Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
The 2010 National Signing Day for College Football is 02/03/10. Like in the past 2 Signing Days, CRN and UCLA will be signing a recruiting class ranked in the Top 25 by the major recruiting services:
- 2010 Rank (Current): Scout Ranking (23rd), Rivals Ranking (18th) and ESPN.com (17th)
- 2009 Rank: Scout Ranking (5th), Rivals Ranking (14th) and ESPN.com (17th)
- 2008 Rank: Scout Ranking (10th), Rivals Ranking (13th) and ESPN.com (14th)
CRN was able to keep intact the 2008 recruting class built by the prior regime and showed Bruins Nation his recruiting prowess last year in exciting fashion. The talent level at UCLA dropped considerably during KD's time at UCLA. All you have to do is take a peek at NFL rosters and see the lack of impact players from UCLA. Instead of conceding without a fight, CRN has challenged and beat Cheaty in bringing talented Student Athletes to UCLA. With each recruiting class, CRN is building the foundation for UCLA Football to once again be amongst the top programs in the nation.
We currently have 65 rides spoken for leaving 20 for this recruiting class. This includes the early departure of BP, the return of Kia, the additions of Greyshirts Koster & Maka and the exclusion of Hasiak. We currently have 16 verbal commits but there will likely be some additional rides that become available.
Arm Chair QB opinions on our roster and predictions after the jump.
QB: Prince (RS Soph), Brehaut (Soph) and Crissman (RS Soph)
Verbal: Brett Nottingham
Except for Drew Olson's SR year, we have not had a difference making player at the QB position since #18. For a program that produced Schroeder, Bono, Aikman, Maddox and McNown, the QB play has fallen off drastically. CRN has done a good job brining in talented signal callers thus far. From what I've read, Nottingham does not have a Howitzer for an arm but is said to be very accurate which I'd rather have any day of the week. Nottingham will RS and should be ready to compete by the time he is a RS Soph. He should be able to provide depth and compete with future QB recruits to take over for either Prince or Brehaut. We'll see if Brehaut is ready to challenge Prince for the starting job. I'm hoping Prince maintains #1 because the staff has already invested a season in Prince and I would rather not go through another season with a green QB.
TB: Ramirez (RS Sr), Coleman (Jr), Jet Ski (RS Soph), Knox (RS Soph) and Thigpen (Soph)
FB: Umodu (RS Sr) and Allmond (RS Fr)
Verbals: Malcolm Jones and Jordon James
Recruiting: Anthony Barr
Nobody has yet to separate themselves from the pack. People say that a running game is a QB's best friend. Jones (Gatorade HS POY) is the BIG back at 6-1, 215 lbs who runs North/South and breaks tackles with his power. We haven't had a physical presence like this in the backfield since Manny White whom our prior coach forgot to use against Colorado. James is the smaller back who is quicker and can catch the ball out of the backfield. James has some injury issues but if he can build his body and stay healthy, he will be a difference maker in the near future. Both of these guys are highly rated recruits who can bring the Thunder & Lighting element like Oregon has with the Blount/James and like in the NFL. Barr is another big back at 6-4, 225 lbs who missed his Senior year due to injury. If Barr comes to Westwood, he'll be given a shot at TB but I think his future is elsewhere. At 6-4, his height is a detriment IMO resulting in too many direct hits. The RB position is up for grabs and the battle to be #1 should be a very interesting and heated one during the Spring & Fall camps. Jet Ski better fix his fumbling issues and Knox better learn to block because these recruits will challenge them.
WR: Rosario (Jr), Embree (Jr), Smith (RS Jr), Moutra (Jr), Johnson (RS Soph), Carroll (Soph) and Mavray (RS Fr)
Verbal: Paul Richardson
Recruiting: Ryan Murphy
Richardson is a Bruin Legacy that transferred from Los Al to Serra HS and was part of the best HS receiving group in the nation. Richardson does not have world class speed but runs good routes and should be a contributor in the future but I expect him to RS. Murphy is a late bloomer who the staff offered late and is the teammate of DT recruit Fred Thompson. Murphy looks like someone that can either be a WR or S. Our WR corp will be a strength next season as they continue to develop during the offseason. I am expecting Rosario to put it all together and become the physical mismatch that he has frustratingly shown glimpses of. Smith (transfer from Colorado) is a speedster who will immediately contribute on Special Teams as a Kickoff and/or Punt Returner. I'm crossing my fingers that both Smith and Carroll have the playbook down because these guys have the speed to stretch the field vertically and as CRN likes to say, "Get yards in chunks". Interested to see if Mavray will be able to contribute next season as I've read only positive things about him.
TE: Chanlder (RS Jr), Harkey (Jr), Fauria (RS Soph) and Presley (Soph)
Verbal: John Young
Young plays for Loyola HS and is teammates with both Barr and Jerry Neuheisel. Loyola has been very good to UCLA in the past with noted alums Matt Ware and Toby Bailey. Young will RS and may not end up a TE when all is said and done. There have been reports that Fauria has been flourishing on the scout team. TE will be another position of strength with the experience of Harkey, anticipated development of Presley and Fauria. We'll see if Presley can add bulk to be a TE. Either way, I'm excited to see if things click for Presley and what Fauria will bring to the table.
OL: Kia (RS Sr), Savage (RS Sr), Taylor (RS Sr), Williams (RS Sr), Tevaga (RS Sr), Baca (Jr), Harris (RS Jr), Maiava (RS Jr), Abele (RS Fr) and Capella (RS Fr)
Verbals: Chris Ward and Kody Innes
Recruiting: Wade Yandall
We have to give CRN kudos for pulling Ward out of Mater Dei. I honestly did not think I'd see a top prospect from Mater Dei sign with UCLA. Just like Bruins feel as if Crenshaw/Loyola/St. John Bosco/etc is Bruin territory, Mater Dei has been all scum as long as I can remember. The OL and DL are the position groups that I am most concerned about heading into the 2010 season. Connor Bradford came in as a OL recruit but is listed as a DL. Sean Sheller was also switched over to the DL. The loss of X to his Mission (I support his decision, wish him the best and will eagerly await his return) and the unknown status of Hasiak really hurts our depth on the OL. Chandler may be switched back to the OL again (feel bad for the kid). In a healthy program, only the truly elite freshman would play on either side of the line. I would like to see both Ward and Innes be redshirted but CRN and staff may not have the luxury. Ward/Innes/Yandall based on numbers have the size but I doubt that they have the strength to compete against more mature & experience players at this level.
DT: Carter (RS Sr), Sheller (RS Sr), Keane (RS Sr), Edison (RS Jr) and Bradford (RS Soph)
Verbals: Julious Moore and Wesley Flowers
Recruiting: Ricky Heimuli, Brandon Willis, Sealii Epenesa, Ego Ferguson and Fred Thompson
Moore (Washington 3A POY) is said to be a quick, 1 gap type DT in the mold of Mike Patterson from suc. Flowers is undersized at only 255-260 lbs but has the frame at 6-4 to bulk up once Mike Linn gets a hold of him. I like these additions but neither is ready to contribute upon their arrival in Westwood. Losing BP early to the NFL (Go get em' BP!) creates a huge hole at DT where we lack depth and don't have guys who've proven that they can perform on a consistent basis at this level. We didn't pick up any DT's in the last 2 recruiting classes and the prior staff did not recruit this position adequately as well. CRN has been recruiting this position hard but due to various reasons, many of the guys we've targeted did not work out. CRN is continuing to recruit this position hard to find someone that is more prepared to contribute immediately. The guy that CRN is targeting, with CNC being the main recruiter, is Heimuli from Utah. We are also doing very well for Epenesa while we jumped in the Thompson sweepstakes late. Willis is a former commit to Tennessee whom CRN has continued to recruit. Ferguson will be visiting us officially during the next couple of weeks. It is imperative that CRN secure at least 2 of the 5 guys we're recruiting. The staff is looking at switching additional people to DT which I'm sure we'll find out more about during the Spring.
DE: Stokes (RS Sr), Jones (Jr), Holmes (RS Soph), Tepa (Soph) and Graham (RS Fr)
Verbals: Marquis Jackson (RS Soph) and Derrick Bryant
Recruiting: Owamagbe Odighizuwa
Owa is getting rave reviews from the practice reports in preparation for the HS US Army Game. He is getting complements for his "burst and motor" off the edge. Owais of Nigerian descent from Oregon and during his Official Visit to UCLA, his family hit it off with our LB Verbal, Olaniyan and Uko (suc verbal). Getting pressure off the edge was an issue this season. Jackson should be ready to contribute immediately while Owa has the size and skill set to play as a FR IMO. Bryant had a monster season but I expect him to RS. Hopefully Jones develops some pass rushing moves instead of relying on brute strength during the offseason. I'm eager to see what Graham brings to the table since CRN indicated that Graham would have played as a FR had he not gotten injured. Holmes may be a candidate to bulk up to provide depth at DT. This is a position that CRN has recruited very well during his 2 years at UCLA.
LB: Schmidtt (RS Sr), Ayers (RS Jr), Sloan (RS Jr), Westgate (Jr), Carter (RS Soph), Larimore (RS Soph), Golper (RS Fr), Bowens (RS Fr), Taneila Maka (Fr, 2009 Grayshirt) and Jared Koster (Fr, 2009 Grayshirt)
Verbals: Aramide Olaniyan and Eric Kendricks
Recruiting: Hayes Pullard and Jordan Zumwalt
Olaniyan originally was a verbal to Duke until he stepped foot in Westwood while Kendricks is the younger brother of Cal LB, Mychal Kendricks (who killed us with his INT for TD). There were some out there who weren't too exicited when he verballed because UCLA was recruiting more highly rated players at LB. However, Kendrick had a monster year and I think he'll be a player in the future. Pullard who is from Bruin friendly Crenshaw HS, is being viewed as the future at the MLB position if he commits to UCLA. Zumwalt is a Stanford verbal that both local schools have continue to recruit. The recruits will get their chance to compete but watching Reggie and Akeem's struggle to learn the defense leads me to believe that the LB recurits will have difficulty making a huge impact but I think 1 or 2 will be on the 2 deep roster. Numbers wise, I think we've overrecruited at LB but besides Ayers, we do not have any proven commodities. Sloan played a lot a couple seasons ago when Reggie got injured but the verdict is still out on him. Sloan, Larimore and Golper should have a heated battle for the MLB position. Westgate may be too small to be a starter while Carter may have outgrown the position and is a candidate to be moved. Based on what I've read, Bowens is one to keep an eye on. Just like the TB position, we have talent at this position but they lack experience. This will be another unit to keep an eye on during the Spring and Fall.
CB: Viney (RS Jr), Hester (RS Soph), Price (Soph), Sermons (Soph) and Pollard (RS Fr)
Verbals: Shaquille Richardson
Recruiting: Anthony Jefferson
Shaq is Paul's cousin who will likely RS in order to get stronger and more prepared to compete at this level. We all saw what can happen to a CB who is not physically ready to compete with Price. However, for all the heat that Price has taken from fans, with an offseason to build strength and size, he will be an All Conference CB by the time his career is said and done. Hester getting injured was a damn shame. We could have really used him and Hester getting experience while playing with the veterans would have better positioned him to make bigger contributions in 2010. Jefferson is from Cathedral HS,where we inked Carroll, who played both WR and CB. UCLA is recruiting him for CB who has size at 6-2. Not quite sure what we have with Sermons and Pollard but both were well thought of coming out of HS. We'll see if Viney can compete with these young Bruins.
S: Moore (Jr), Love (RS Jr), Dye (Jr), McKay (Soph), Hilliard (Soph) and Mascarenas (RS Fr)
Verbals: Tevin McDonald
Recruiting: Marquis Flowers and Erick Dargan
UCLA just had Earnest Thomas, from Michigan, decommit. I don't think this is a huge loss considering the amount of bodies we have and the talent level in the secondary. Like Jones & Jackson, McDonald has a brother who suits up for the darkside. A bit small for safety IMO and have never seen him play so we'll see if he remains at this position. Rahim is a known commodity while Dye will get competition at SS. Interested to see if McKay and Hilliard can push for a starting position. IMO, Love has been a disappointment considering his measurables. Our secondary lacks a physical enforcer who can punish people in the middle of the field. I like what I've been reading about Dargan while Flowers is a highly rated prospect. Safety was a deep position in the west, especially in CA this year but with the amount of bodies/talent on our roster, we may be better served in using this ride at a position with more pressing need.
Special Teams: Forbath (RS Sr), Yount (RS Sr) and Locke (RS Soph)
Verbals: Kip Smith
We are definitely "Special Teams U" right now. Forbath and Locke have continued the tradition of having excellent kickers and punters at UCLA. I think Smith will be prepared to takeover after learning from Forbath during his redshirt year.
Barr: UCLA (Battle between UCLA and ND with Florida St. making a late push)
Murphy: Other (UCLA if our higher priority targets go elsewhere and additional rides open up)
Yandall: UCLA (only a matter of time IMO)
Heimuli: UCLA (Always worried when we try to pluck a player of Mormon faith from Utah but after getting X, I think CRN and CNC will seal the deal)
Epenesa: UCLA (possible admissions issues?)
Thompson: Other (Our recruiting of him was too late IMO)
Willis: UNC (Said to be down to UNC and UCLA with Tenn still making a push. Read somewhere he wanted to be closer to home. Maybe CRN can surprise us here?)
Ferguson: Other (Will be making an Official Visit but I just don't see him coming across the country)
Owa: UCLA (Owa and Heimuli are the 2 guys that has me a bit nervous. He seems to be leaning UCLA but recruiting is a crazy thing and nobody really knows what will happen)
Pullard: UCLA (suc is making a hard push but I fully expect him to continue the Crenshaw to UCLA pipeline)
Zumwalt: Stanford (Both local schools are making a push but I think he'll ultimately stick with Stanford)
Jefferson: Oregon (Although I would love to have him in Westwood, he is an Oregon lean)
Flowers: Arizona or suc (CRN is trying but I just don't see it)
Dargan: UCLA (He is visiting this weekend and if CRN wants him, he gets him. Dargan wanted to come to UCLA early but we didn't recruit him as hard early. Leaning Oregon at the moment)
NOTE: I didn't list other guys that the staff have offered. These are the guys that I think should be on our radar leading up to Signing Day due to various reasons. Some are more likely than others but if I just listed guys that we'll get, it wouldn't be as much fun. These are just predictions and I have zero inside info so take it for what it is.
Please feel free to make predictions yourself, correct any mistakes I may have made and agree/disagree as well.