All eyes have been on Coach Mora since he arrived in Westwood.
In Part I of our recruiting roundtable discussion on Coach Mora's first recruiting class, we gave letter grades and discussed our favorite offensive and defensive recruits. We'll now take a look at our choices for instant impact players on both sides of the ball, predict which members of the class will not redshirt, and discuss our favorite "unheralded" recruit.
4. Which recruit do you think will make the most immediate impact of the offensive side of the ball?
AHMB: I'm going to split hairs here and call special teams offensive. I'm hoping the new staff views special teams as a scoring opportunity, and it looks as though we picked up a few dynamic returners. I'm partial to short return men, and I'll say Ahmaad Harris will provide the biggest impact, though Goforth, Adams, and Walker could all potentially make an impact on the return game.
Ryan R.: I like the way you're thinking with special teams and I'll take one of your honorable mentions and say Adams. I love the way he looks with the ball in his hands. He has the special something that makes you think he can end up in the endzone every time he touches the ball so hopefully he can get in the return game.
Achilles: Jordan Payton. We need a go to receiver and I think Payton is the most ready to play. He may not ultimately be the best receiver in the class when they're seniors but I think he'll make the most immediate impact.
Bellerophon: Devin Fuller. Mora says he has no bones about starting younger guys, so I think the QB competition comes down to who can learn Mazzone's system the fastest. Prince and Brehaut, at this point, I think are nothing but experienced, veteran back-ups. The keys will end up in the hands of Hundley or Fuller. Millweard, I expect, will redshirt, but will end up being UCLA's QB of the future in a few seasons. Seeing how thin we are at WR, Mazzone will have to tweak his spread offense a bit, and I think a mobile QB gives him that kind of flexibility. Fuller will see the field, even if Hundley wins the QB battle, simply because he's way too dynamic of a playmaker to leave on the sidelines.
Nestor: I agree with B here but I think it will be Fuller for slightly different reason. I like that both Mora and Mazzone are thinking of Fuller as a quarterback. I like that a lot because I can only imagine a fully clicking spread oriented UCLA offense operating with QBs like Hundley and Fuller. That said I don't want to count out Brehaut's potential in Mazzone's offense. I could see next year Brehaut taking over as starting QB and Mazzone trying in Hundley. Now, I can also see Mazzone putting in special package plays for Fuller, putting in him space and let him go. Also, Achilles is very smart to name Jordan Payton. I think it will be at the WR spot where we can see a true freshman breaking in. For the same reason, don't count out Javon.
Freesia39: Javon Williams. There is a chance for one of the recruits to get playing time as a freshman, and if Hundley wins the QB job (or even gets to play now and again) he'll look to throw to his buddy from high school. But I won't rule out Payton, as he is an impressive recruit, and he told us all how gangs are bad.
gbruin: Javon Williams. We were a bit thin at receiver before this class, and with the new OC, everyone is starting out pretty even. I expect Hundley to be our QB, and he will feel very comfortable looking for his former teammate.
5. Which recruit do you think will make the most immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball?
AHMB: McCarthy. Teaming with Marsh, Odighizuwa, Willis, and Jones, McCarthy will add a penetrator on the inside of the line. He should really free up the outside lineman and hopefully re-energize UCLA's moribund pass rush.
Ryan R.: It has to be McCarthy because he's he's incredibly talented, but also because we're in desperate need of defensive line help immediately.
Bellerophon: McCarthy. He's ready to play from day one. He should be our starting DT in Spanos' 3-4 scheme. I'd like to see what Marsh, Willis, and Datone can do lining up alongside him. What will be interesting is that with McCarthy and the 3-4 is whether Owa and Graham can make the transition from DE to hybrid OLB/DE. If so, we will be scary along the front-seven.
Nestor: Ellis McCarthy is the obvious answer given the responses. I also think Ishmael Adams could be someone who can break into our CB rotation. There may be opportunities to play there especially if Aaron Hester has not made necessary progress to develop into a smart and mature corner back.
Freesia39: McCarthy. I can't wait to see him, Owa, Jones and Marsh.
gbruin: McCarthy. The DL needs the biggest upgrade from last season. A rotation of Owa, Datone, Willis, Marsh, and McCarthy should be a huge step up. If we can get solid play from our DL at the point of attack against the run, our LB's will get more space to run and make plays, as they had a hard time getting away off of blocks last season. If our DL can generate a pash rush on its own, then the D can be something special.
6. Who are your candidates to play as true freshmen?
AHMB: In addition to McCarthy and Harris, I believe Jordan Payton, Randall Goforth, Kenny Walker, Jeremy Castro, Aaron Porter, Ishmael Adams, and Ka'imi Fairburn will all likely see time next season.
Ryan R.: Hey! You stole my list!
Achilles: I confessed in a post a few weeks ago that I wasn't much of a recruitnik. This one is beyond my knowledge. Payton and McCarthy for sure. I think Fuller sees the field as well, though I suppose they might want to redshirt him.
Bellerophon: McCarthy, Adams, Payton, Porter, Fairbairn, and Fuller.
Nestor: My answers are the same as Bellerophon. I am really not copying him here! I would also put Javon Williams into the mix as well. Mazzone will need receivers.
Freesia39: It's not copying if I cite my sources. Please read AHMB's list.
gbruin: See freesia's comment, citing AHMB. That.
7. Who is your favorite unheralded recruit?
AHMB: In addition to Ahmaad Harris, I'm really looking forward to watching Nate Iese. I don't know if Iese will see any time next year because I believe he's transitioning to outside linebacker, but he has pretty freakish athleticism for a guy his size.
Ryan R.: I'm going with Ka'imi Fairbairn. Last season made me appreciate how good we had it at kicker for more than a decade so hopefully he can put my mind at ease again in the kicking game.
Achilles: I'm not sure which of them are unheralded except for Harris. So, I guess I'll say Harris.
Bellerophon: Nate Iese is going to be interesting. He's got great size, good speed, and crazy athleticism. He's the right size for the hybrid DE/OLB and he'll be a freak in a few years coming off the edge. Oh, and he can play TE too. I wonder if Mora will let him play both ways.
Nestor: I will go with Eli Ankou. The kid has taken an interesting road to UCLA, coming out from Canada (via Delaware). The kid had offers from Virginia and Vanderbilt, two programs that have had pretty good defensive units under Mike London and James Franklin. He is listed at 6-3, 245 but he could turn out to be a very solid defensive end in our new 3-4 scheme if he can put another 30-40lbs in that frame. The kid is still learning the game. It could be fun to track his development under the tutelage of NFL coaches such as Lou Spanos and Jeff Ulbrich.
Freesia39: Probably Fairbairn. I appreciate kickers after being spoiled by Forbath.
gbruin: I already mentioned Harris above. I'll go with Fairbairn as Freesia did. We saw last season how important a reliable kicker is. Mazzone's offense has some questions in the red zone where the field gets smaller, and a solid kicker will be important as the offense goes through some expected growing pains. Also, can I cheat and call Anthony Barr a defensive recruit? Am I the only one who looks at him and sees Carnell Lake? Awesome.
If you missed Part I of the three part discussion, you can read it here. Be sure to check in tomorrow for the conclusion of the discussion, and feel free to add your own answers and commentary below.