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Bruin Bites: 2018 UCLA Football Coaching Staff & Recruiting Class Starting to Take Shape

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All-Conference selections were also announced today.

Arizona v Oregon
Don Pellum is UCLA’s new linebackers coach.
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Let’s catch up on the news going on with the football team. But, rather than discussing this year’s team, let’s take a look at how things are shaping up for next year’s team.

The first thing we should look at is the latest info on the coaching staff.

Coaching Staff Update

Reports popped up over the weekend from Aaron Fentress at NBC Sports Northwest and Adam Rittenberg at ESPN, among others, that former Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum will join Chip Kelly’s staff at UCLA as the Bruins’ linebackers coach. Pellum had served on Kelly’s Oregon staff as the Ducks’ linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator under Mark Helfrich.

Today, the hiring of Pellum and Jerry Azzinaro, who reports had previously said would become Kelly’s defensive coordinator, were made official by UCLA.

After reporting last week that defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin would be retained by Kelly, Bruin Report Online has reversed course and now is reporting that Martin will not be retained.

The early days of a new coaching staff are always like that. There are frequently reports that connect an individual to a staff alongside reports that the individual will not be joining the staff or be retained by the new coach. It happens. And, that’s why things can seem to change quite literally overnight.

Recruiting Reset

It’s also not uncommon to see a flurry of changes among the incoming recruiting class. It happens because either the incoming staff decides to go in a different direction with respect to a particular position or the loss of the staff member who had the relationship with the recruit. And, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to know that UCLA has had several recruits decommit since Chip Kelly was hired.

Last week, we reported that defensive tackle Niti Liu had decommitted.

Since then, UCLA has had six more recruits decommit, according to 247Sports.com. Offensive Tackle Chris Bleich from Plymouth, PA was the next after Liu. Running back AJ Carter, who had already decommitted once only to recommit, decommitted again on Friday, despite the fact that DeShaun Foster is expected to be retained. Center Trey Stratford from Allen, TX announced his decommitting on Saturday. Sunday was a particularly busy day for decommitments as three recruits announced their change of heart. Lentivone Lesane, a running back from Hialeah, FL, was joined in decommitting from UCLA by Kolin Demins from Detroit Country Day and safety Cam’ron Jones from Mansfield, TX.

Having caught up on the decommits, let’s also look at where UCLA stands with current commits. Here’s all of UCLA’s current commits as we approach the new Football Early Signing Period.

Ideally and barring any additional changes, these guys are the guys UCLA will want to submit their National Letter of Intent when the Early Signing Period begins on December 20th. The Early Signing Period only lasts 72 hours and, therefore, it ends on December 22nd. Anyone who has not yet signed and who is not an early enrollee will need to wait until the traditional National Signing Day in February.

2018 UCLA Football Recruiting Class

Recruit Name Position Current School Composite Rating NLI Submitted?
Recruit Name Position Current School Composite Rating NLI Submitted?
Bryan Addison ATH Junipero Serra (Gardena, CA) 4-Star Yes
Stephan Blaylock S St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA) 4-Star Yes
Bo Calvert LB Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, CA) 4-Star Yes
Chase Cota WR South Medford (Medford, OR) 4-Star Yes
Kyle Philips WR San Marcos (San Marcos, CA) 4-Star Yes
Kazmeir Allen RB Tulare Union (Tulare, CA) 3-Star Yes
Alec Anderson OT Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) 3-Star Yes
Atonio Mafi DT Junipero Serra (San Mateo, CA) 3-Star Yes
Tyler Manoa DT St. Francis (Mountain View, CA) 4-Star No
Chris Murray OL Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) 4-Star No
Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV) 4-Star No
Elijah Wade DE Arbor View (Las Vegas, NV) 4-Star No
Matt Alaimo TE St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, NJ) 3-Star No
Je'Vari Anderson LB/DB Laney College (Oakland, CA) 3-Star No
Baraka Beckett OL Palisades (Pacific Palisades, CA) 3-Star No
Kenny Churchwell S Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, AZ) 3-Star No
Elisha Guidry DB Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, CA) 3-Star No
Delon Hurt WR Servite (Anaheim, CA) 3-Star No
Patrick Jolly, Jr. ATH Newsome (Lithia, FL) 3-Star No
Steven Mason DE Southwestern College (Chula Vista, CA) 3-Star No
CJ Parks WR Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) 3-Star No
David Priebe TE Midway (Waco, TX) 3-Star No
Tyree Thompson LB LA Valley College (Los Angeles, CA) 3-Star No
Composite Ratings are from 247Sports.com.

So, right now, that’s where the 2018 UCLA recruiting class stands: 12 commits with 4 4-Star recruits and 8 3-Star recruits.

But, it will certainly continue to change over the next few weeks.

All-Conference Honors

Now, that I’m done with our look to the future, let’s discuss the present. Today, the Pac-12 Conference announced the 2017 All-Conference Football team.

Bruin linebacker Kenny Young was UCLA’s only first team selection while Josh Rosen, Kolton Miller and Jaleel Wadood were second team selections.

Senior receiver Darren Andrews, redshirt junior receiver Jordan Lasley, redshirt senior center Scott Quessenberry, senior offensive lineman Najee Toran and senior defensive lineman Jacob Tuioti-Mariner all received honorable mention selections.


Go Bruins!