In Part I of the roundtable discussion, we take a look at the overall class, and name our favorite offensive and defensive commits.
1. What is your overall impression of the class? If you were to give it a letter grade, what would it be?
AHMB: Last year's class was impressive, especially given the short time period in which it was put together. This year's class was off the charts in terms the sheer depth of the class. The staff loaded up on three big areas of concern, offensive line, linebackers, and secondary. If I had one gripe, the class might be a little short of offensive skill players, especially if Craig Lee cannot qualify by fall, but that really is nitpicking. I give it a solid A.
gbruin: I really like how the recruiting focused on needs, which shows the coaching staff is looking strategically at this program. Then, by picking off great players at those positions shows how effective this staff is at selling our program to recruits, and then secondarily building belief and support in the fanbase. This class is an A.
bruinclassof10: This year's class is beastly with playmakers at every position. Well done coaching staff. An A in my book as well.
Odysseus: This class is an A. What's really impressive about this class is the depth. UCLA has had classes with more five-star players or top 100 players, but the number of four-star players (and three stars who look promising) is what's really impressive. This is a class with quality depth, especially at offensive line, linebacker, and defense back, all of which were positions of need.
Nestor: Ditto to what everyone has said here. This class is an easy A, which addressed concerns regarding depth at offensive line, secondary, linebacker and quarterback. For a while it appeared that we may be whiffing on a QB. If we hadn't landed one, I would have graded this class as a B+, A- at best. But getting Asiantii on NSD cinched it.
2. Who is your favorite offensive recruit?
AHMB: This is a tough one. I think all of the lineman are capable of playing at a high level, and Caleb Benenoch's personality is going to be a fan favorite, but I really thought the class needed a quarterback and I'm thrilled about Asiantii Woulard. A few months ago, he was committed to South Florida and nowhere near UCLA's board. The stars had to align for Woulard to end up at UCLA, but now he's going to have time to sit and learn behind Brett Hundley. Woulard is a former wide receiver, and at 6'4 200 lbs., he's going to bring a lot of size and athleticism to the position when he gets on the field.
gbruin: I'd go with the same 2 as AHMB. I think Woulard was a fantastic get with great upside and a critical need. But I'm go with Benenoch who was tweeting the new class all signing day and really building team from day one. I love that attitude. I can't wait to see him pancaking opponents to keep his teammates clean.
bruinclassof10: I like all of our recruits on offense but like the others, we grew to like Caleb Benenoch through Twitter. Since he committed, he became a tireless recruiter for us. I hope he can lock down a starting position for the next 4 years.
Odysseus: I agree, Benenoch seems like a guy who we're really going to appreciate in the trenches. Woulard seems to have great potential but needs some time to develop. He showed signs of being a smart kid by picking a situation where he'll be able to that. I think he can thrive with a chance to learn and develop.
Nestor: Sean Covington. Hey, punting is winning. Right? j/k. Agree with AHMB and gbruin here. Asiantii is my favorite offensive recruit in this class. Although perhaps it will be Thomas Duarte who may have a shot to break out as a true freshman next season.
3. Who is your favorite defensive recruit?
AHMB: It was tough picking a favorite offensive recruit, but it's almost impossible to pick a favorite defensive recruit. I'm going to go with Myles Jack. His tape is so explosive, and we saw what explosive athletes can do on the edge with Anthony Barr. He has enough size to come in and play immediately, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up starting opposite Barr next season.
gbruin: Priest Willis, even with the wait for mom. Actually, that's a good thing. The secondary was our weakest spot on D last season, and he can fill a couple different spots right away. I love that he and Tahaan Goodman both committed early so they could help with recruiting.
bruinclassof10: Going to give a shout out to Deon Hollins and Tahaan Goodman here. I know Priest and Myles get a lot of love and deservedly so but I expect big things out of DHJ and Goodman too. I think Kylie Fitts could be a "face of the franchise" type of player too and end up on one of those Here.Now.UCLA commercials.
Odysseus: Definitely Myles Jack for me as well, but Willis is another who I think we'll be happy with.
Nestor: Since everyone is going with either Jack or Willis with shout outs to Hollins, Goodman and Fitts, I am going to go with Isaac Savaiinaea. I am excited to see what this kid in our 3-4 defense. Perhaps he will emerge in the national scene as another MLB from Hawaii - without ... uhm ... all the baggage. I also have to say Jayon Brown, the OLB from Long Beach Pauley could be the surprise star recruit of this class. The kid can hit.
This will be a three part discussion, and we'd really like to hear the the community answers for all of the questions. Fire away with your answers, and stay tuned for the next two parts.