LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13: Jim Mora speaks at a press conference introducing him as head UCLA football coach at the J.D. Morgan Center at UCLA on December 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
We last looked at UCLA's 2013 recruiting scene on offense and defense in mid-June. Since then, Coach Mora has gained commitments from highly touted DT Kenneth Clark and fast rising CB/WR Jermaine Kelly, bringing the 2013 class to 10 current commits. Scout ranks the 2013 class as it stands at #22 with an 3.30 average star rating. UCLA has the least amount of recruits in the top 25 classes, and the 16th highest average star rating.
It's important that the staff keep up the solid efforts. USC is having a stellar early recruiting season, and Washington, is in Scout's top 25 as well. Oregon and Stanford are both notoriously slow starters, but they'll be in the top 25 when all is said and done. With limited scholarships, USC has managed to sign 14 recruits with an average star rating of 4.36, which is easily the highest in the nation. There are rumors that USC is essentially offering time limited scholarships, so a verbal commitment is required to "hold" a spot, and it will be interesting to see how firm those commitments really are.
We'll take a look at the offensive side of the ball after the jump.
Status: UCLA's quarterback situation for 2013 is a little murky at the moment. Everyone assumes Brett Hundley will be the man and take over, but he hasn't played a game yet. Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut will both graduate after this season, leaving TJ Millweard, Jerry Neuheisel, Mike Fafaul, and potentially Devin Fuller behind Hundley. Despite the limited scholarships, the coaching staff correctly believes that a quarterback is a must sign this offseason.
Commits: Eddie Printz
Outlook: The staff locked in to Eddie Printz and has apparently stopped recruiting any other quarterbacks. The commitment to Printz is somewhat risky given that Printz is out of Georgia and has offers from SEC, ACC, and BIG10 schools, but Printz has been involved with UCLA and even came to this year's spring game.
Status: Jonathan Franklin will be graduating, leaving Damien Thigpen, Malcolm Jones, Jordon James, and Steven Manfro at the position. Thigpen, James, and Manfro are all potential F/HB hybrids, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the staff sign two running backs this year.
Commits: Keyante Green
Targets: Craig Lee; Pierre Cormier; Taquan Mizzell; Derrick Green; Khalfani Muhammad; Aaron Baltazar; Peyton Barber; Donnel Pumphrey
Outlook: Green is another Georgia recruit. At 5'9 190 lbs., he's a little on the small side. However, he's not a burner and does run with his pads low. Green has indicated that he intends to take his visit, and although he has also said that he remains committed to UCLA, the staff will need to fight for him as he holds numerous SEC, BIG10, and ACC offers. Georgia is a school to look out for. Green initially committed to Georgia but was told to look elsewhere due to the fact that Georgia had limited running back space and had a commitment from 5* Derrick Henry. Henry recently decommitted from Georgia with all signs pointing towards flipping to Alabama, so Georgia's recruitment of Green may pick up.
The Lee and Cormier are both from California. Lee is the tallest at 6'0 188 lbs and Cormier is the smallest at 5'11 180 lbs. They are both getting interest from the majority of the Pac 12, and Cormier has a couple of BIG10 offers. Lavon Coleman recently committed to Washington.
Mizzell and Green are both out of Virginia and appear to be very longshots at this point. Muhammad, Baltazar, Barber, and Pumphrey are all just a step below Lee, Cormier, and Coleman for various reasons. They all have multiple BCS offers, but are not quite up to the elite level at this stage. Of them, I think Muhammad is the most exciting. The Notre Dame HS product may have diminutive size, at only 5-7 160 lbs., but his tape is fun to watch.
Status: After a few lackluster recruiting classes, Coach Mora & Co. signed Jordan Payton, Javon Williams, Randall Goforth, Kenny Walker, Fabian Moreau, Paul Perkins, and Ahmaad Harris last year. However, Goforth may end up at CB, and Walker, Moreau, Perkins, and Harris all look like slot guys. There is also a lot of talented WR's out west in this year's class, so it would be a good time to nab an elite WR. However, there are rumors that Coach Yarber isn't exactly setting the world on fire in the recruiting circles, and UCLA has already missed on a lot of talented prospects.
Commits: Inoke Lotulelei.
Targets: ; Devon Allen; John Ross; Samajie Grant; Xavier Shepherd; Juwan Dickey
Outlook: As mentioned above, 2* Lotulelei is the first commit at WR for this class, but he may defer enrollment to take his mission and probably won't crack the depth chart for three years. He has also mentioned his desire for a BYU offer, which he recently received, so he may not be "committed" for long.
Since the last recruiting update, Sebastian Larue committed to USC, Francis Owusu committed to Stanford, and Demorea Stringfellow committed to Washington. There are still plenty of talented wide receivers available, but the lack of action for UCLA at this position is a bit troubling.
Allen is another big receiver with good straight line speed. He stands 6'1 190 lbs. and has offers from all over the country. UW does appear to be his leader partly due to family ties in the area, but he's a guy to keep an eye on. After UW's commitments from Daniels and Stringfellow, one has to wonder how many WR's they can take in their small class this year.
Ross is a bit smaller at 5'9 175, but he's electric with the ball. He plays at Jordan HS in Long Beach, and has potential as a return man as well as CB. Of the remaining WR targets, I would assume that he is #1 on the list.
Grant, Shepherd, and Dickey are all a little less heralded than the others, but UCLA has shown interest in all of them. Dickey is the biggest at 6'1 185 lbs. He doesn't seem as willing to leave the southeast as Printz is, but Printz will have an entire season to work on him. Grant also has good size at 6'0 175. He's also a candidate to play CB. Shepherd is another smallish slot that Mazzone loves. He's only 5'9 165 lbs., but is said to have been tearing up the summer circuits.
Status: Replacing Fauria at the Y will be a tough proposition; 6'8 athletic tight ends simply do not grow on trees. However, how Mazzone utilized Fauria may go a long ways towards gathering interest with the tight ends who are out there. Last year, Ian Taubler and Nate Iese were both signed with potential to play the Y. However, Taubler may grow into an OT and Iese looks dynamic at OLB/DE.
Targets: Thomas Duarte
Status: Duarte is a Mater Dei product who stands an impressive 6'4 225. His is a much better receiver than blocker and really looks like a perfect "Y" receiver. He also has family ties to UCLA and probably looks like a UCLA lean at this point.
Former target Charlie Reid committed to TCU.
Status: While Rick Neuheisel left the offensive in exponentially better shape than the condition it was in when he arrived, we all saw in spring practice that it still where it needs to be. Getting Xavier Su'a Filo back was huge, but the line needs more depth and talent across the board.
Commits:OT Erik Bunte; OT Sean Dowling; OT Christian Morris
Targets: OG Scott Quessenbery; OG John Lopez; OG Sean Harlow; OT Kenny Lacy; OT Aaron Cochran; OT Riley Sorensen
Outlook: Once again, Coach Klemm and UCLA are pursuing a lot of targets. Klemm is quite the recruiter, and each of the above listed include UCLA at or near the top of their lists. Obviously, UCLA won't sign all of them, or even half of them for that matter, but it will be interesting to see how the recruiting dominoes fall here.
Bunte is a mammoth at 6'7 310 lbs. He certainly looks like he may be able to step right in and play. Dowling is a little smaller at 6'6 265 lbs., but if he is able to put on weight this year, he may be able to provide depth next season as well.
Highly touted OT Nico Falah recently committed to USC, which is hardly a shock to those who follow recruiting. While Falah had ties to UCLA (his father went to UCLA), Falah camped at USC. In addition to Falah, USC signed C Khaliel Rodgers and Cal signed OG Cameron Hunt in the past week.
Morris and Lacy are both out of state prospects. Morris does appear to favor UCLA the most and may be announcing as soon as today (UPDATE: Christian Morris committed to UCLA this morning). At 6'6 285 lbs., he has good size and could probably play immediately if necessary. Lacy is the top OT prospect in Arizona. He is 6'6 270 lbs. and has quite a few offers to choose from. Of the three out of state prospects, Lacy looks like the longest shot.
Quessenberry, Lopez, and Harlow may be competing for a spot or two at OG. Lopez and Harlow are both Orange County products, and Quessenberry isn't much further south in Encinitas. Lopez is the biggest and most heralded at 6'5 305 lbs., and UCLA has been recruiting him for years, but Harlow and Quessenberry have been climbing the ranks.
Cochran, Sorensen, and Hunt are all a little less heralded, and only Cochran currently holds an offer. At 6'8 350 lbs., Cochran dwarfs all of the other prospects. While Sorensen and Hunt do not currently hold offers, I do think they are likely candidates to receive them in the near future. Hunt has been lights out in the summer circuit and Sorensen is Bunte's teammate at Santa Margarita. The knock on Hunt is his lack of size (6'4 255 lbs.) and possible inability to get much bigger.
That rounds up our third early look at UCLA's recruiting efforts on the offensive side of the ball. Be sure to check back in tomorrow where we'll take a look at the defensive recruiting scene.