Well CRN was sounding pretty giddy yesterday about recruiting. Didn't take us that long to figure out why. We kind of knew this was coming last few days. Now it's (almost) official. Cassius Marsh, the 4 star defensive tackle (6-4, 270) from Oaks Christian High School became the latest stud recruit to committed to Rick Neuheisel's UCLA Bruins (subscription stories on BRO and BruinBlitz). Of course we are just getting started with just days left till signing day.
Marsh has gone through a roller coaster recruiting season as he committed to Cal first, then switched over to LSU before finally coming back home to UCLA. Jon Gold from the Daily News seems to have a pretty good connection with Oaks Christian HS offered the following quick analysis on Marsh's commitment:
First off, Marsh is big and quick enough to compete for playing time immediately on UCLA's thin defensive line. Marsh was an absolute beast for Oaks Christian - I saw him play four games, and each game, he was a man among boys. His size is obviously going to be less of a strength in college...but his hand speed and lateral quickness are absolutely striking.
Secondly, this says incredible things about Rick Neuheisel's closing skills. Fans saw it last year with Su'a-Filo, Carroll, Presley, etc. Now, Neuheisel really seems to be turning the corner and hitting top speed. Marsh, on top of the recent commitment of Anthony Barr, not only helps to continue solidifying what is undoubtedly UCLA's best class in recent memory, but it also proves that Neuheisel won't give up on guys. That's one of the things that made Pete Carroll great.
Thirdly, it proves the sway one teammate can have over another. Malcolm Jones wanted Marsh as a Bruin and he got him. Certainly these things are rare - how often does the same school have the No. 3 running back and No. 8 defensive tackle in a class? But it also speaks to the program's ascension.
Well, I also think it is very telling that UCLA now has multiple commitments from Oaks Christian, Loyola High School, and also commitment from elite recruit in Mater Dei. During previous regimes we could only dream about having this kind of recruiting pipeline and now it's more than a reality. UCLA. Obviously there are few more days left till signing day, but I have a feeling this one is going to stick. More after the jump.
Here is a video of Marsh:
Yeah, I know the commitment to LSU graphic looks a little weird but oh well. BTW I see this is very different from the Brett Nottingham situation. Nottingham remained "solid" to UCLA till the Friday of his official visit to Stanford when he committed all on a sudden. It was pretty clear in recruiting circles last few weeks that Marsh was wavering his commitment to the Tigers. Anyway, here is Marsh's scouting report on Rivals.com:
On the Hoof: Has excellent height and growth potential for an interior defensive lineman. Marsh possesses thick limbs and a barrel chest with a wide power base making it hard to knock him backwards. He is built similar to Notre Dame defensive lineman Seth Cwynar.
Needs Improvement: Staying lower at the point of attack is a must at the next level if he expects to get any push up front. Marsh must also improve his strength and not rely on overpowering players.
Most Impressive: He is relentless in his pursuit of the football, and he is just one mean hombre on the gridiron. Marsh is also very quick off the ball and has exceptional lateral movement for a big guy.
Conclusion: Will most likely redshirt as he gains size and strength in order to be a force in the interior. He has a strong work ethic and is really tough so he will be in the two-deep rotation sooner than later. A lot of early playing time is going to depend on depth chart and injuries. Experience says the defensive tackle position is the most grueling and physically demanding.
Given the situation for UCLA's depth chart at DT, expect Marsh to see in our home unis right away in September.
With Marsh's recruitment Bruins now have 19 commitments on Scout.com board. Although that number should be 18 because it looks like Julious Moore will most likely stay in the Northwest as he couldn't qualify for UCLA admissions (per his own account) and from what I understand didn't find the option to grayshirt appealing. So he is going to look at Washington or Washington State and whatever works out for him, we wish him luck.
On our end, of course we are not done yet. There is lot of commotion around Neuheisel's program right now because it's clear that kids from Southern California want to be in Westwood right now. Bruins are steadily moving up the recruiting rankings to as they are now at number 19 on Scout.com (you know who is at 18 and we are closing hard). Buckle up folks. As we always said, this is going to be another awesome ride thank to CRN. Coffee is for closers.