UCLA Football Recruiting Reset - Dead Period is Over

Quarterback

Commits: None

Targets: Brad Kaaya; Aaron Sharp; KJ Carta-Samuels.

Update:  There was a lot of smoke surrounding Brad Kaaya, but Al Golden's decision to stay at Miami may have firmed up Kaaya's commitment to the Canes.  There has also been smoke around KJ Carta-Samuels, who was formerly committed to Vanderbilt before James Franklin left for Penn State.  The level of interest between UCLA and Carta-Samuels is unclear, in part because his high school, Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, runs a version of the Wing T offense and he does not throw the ball much, but he has reopened his commitment and the staff should take a long look at him.

The staff has turned it's attention to Aaron Sharp, a 6'3 190 lbs. southpaw out of Houston.  Sharp is currently committed to Kansas St., but he is planning on visiting UCLA and Washington this month.  Sharp has elite athleticism, but he needs a mechanical tune up before playing at the next level.  He's currently a 3* prospect, but with his physical gifts, he could end up being a star dual threat quarterback.

Running Back

Commits: Nathan Starks; Marlon Mack.

Targets: Joe Mixon.

Update:  UCLA was a finalist for Joe Mixon, and is presumably still recruiting him, but when Mixon chose Oklahoma over the Bruins the staff immediately picked up a commitment from Nathan Starks out of Colorado.  Starks is a 4* running back that had been rated higher than Mixon by some recruiting services before running into some unidentified off the field issues and missing half of his senior year.  Starks is good athlete that has the ability to move to safety if he doesn't work out at running back and shouldn't be viewed as a consolation prize.

With regard to Marlon Mack, I'd suggest taking a look at the comments he made to a Michigan recruiting site.  I suspect the staff took notice.

Wide Reciever/Y

Commits: Alex Van DykeAustin RobertsJordan Lasley.

Targets: Michiah Quick; Malachi Dupre; Bryce Dixon.

Update:  UCLA is still chasing Michiah Quick out of Fresno and Malachi Dupre out of Louisiana, and is one of the finalists for both.  Signing one or both of them would put likely make this year's class the best that UCLA has had at the position in a very long time.

Bryce Dixon chose USC over UCLA at the Army All-American game, but the staff is still recruiting him and he will visit UCLA later this month.

Of the current commits, Jordan Lasley is still being recruited by USC, but Alex Van Dyke and Austin Roberts appear to be very firm at this point.

Offensive Line

Commits:  C Najee Toran.

Targets:  T Nick Gates; T Kolton Miller; G Damien Mama; G Larry Allen.

Update:  The staff picked up their efforts recruiting 4* Nick Gates out of Bishop Gorman, 3* Kolton Miller out of Roseville, and 3* Larry Allen out of De La Salle after missing on some other targets.  Gates and Miller are both top 30 tackles with good size and would provide good depth at a position of need.

The staff is also evaluating Larry Allen and has yet to offer.  Having played at De La Salle and being the son of a Hall of Fame guard, Allen is technically sound, but he doesn't have the biggest frame and only has Pac-12 offers from Oregon St., Colorado, and Washington St.

Damien Mama has indicated that he plans to take his LDS Mission immediately and will not be enrolling anywhere next season.  Accordingly, he wouldn't count against scholarship count and will be available for recruiting when he returns.

Defensive Line

Commits:  DT Ainuu Taua; DE Jacob Tuioti-Mariner; DE Matt Dickerson.

Targets:  DE Solomon Thomas; DE Davon Godchaux.

Update:  There was a lot of action recently with the commitments of 4* ends Jacob Tuioti-Mariner out of Bosco and Matt Dickerson out of Serra.  Dickerson surprised many by flipping from Notre Dame, and his 6'4 280 lbs. frame will provide more versatility along the defensive line.  Tuioti-Mariner is a lean 6'4 265 lbs. and jumps out on tape.  He's a volleyball player and brings a lot of athleticism to the line.

The staff is still recruiting Solomon Thomas out of Texas and Davon Godchaux out of Louisiana.  Thomas has upcoming visits to Stanford, Arkansas, and Ohio St., but UCLA is in his top five along with Texas and the aforementioned schools.  Godchaux is currently committed to LSU, but he's made it clear that he is still listening to other schools, and he's close friends with other Louisiana commits that UCLA is targeting.

Linebackers

Commits:  MLB Cameron Griffin; MLB/OLB Zach Whitley; OLB Dwight Williams.

Targets:  MLB Kenny Young; OLB Rashaan Evans.

Update:  UCLA got big commitments from Zach Whitley out of Houston and Dwight Williams out of Serra in the past few weeks, reaffirming UCLA's status as "Linebacker U".  Whitley flipped from Alabama has already enrolled at UCLA.  Scout ranks him as the #6 MLB, but at 6'2 220 lbs. with excellent athleticism, he has position versatility.  Williams has seen his stock drop somewhat during his senior year, but he's very athletic and could fit in well as a nickel backer.

The two targets on the board are Kenny Young out of Louisiana and Rashaan Evans out of Alabama.  As with a lot of other elite recruits, UCLA made their finalists but still has work to do.  Young has all of his visits this month, finishing with UCLA.  He's also teammates with Malachi Dupre and Mattrell McGraw, and close friends with Davon Godchaux, all of which are UCLA targets.  Evans is the top rated OLB in the country and choosing between Auburn, Alabama, and UCLA.  Pulling him out of the state of Alabama would be a coup, but he has a good relationship with the staff.  He would also fit into Anthony Barr's role in the defense, which is perfect for his skillset.

Cornerbacks

Commits:   Jaleel Wadood; Adarius PickettDenzel Fisher.

Targets:  Adoree Jackson; Marlon Humphrey.

Update:  The staff lost a commitment from John Plattenburg, but are still in good standing at the position with commitments from 4* corners Jaleel Wadood and Adarius Pickett, and 3* corner Denzel Fisher.  All three have good size and position versatility, but I'll list them as corners because I think they'll each be given their first shot to play corner.

The two remaining targets, Adoree Jackson out of Serra and Marlon Humphrey out of Alabama, are both elite 5* corners with some interest in UCLA.  Humphrey's recruitment has turned up lately, and he has a visit scheduled to UCLA along with all of UCLA's targets out of the South.  Humphrey's father played for Alabama, and Alabama and Florida St. are his two co-leaders at this point.  Jackson is currently the #3 rated cornerback by Scout, and he's narrowed his finalists to six, which includes UCLA.  He has yet to schedule his fifth and final visit, and where he visits may go a long ways in predicting where he ends up.

Safeties

Commits: Ron Robinson.

Targets: Juju SmithMattrel McGraw.

Update: Ron Robinson has enrolled at UCLA as an EE, leaving Juju Smith out of LB Poly and Mattrel McGraw out of Louisiana as the remaining targets on the board.  McGraw is a teammate of Malachi Dupre and Kenny Young, and has narrowed his list to UCLA and Oregon.  Juju Smith appears to be leaning towards USC, but the staff has been recruiting him hard.  Smith still has 6 schools on his shortlist, and he will be a signing day recruit.

***

We'll keep you updated as the staff continues to recruit for the 2014 class.  Fire away with your thoughts and comments.

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