Good morning, Bruins Nation!!
If you're like me, this is a bit like Christmas in February. I couldn't get to sleep last night, and I got up way too early this morning. But just as I was excited to see if Santa brought me that new bike I wanted, today I'm excited to see what new names will join the ranks of our Bruin football program.
This will be our anchor post for our recruiting stream today, so we will start the conversation here. We'll add updates to the stream as commitments come in, and we'll announce when we are jumping to a new thread so that we can keep the conversation in one place. We'll follow the news on our verbal commitments along with a list of big names who are making their announcements today. Coach Mora will have a press conference tonight at 5 pm PT and then the UCLA Football Signing Day Celebration at Pauley will get underway at 6:45 where we'll have some BN members posting from the event.
This has been a pretty epic day for UCLA football the last couple years, with Coach Mora and staff really taking U.C.L.A. to a new level of recruiting. We've been following this recruiting class since the beginning and you can see our updates here and news on commits here. With our verbal commitments alone, we already have a solid class that is probably #2 in the Pac-12 behind Stanford. But we've also seen Mora and his staff finish with some great surprises on signing day, and with one or two of those, the Bruins can easily finish in the top ten nationally and have the best class in the conference.
It's gonna sound like the third morning of Gettysburg today. Who's ready for some BOOM!
The Bruins Class of 2014 already has two members. Ron Robinson and Zach Whitley have already signed their LOIs and are on campus this quarter taking classes, as is grayshirt CB Mossi Johnson from last year's class. The Bruins also have another 15 verbal commitments, but they are still free to sign an LOI with any school they choose. We haven't heard much about any of the verbal commits flipping at the last minute, but it is always a possibility. Let's hope it's only a theoretical one for us today.
Here are the names we'll expect to see for the Bruins Class of 2014 from Rivals.
- Ron Robinson 3*DB Corona, CA Santiago
- Zach Whitley 4*LB Galena Park, TX North Shore
- Matt Dickerson 4*DE San Mateo, CA Junipero Serra
- Jacob Tuioti-Mariner 4* DE Bellflower, CA St. John Bosco
- Ainuu Taua 4* DT Lompoc, CA Lompoc
- Cameron Griffin 3* LB Los Angeles, CA View Park
- Dwight Williams 3* LB Gardena, CA Junipero Serra
- Jaleel Wadood 4* DB Bellflower, CA St. John Bosco
- Adarius Pickett 4* DB El Cerrito, CA El Cerrito
- Denzel Fisher 3* DB Compton, CA Centennial
- Aaron Sharp 3* QB Humble, TX Summer Creek
- Nathan Starks 4* RB Englewood, CO Cherry Creek
- Kolton Miller 4* OL Roseville, CA Roseville
- NaJee Toran 3* OL Galena Park, TX North Shore
- Austin Roberts 4* WR Carmel, IN Carmel
- Alex Van Dyke 4* WR Elk Grove, CA Cosumnes Oaks
- Jordan Lasley 3* WR Gardena, CA Junipero Serra
Here's where most of the suspense will come in today. These are the big names that are announcing their commitments today and who are high on Coach Mora's wish list. Unfortunately, the Bruins already lost out on Budda Baker who surprisingly announced his decision to go to UW last night. Word is he's staying close to home in part due to family medical issues, and after our experience with EVD last year, we can understand his reasons. Good luck to the young man and we wish his family well.
The Bruins should have a hat on the table for each of the rest of these players, though our chances in this group range from very good (Young) to long shots (Evans, Jackson) to we'd be stunned (Thomas). The names are followed by the scheduled time of their announcement and where the event will be televised. All times are Pacific.
- Solomon Thomas, DE (Coppell TX) - 5 am ESPNU
- Malachi Dupre, WR (River Ridge LA) - 7 am ESPNU
- Mattrell McGraw, S (River Ridge LA) - 7 am ESPNU
- Kenny Young, LB (River Ridge LA) - 7:30 am ESPNU
- Rashaan Evans, LB (Auburn AL) - 8 am ESPNU
- Davon Godchaux DE (Plaquemine LA) - 8:30 am
- Adoree' Jackson, DB/Ath (Gardena CA) - 11 am ESPNU
Budda Baker, S (Bellevue WA) 1 pmcommitted to UW last night
- Kalen Ballage RB (Falcon CO) 2:30 pm
We'll try to stay current here on BN with all Bruin related news that is not behind paid firewalls. Some twitter handles you might want to follow today include: @UCLACoachMora, @IAMKLEMM, and @UCLAFootball. Also @EdwardLewisBSR and @BruinReport will be tracking UCLA news all day long and are always worth the follow.
Mora has gone into National Signing Day with good classes the last two years and then capped them off with some great surprise additions on the day itself (or even a few weeks after :-) ), so let's hope Mora and Co can continue that trend again this year.
NSD isn't a make or break day for a program. Coach Neuheisel was very successful as a recruiter, but that success didn't translate to the field. Also, while ratings and stars are helpful, they are no guarantee of future success either. At the same time, it's never a bad thing to have talent, so today is an important milestone for Coach Mora and his staff. The Bruins just had their best football season in over a decade and the program is going the right way. Another big signing day will help solidify U.C.L.A's position as one of the top teams in the conference and give the fan base another big dose of adrenaline as the teams looks to continue momentum for what could be a very special season with both Pac-12 and national title implications.
As we go through the day, please remember a couple things. First, here's a reminder to not discuss information that is behind firewall on Bruin Sports Report or Bruin Report Online or other sites. Everything will be public soon enough, so please respect the professional reporters and their hard work, and we highly recommend subscriptions to both services. They do a great job of getting the inside info.
Also, please be respectful of the high school kids who are making their decisions today. There are always some morons who will tweet hate at 17 and 18 year olds who choose to go to a different school. We're not those guys, though, so let's wish the kids we don't get well, and let's give a big welcome to our new class of Bruins.
Having said that, let's get at it. Who's got the coffee?