UCLA Football Recruiting Reset - Offense

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

We turn our attention to the offensive side of the ball, where the staff has remained in the mix on a lot of targets, but needs to close strong.

After taking a look at the recruiting efforts on the defensive side of the ball last week, we'll turn our attention to the offensive side of the ball today.  Of the current 12 commits, 5 are on the offensive side of the ball, and 3 of those are receivers.  Needless to say, the staff has some work to do on the offensive side of the ball.  UCLA is on the short list of a lot of elite talent, so the next couple of months could be huge for the program.

Quarterbacks

Status:  Brett Hundley has a decision to make regarding his NFL future this offseason, and while his returning would obviously help the status of UCLA's quarterback depth, his return should not let the staff off the hook for failing to sign a quarterback this year.  After Hundley, UCLA has  Jerry Neuheisel and Asiantii Woulard on scholarship.  That's it at the quarterback position, and given UCLA's history of quarterback issues, having a thin depth chart at that position isn't acceptable.

Commits: None.

Targets: Brad Kaaya.

Outlook:  The staff lucked into Asiantii Woulard last year after botching the quarterback recruitment, and this year is already off to a rough start.  Maybe that could happen again this year, because there isn't much left uncommitted at this point.  UCLA is recruiting Brad Kaaya, a local product from Chaminade College Prep who is committed to Miami.  He committed while UCLA was chasing other quarterbacks and made it clear that he had no desire to be a back up option.  If the staff can mend the relationship, it wouldn't be surprising if he flips to the Bruins.

Running Backs

Status:  The season started with Damien Thigpen, Jordon James, Steven Manfro, Paul Perkins, and Malcolm Jones all competing for carries.  It ended with the staff using a linebacker at running back out of necessity.  It shows how fast things can change at the position.  With James, Perkins, and Manfro returning, as well as Craig Lee entering the mix after a red shirt year, the depth again looks good. The staff could still sign two running backs, especially if they could land an elite talent.

Commits: Marlon Mack.

Targets: Joe Mixon; Royce Freeman; Tre Watson; D.J. Riggins.

Outlook:  The staff got a surprise commit from Marlon Mack, a 5'11 195 lbs. running back out of Florida.  His tape looks good, but he recruited by dismissed Coach Broussard, and it will be interesting to see if his commitment sticks.

Joe Mixon is the top in state running back.  He plays for Freedom HS in Oakley and has offers from all over the country.  At 6'0 195 lbs., he has the size to step in and play immediately.  Mixon has not indicated any favorite, but UCLA is on his short list along with Cal, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

Royce Freeman may be the most intriguing of the prospects.  At 6'1 220 lbs., the Imperial HS product is already built like an NFL back.  He doesn't look like any of the running backs on UCLA's roster, and could be penciled in early as the short yardage and workhorse back.  He's currently committed to Oregon, but our staff should make a push for him.

Another current Pac-12 commit UCLA is looking at is Tre Watson, a 5'9 185 lbs. running back out of Corona that is currently committed to Cal.  Despite the commitment, Watson is clearly looking around and UCLA has given him an offer.

D.J. Riggins does not yet hold an offer, but the Oaks Christian product would be a good fit at F.  Riggins is related to Ishmael Adams, and is high on UCLA.  If UCLA can find room for him, he would probably commit quickly and fit a role in the offense.

Wide Receivers

Status:  UCLA will lose top receiver Shaq Evans, but has an exciting group of receivers in Devin Lucien, Jordan Payton, Devin Fuller, and Kenny Walker, as well as incoming Fr. Eldridge Massington.  Of course, in Noel Mazzone's offense, you can never have enough receivers, and I think the staff will look to sign 2-3 more this season.

Commits: Alex Van Dyke; Austin Roberts; Jordan Lasley.

Targets: Michiah Quick; Malachi Dupre.

Outlook:  UCLA is doing well with receivers, with current commits from 4* Alex Van Dyke out of Sacramento and 4* Austin Roberts out of Indiana, as well as 3* Lasley out of Serra.  Van Dyke and Roberts are both big targets, and 6'4 210 lbs. and 6'2 220 lbs., respectively.  Depending on how the recruiting class fills out, Van Dyke and Roberts could easily move to the Y position.

Lasley is a bit smaller, but he still checks in at 6'2 180 lbs.  Of the three, Lasley's commitment is the most questionable, and he appears to be looking around lately.  It would not be surprising if he decided to go elsewhere if UCLA lands either of the two elite receivers that UCLA is currently chasing.

UCLA is chasing the top wide receiver in the country in Michiah Quick out of Central HS in Fresno.  The 5'11 170 lbs. has UCLA in the mix, but the staff is going to have to fight a long battle to land him.

Malachi Dupre is an elite receiver from Louisiana and has shown a lot of interest in UCLA.  Dupre is 6'3 175 lbs. and has visited UCLA on a couple of occasions.  Pulling him out of the south would be a coup, but he does have ties to southern California.

Tight Ends/Y Receivers

Status:  Signing Thomas Duarte last season was huge, especially considering the graduation of Darius Bell and move of Ian Taubler to defense.  This season, the staff will again look to sign one Y, but they could take more under the right circumstances.

Commits:  None.

Targets:  Bryce Dixon.

Status:  UCLA has offered Bryce Dixon out of St. Bonaventure, and it does figure to be a battle between UCLA and USC for his services.  Dixon is a perfect match at the Y, but at 6'4 220 lbs., he may also grow into a prototypical TE.

Offensive Linemen

Status:  After taking a seven man class last year, UCLA has rebuilt depth along the offensive line and can be selective this year.  That said, there are a few elite targets in the west that UCLA is chasing, and it's not out of the question to take a 5 man class this year.

Commits:C Najee Toran.

Targets:  OT Damien Mama; OG Viane Talamaivao; OG Kammy Delp.

Outlook:  After watching the struggles snapping the ball, Coach Klemm got a big commitment out of C Najee Toran out of Texas.  At 6'3 258 lbs., Toran has some work to do to add the necessary size to play at the next level, but he adds solid depth to a position of need.

The three targets from the west are all highly regarded.  Damien Mama is a massive 6'5 340 lbs. tackle out of St. John Bosco and has shown interest in UCLA.  He's also good friends with Viane Talamaivao, a 6'3 285 lbs. guard currently committed to Alabama.  Kammy Delp is the most likely of the three to come to UCLA.  Delp has plenty of size at 6'4 330 lbs., and has offers from most of the Pac 12.

***

That rounds up our first look at UCLA's recruiting efforts on the offensive side of the ball.  Fire away with your thoughts and comments as we inch closer to signing day.

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