UCLA Football Recruiting Reset


Coach Jim Mora has been busy since his hiring in December, both in putting together a staff which is nearly filled out, and hitting the recruiting trail. One of the decisions that he had to make early was to attempt to "save" the class put together by Rick Neuheisel, or whether he simply wanted to start over. He has apparently chosen the latter, and we can expect even more changes before signing day.

With the recruiting dead period set to end, there appears to be a lot of movement imminent due to recent staff changes


Quarterback

Status: Kevin Prince, Richard Brehaut, Nick Crissman, and Darius Bell will all be seniors next year, leaving Brett Hundley as the only scholarship QB on the roster past next season. In my opinion, a quarterback is a must sign this offseason.

Commits: None.

Targets: Devin Fuller; Brock Osweiler

Outlook: Fuller is a highly sought after 4* dual threat quarterback out of New Jersey. He has a pretty impressive list of offers that includes Alabama, Nebraska, Michigan, Florida St., TCU, and Ohio St. He's being recruited by Mike Johnson, but he has yet to schedule a visit to UCLA. Nebraska, TCU, and Rutgers are the only schools who have scheduled visits.

Rumors have been swirling that Osweiler may attempt to follow Mazzone to Westwood. While it would be the perfect bridge to let Hundley learn the offense, there are a few things that would have to happen in order for Osweiler to become a Bruin. The exact requirements are somewhat muddy, but it does appear that ASU would have to sign off on the transfer.

We should also expect Mazzone to make a run at another quarterback, possibly one that is already committed.

Running Back

Status: Jonathan Franklin will be a senior next year, leaving Damien Thigpen, Malcolm Jones, Jordon James, Anthony Barr, and Steven Manfro at the position.

Commits: Steven Lakalaka; Psalm Wooching; Paul Perkins

Targets: D.J. Foster; Imani Cross; Barry Sanders Jr.

Outlook: Lakalaka and Wooching are both 3* prospects out of Hawaii who committed to UCLA early in the process. Lakalaka has not wavered, while Wooching has essentially reopened his recruitment and will be taking a visit to Colorado later in January. Of the two, Wooching is the more sought after player (he might end up at LB), but Lakalaka is out of the Punahou School, which is a very important pipeline in Hawaii.

Perkins played at Chandler with Brett Hundley, and he is listed at a DB but allegedly recruited at RB. He's light (175 lbs.), so expect a red shirt if he sticks at RB.

Foster, Cross, and Sanders are all highly sought after out of state recruits. Foster was previously an ASU lean, but the hiring of Broussard and Mazzone gives us a fighting chance. He would be ideal in Mazzone's offense given his pass catching ability. Cross and Sanders are both longshots, but neither appears to have a frontrunner.

Wide Receivers

Status: The last two classes were thin at WR. Devin Lucien certainly has the potential to become a good WR, but the position needs to add depth quickly to facilitate Mazzone's wide open attack.

Commits: Taylor Lagace.

Targets: Deontay Greenberry; Bryce Treggs; Jordan Payton; Kenny Lawler; Jaydon Mickens.

Outlook: Taylor Lagace could end up at S or WR, and my guess is that his destination ultimately depends on how the class fills out.

Greenberry is a longtime Notre Dame commit, and Treggs is a longtime Cal commit, but they are both coming to Westwood on January 13. Payton is another longshot who seems to at least given us a second look with the coaching change.

Lawler is a 4* WR out of Upland HS and Mickens is a 3* out of Dorsey, and I think they'll both end up in Westwood. Lawler is a big outside WR, while Mickens is a smaller slot receiver. They both fit well in Mazzone's system. In addition to those two, I suspect that some of the DB recruits will play WR.

Tight End

Status: Mazzone did not really use a TE at ASU, but I suspect that he might figure out a use after working with Fauria. Raymond Nelson and John Young are on the roster for the foreseeable future, and Anthony Barr could be explosive at this position if Mazzone finds a way to exploit his athletic ability.

Commits: Ian Taubler

Targets: Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick

Status: Taubler was an early commit who has reopened his recruitment and will take visits to USC and UW. Cope-Fitzpatrick is a longtime USC commit who has been rumored to show some interest after Mora came on board. Frankly, both of them could be moved to the offensive line on the next level once they add weight.

Offensive Line

Status: Rick Neuheisel left the offensive in exponentially better shape than the condition it was in when he arrived. Jake Brendel, Ben Wysocki, Torian White, and Will Oliver were all able to red shirt this year. Xavier Su'a Filo returns this year, and Kody Innes, Alber Cid, Chris Ward, and Wade Yandall all have at least 2 years of eligibility remaining.

Commits: Hiva Lutui; Lacy Westbrook; Isaiah Folasa; Mario Yakoo; Alex Ceachir

Targets: Arick Armstead; Kyle Murphy; Jeremiah Poutasi; Colby Cyburt; Max Tuerk; Jordan Simmons

Outlook: This is one of the richest offensive line classes in the west in recent memory. Of the commits/targets, only Lutui is from east of Nevada, and he is from Texas. Lutui has apparently reopened his recruitment, but he is being recruited by Inoke Breckterfield and there is at least some continuity there. If Lutui flips, expect Folasa to be greyshirted.

Armstead is arguably the #1 recruit in the country, and Mora visited him during his trip to Sacramento. He would be a huge coup. Tuerk and Simmons are both USC commits, but there are rumors that Adrian Klemm has a good relationships with both of them and has both of their ears.

Defensive Line

Status: There is young talent on the roster. Cassius Marsh, Seali Espenesa, Brandon Willis, Kevin McReynolds, and Brandon Tuliaupupu all have at least two years of eligibility remaining on the inside, while Iuta Tepa, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Keenan Graham, Wesley Flowers, and Sam Tai all have at least two years of eligibility remaining from the end position.

Commits: Eli Ankou

Targets: Ellis McCarthy; Aziz Shittu; Milo Jordan; Nate Iese; Polo Manukainiu

Outlook: Ankou is a Canadian native who has flown under the radar but is said to have been very impressive in the camp circuit. If we switch to the 3-4, Ankou will likely end up as a pass rushing LB.

Of the targets, McCarthy is one of the best DT's in the country, and Shittu is not far behind. Neither are leaning towards a particular school at this point, but we are at least getting a look with the new staff. Jordan is a previous ASU commit from Centennial who appears to be a UCLA lean at this point. Manukainiu is from Trinity HS in Euluss, TX and a teammate of Lutui and fellow commit Moeakioli. Iese is another Sacramento product. He appeared to be a Nebraska lean, but we have made a late push.

Linebacker

Status: Jordan Zumwalt, Erick Kendricks, and Isaiah Bowens all have multiple years of eligibility, but there is not much behind them. Obviously, if John Pagano is the new DC and linebackers coach, we should see an interest boost.

Commits: Aaron Porter; Kenny Orjioke; Psalm Wooching

Targets: Seth Jacobs; Salamo Fiso; Matthew Rowe; Deaysean Rippy; Brian Nance

Outlook: Porter was an early commit who appears to remain solid. Orjioke may end up at DE, OLB, or S, which is a testament to his size and athletic ability. Wooching's most likely landing spot is LB.

With regard to our targets, there is a nice mix of local and out of state talent. Fiso and Rowe are former ASU commits from Long Beach Poly recruited by Coach Broussard. Rippy is close friends with Justin Combs, and Combs has made no secret that he is actively recruiting for UCLA. Nance is another Trinity HS product out of Euluss, TX. UCLA has shot up his recruiting board lately, and he's taking an official visit on January 13.

Secondary

Status: We have ran out of warm bodies in the secondary for two straight years due to injury. The staff has made a clear effort to rebuild the secondary, and it's showing by the sheer number of offers given out at these positions. It should be noted, however, that many of the commits may move to WR or LB.

Commits: Marcus Rios; Ishmael Adams; Kenny Orjioke; Raymond Ford; Taylor Lagace; Paul Perkins; Justin Combs; Trayvon Watson; Laiu Moeakiola; Jerico Richardson; Shannon Edwards

Targets: Shaquille Thompson; Davonte Neal; Kevon Seymour; Gabriel Marks; Brandon Beaver; Randall Goforth; Richard Smith; Alphonso Marsh; Bryan Harper

Outlook: The number of secondary recruits is staggering, but it goes to show the depth of secondary talent in the west this year as well as indicates the amount of help the staff believes we need.

Technically, Orjioke was recruited as a safety but should be included in the list of commits here as well due to the fact that he has been promised a shot at competing for a safety position. Rios and Adams are both 4* DB's, but Rios is a long, lean CB while Adams reminds me of Tony Dye and has the body type to end up at safety. Lagace may end up at WR, and Perkins was allegedly recruited as a RB, but both of them are primarily listed as DB's.

There does appear to be some movement imminent here. Ray Ford took an official visit to Nebraska and there have been a few rumors that he may be on the move. There are also some rumors that some of our earlier DB commits may be asked to greyshirt soon.

With regard to potential addition, Thompson would be a huge recruit, but he appears to be Cal leans at this point. He recently narrowed his Top 3 down to Cal, UW, and ND. However, Adams was thought to be a solid Cal lean for months before our new staff snatched him away. We caught momentum withwith the coaching change, and who knows what may happen on signing day.

Goforth and Smith are both ASU commits who are looking our direction, and Marks was a former SMU commit who is also being recruited hard by WSU.

Special Teams

We signed K Ka'imi Fairbairn from the Punahou School. We all witnessed what can happen if the team doesn't have a healthy kicker, and the offer makes me wonder if Kip Smith is ok. I do not know if Fairbairn has potential as a punter.

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