Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
Finally got around to finishing this. Hopefully, it isn't redundant as there are a lot of good write-ups in the web analyzing the team as a whole and by position breakdowns. I know it is waaay too early but my look into the fooball program will be more recruiting based. Based on the numbers, we are looking at a total of 19 rides. 9 rides (2 transfers & 7 verbals) have already been spoken for. There will likely be 2-3 more rides that become available due to varying reasons.
NOTE #1: Projected Starters in bold per Spring Media Guide
NOTE #2: Out of state recruits noted by state
QB: Craft (RS SR), Prince (RS FR), Crissman (RS FR) & Brehaut (FR)
Offers: Tyler Bray (No Offer)
-There is talk that we might throw our names in the hat. He grew up a Bruin fan and his name has exploded onto the national scene after one of the Elite 11 camps. It's getting crowded at the position but Crissman's shoulder is a concern.
-Prince has the strongest arm, Brehaut has some jiggle while Nottingham's strength is his accuracy. The talent level at this position is returning to the days of Aikman/Bono/Maddox/McNown/etc. Prince has the tools but lacks the experience. If the OL can give him time, he should be able to manage the game and mature as the season progresses.
RB: Ramirez (RS JR), Coleman (Soph), Franklin (RS FR), Knox (RS FR), Thigpen (FR) & Hilliard (FR)
FB: Moline (SR), Theriot (RS SR), Umodu (RS JR), Allmond (FR)
-Barr looks to be headed to ND. We are in the thick of things for both James and Jones. Either one works but if they both want to come, we take talent. Only concern is our RB position is looking like sucs with lack of spacing.
-Read how Chow really likes Ramirez's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and this is the likely reason he sat at #1 even when injured in the spring. A bit upright when he runs a la Dickerson but he has had some big games before. Coleman should have gotten more carries last year. Eager to see what Franklin/Thigpen can do with their speed and we'll see if Knox indeed has a lil' MoDrew in him. There probably won't be enough carries for all but I'm anticipating someone to emerge to be the man. Franklin/Thigpen/Knox can definitely be contributors in the field position game.
-Just so the FB's don't feel unappreciated.....the Moline/Theriot combo should be a source of strength for the offense and comfort for Prince. Umodu and Allmond provide depth with Allmond (Hope he gets cleared) possibly outgrowing the position. More after the jump.
WR: Austin (SR), Ketchum (RS SR), Embree (Soph), Rosario (Soph), Moutra (Soph), Johnson (RS FR), Carroll (FR), Presley (FR) & Marvray (FR)
Verbals: Josh Smith (RS JR)
Offers: Woods, Richardson, Stills, Jefferson and Lucas (MO)
-Woods is the prized playmaker of the bunch. Richardson is a
legacy that pulled his verbal. Stills and Jefferson are other options. Doubt we get Lucas to come out west while Mizzou is humming. 1 ride max since Smith will be eligible next season and I know the staff will be after George Farmer hard.
-The staff has recruited this position very well the last 2 years. The talent level has definitely increased. Our receivers seem to have problems getting separation but I'll just chalk it up to our offensive woes and learning a new system. I think we all know what we'll get from Austin/Ketchum/Embree. I'm especially eager to see if and how Carroll's speed and Rosario/Presley's size will impact the O.
TE: Paulsen (RS SR) or Moya (RS SR), Miller (RS JR), Chandler (RS Soph) & Harkey (Soph)
Verbals: Joseph Fauria (RS Soph)
Offers: Thomas and Young
-I read Coach Howard liked Miller on the DL last year before injuries shifted him to TE. I respect Chandler for being the consumate team player and not busting a T.O. for being switched constantly. Whether or not Miller and/or Chandler get moved this year, we should ink 1 more TE. Thomas is 1 of the 3 national recruits out west while Young is balling with CRN's son.
-This is arguably our strongest position. Paulsen and Moya's games complement each other very well. They are proven players who have produced at this level and I anticipate big things from them this season. Harkey provides quality depth and in due time, he will also be a force.
OL: Micah Kia (SR), Nick Ekbatani (RS SR), Eddie Williams (JR), Ryan Taylor (RS JR), Sean Sheller (RS JR), Darius Savage (RS JR), Jake Dean (RS JR), Brandon Bennett (RS JR), Mike Harris (RS Soph), Kai Maiava (RS Soph), Jeff Baca (Soph), Connor Bradford (RS FR), Nik Abele (FR), Greg Capella (FR), Stan Hasiak (FR), Xavier Su'a-Filo (FR)
Offers: Ward, Kohler, Ajawara, Yandall, Henderson (MN), Innes (AZ) and Wilson (FL)
-We are looking good for Ward/Ajawara/Yandall although Ward being from Mater Dei is a bit worrisome. Kohler is leaning UDub while Henderson is a long shot at best. We aren't at the point where we can pull a kid from FL yet. Come 2011, this class will really be needed to contribute considering the losses and X possibly being on his mission. 3 or 4 should do the trick.
-This is the make or break year for the highly touted 2006 OL class. I can't tell if their underwhelming performance is due to inflated rankings or the coaching instability or both. Read how Harris has really transformed himself and eager to see how nasty Maiava is. It'll be interesting how much the JC guys and Hasiak/X are able to contribute to this position. IMO, our best bet for improvement with this unit will be based on the amount the holdovers have improved rather than being dependant upon the new additions. I'm optmistic about this unit and I think they'll surprise even the people that look at this unit through Blue & Gold glasses.
DT: Ward (RS SR), Siewierski (SR), Price (JR), Keane (RS JR), Carter (RS JR) and Edison (RS Soph)
Verbals: Moore and Flowers
Offers: Marsh, Uko, Taula, Pennix, Willis (SC), Heimuli (UT), Potoae (WA), Allen (MN), Epanesa (HI) and Lagafuaina (HI)
-Moore and Flowers is a good start but they're undersized as opposed to being behemoths. The staff is making a concentrated effort to recruit this position as we have a pressing need. Price stated he'd be back for his SR year but if he has a monster year which we all anticipate he will, he will likely jump to the NFL. That'll leave us with 3 bodies who were converted from different positions. The west is not known for producing DT's and this position has historically been a position that we've had difficulty getting talent and building depth. The out of staters seem like a longshot except for the Hawaii recruits. Uko does not mention us anymore while Taula/Pennix seem more like Plan B options. Marsh was a verbal to Cal. It's a long time till Signing Day but this is definitely a position that requires at least 2 more bodies because this class will not have the luxury of redshirting.
-Price & Siewierski is a good start but we lack depth at this position. An injury to either one of these guys will be a serious blow that we will not be able to recover from as the Pac 10 has some good RB's and there seems to be a shift in emphasizing the run more. Hopefully a couple of the backups present themselves to be viable options but this may be wishful thinking.
DE: Anyanwu (RS SR), Bosworth (RS SR), Stokes (RS JR), Jones (Soph), Holmes (RS FR), Graham (FR) and Tepa (FR)
Verbals: Jackson (RS Soph or RS JR)
Offers: Powell and Odighizuwa (OR)
-Jackson is a welcome addition seeing we'll be left with 4 guys come 2010. Powell is a heavy suc lean while getting Odighizuwa out of Oregon will be a challenge. This is another position of need should Graham and Tepa not be redshirted. Maybe Ian Davis will prove to be more than a walk-on or a bulked up Donovan Carter can fill in. In the last recruiting cycle, there was mention of Koster possibly playing DE. I'm sure there are other names that will emerge during the season and hopefully we add a body for spacing purposes.
-Love Boz's motor while we all anticipate the talented Jones (NFL written all over him) to emerge this year. Stokes is solid and we'll see what Holmes can do. We may need Graham and Tepa to suit up whether they are ready or not due to depth issues.
LB: R Carter (RS SR), Bosworth (RS SR), Schmitt (RS JR), Ayers (RS Soph), Sloan (RS Soph), Westgate (Soph), Larimore (RS FR), D Carter (RS FR), Bowens (FR), Golper (FR) and Koster (FR)
Offers: Shirley, Pullard, Fehoko (HI), Elisara (HI) and Lewis (TX)
-I consider Kaiser (IE in general) and Crenshaw HS to be Bruin strongholds. In 2006, suc inked a RB class of Johnson/Moody/Gable. Yet, they offered and inked the 3 star RB, Ashley from Venice HS although they were cleaning house. I suspected it to be a move in order to ink the highly rated S, Mouton who ended up going to Michigan. I see the same thing happening with the offer and verbal for Brown at Kaiser HS. We've all read/seen the the meltdowns from Fig Tech. I see this as another sign that Cheaty is feelin' the heat from CRN (See the post about CRN runnin' into Cheatey at a inner city HS by N). I like the numbers and talent but losing Shirley and Pullard would bug me a bit. We're doing a better job mining HI for talent and Fehoko is supposed to be a good one. I believe Coach Moore has a connection with Lewis but plucking him at this stage is likely a difficult task. Thomas has the body to grow into a LB and scouts note that Jefferson may be a more natural OLB.
-I think Reggie is going to have a HUGE year being a Senior and all. Bosworth is no slouch either and like Jones, Ayers is a star in the making whom pro scouts are probably eyeing. Bosworth's injury helped in getting Sloan a lot of experience and we'll need him to spell the starters. It'll be interesting to see which of the youngsters will be ready to contribute.
CB: Verner (SR), Viney (RS Soph), Hester (RS FR), Pollard (FR), Price (FR ), Mascarenas (FR) and Sermons (FR)
Offers: Richardson, Nelson (AZ) and Christian (PA)
-We are well stocked at the moment with McDonald possibly moving over to play CB. I used to think that a couple of the FR would move over to safety but I'm not so sure anymore considering the 3 verbals. Assuming status quo, think the rides need to be used to fortify the DL.
-Doesn't it seem like ATV has been around forever? We're fortunate to have him back or we'd be really worried about this position. The amount of wisdom that these cubs are going to get from just hanging around ATV is invaluable to them and the program. I like the aggressiveness/physicality that Hester brings but he'll have to tone it down because he's going to get picked on and the refs usually don't give them the benefit of the doubt. Viney adds depth and we'll see which of these youngsters are ready because we may need at least one to suit up.
S: Ware (RS SR), Love (RS Soph), Moore (Soph), Dye (Soph) and McKay (FR)
Verbals: Jefferson, McDonald and Thomas
Offers: Parker, Riley, Dargen and Flowers (AZ)
-Dargen was just offered so the logic says someone will be moved and the players on our board are likely looking elsewhere. Wherever Jefferson ends up, he is going to be a good one. WWL has him ranked at #9. I don't even remember the last time we got someone out of Michigan. Interesting to see yet another player with suc ties heading to Westwood.
-What more can we say about Moore. He lived up to all the HS hype and he like Jones/Ayers should take his game to another level. We all know if Love can stay healthy, he can be a good one. I love Dye's versatility which prevents a steep drop-off when we go Nickel. Ware adds depth so I think McKay and any of the FR CB's that get moved will likley be redshirts.
K: Forbath (RS JR)
P: Locke (RS FR)
LS: Yount (JR)
-What more can you say about Forbath but Money. We'll need Locke to be able to hold his own in order to win the field position battle. Although highly touted, I expect him to have his struggles just like Kluwe/Perez/etc. when they first played. Maybe 1 of the 3 walk-on kickers will be a pleasant surprise should they be pressed into battle. Yount is doing his job since I haven't noticed a lot of trouble in the kicking game.
Our talent level has definitely increased thanks to the uptick in recruiting. Our team is still very young with only 32 of the 83 scholarship players being upperclassmen. We paid the price last season pressing youngsters into the lineup due to all the injuries. However, the experience the younger players gained was much needed because to date, the JR class as a whole has underperformed. The Soph class will be the core of the progam that complete the job of returning UCLA back to national prominence.
The early offer strategy for the 2008 class caught Cheaty by surprise. Cheatey in response followed suit in 2009 but CRN was able to battle and ink suc verbals and some of the undecided recruits on Signing Day. It'll be interesting to see what happens on Signing Day 2010 as both programs are once again going heads up for some big names.
The program is heading under the right direction under the leadership of CRN. Even if the ncaa (don't deserve capitals) fails to put suc in its place like we all expect them to, the UCLA Football brand will be taken notice by the college football nation shortly.