his recent meeting with Savage. Today he is going to tackle the facility related questions and concerns about UCLA baseball. So stay tuned.