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UCLA Football Recruiting Reset: Pre Signing Day, Part 1

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With just a few weeks to go before Signing Day, we take a look at the current state of UCLA recruiting on the offensive side of the ball.

Harry How/Getty Images

Quarterback

Commits: Matt Lynch (3*),  Devon Modster (4*)

Targets:  Nick Starkel (3*).

Update: The Mazzones have recruited quarterbacks, however, they couldn't keep them at that position quickly converting them to WR (Devin Fuller, Aaron Sharp). Big recruit Asiantii Woulard transferred out after losing the battle with Rosen. Jerry Neuhisel is probably the only QB on the roster who can actually compete at the the D1 level. But he will likely transfer and use his last year of eligibility elsewhere as a graduate transfer (I recommend it Jerry, go play, fight, win!).

Three-start QB Matt Lynch is a project with good size, 6'5" (185 lbs.), who will redshirt, learn, and fight for playing time after Rosen leaves for the NFL. Recently, previous Arizona commit and four-start QB Devon Modster, 6'2" (215 lbs.), is showing interest in UCLA [UPDATE: BOOM! JUST ANNOUNCED!]. He's the 5th best QB in the West and would be excellent for depth and to push Rosen in practice. Here's the blurb on Modster from Scout:

He shows off a strong, down field arm and can put the ball in tight windows. He shows poise in the pocket and has an even keel mentality and won't be easily rattled. He's also a plus athlete who has very good mobility in the pocket, the strength to shrug off would be tacklers and the ability to run for positive yards

Nick Starkel (3*, 6'3", 186 lbs.) is the 7th best QB out west, is from Texas, and has shown medium interest in the Bruins. He is likely to sign elsewhere especially if Modster commits to the Bruins as Lynch is already on board.

This is a definite position of need for depth so signing an additional QB, or two, is desirable.

Running/Full Back

Commits:  Jalen Starks (3*) [Update--added!].

Targets:  None.

Update: Stud RB Paul Perkins is gone to the NFL but true junior Nate Starks is ready to be the main guy, though the youth behind him is phenomenal. Last year's class saw the #1 running back, Soso Jamabo and the #1 running back in CA, Bolu Olorunfunmi. Starks does it all well, Jamabo is flashy, and Olorunfunmi will bulldoze right over you.

Also, let's not forget the White Mamba--Steven Manfro. I believe he was given an extra year (medical redshirt) so he could be back for that slot, change of pace back that he was so effective at in his redshirt freshman year. I hope he can stay healthy and go out in a good note.

[UPDATE--added Fullback Jalen Starks]

Thanks to the commenters below! I can't believe I forgot Jalen Starks! Jalen is a physical specimen at 6'1" weighing 240 lbs. and is ranked the #1 Fullback in California and the entire West region and #2 overall nationally. Sadly, Jalen has been dismissed from his HS team, Crespi, [HT wavingbruin, derhessian] with no concrete info as to the reason. Doesn't seem to be any sort of trouble with the law but rather a difference of opinion with the coach? Hopefully, he can mature under the tutelage of Mora, Polamalu, and Co. at UCLA.

With Kennedy Polamalu still coaching the RBs, expect this group to continue to produce.

Wide Reciever

Commits: Theo Howard (4*); Dymond Lee (4*); Demetric Felton (4*)

Targets: Quartney Davis (4*); Damian Alloway (4*); Steffon McKnight (4*); Adewale Omotosho (4*)

Update: We are losing the experienced and productive Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte (I'm listing him here and not as a TE) so there's room for the youth to step up and boy is the roster loaded with receiving talent: Eldrige Massington, Alex Van Dyke, Austin Roberts, Stephen Johnson, Mossi Johnson, Kenneth Walker III, Aaron Sharp, Darren Andrews, and Jordan Lasley will all compete for playing time next year.

Losing Ryan Newsom last year at the last second hurt since he is that explosive athlete we've been missing, not to mention Cordell Broadus' last minute decision to quit football. Well, Theo Howard promises to be that player:

Howard may have more upside than any other WR out West. He's definitely the fastest [editor's note: 4.38!!! 40 time] and is one of the most explosive pass catchers in the nation. He's far from just a burner however, Howard is very polished, a natural pass catcher and smooth, precise route runner. He understands how to get open and then is very good after the catch. He could be a special player

Lee is a perfect example of the type of receiver that UCLA has brought in consistently over the past few seasons; big and strong with good straight away speed. Felton (shy of 5'9"), on the other hand, is more of a slot/running back with good top end speed that's dangerous if left with some room.

With the three current commits and the depth on hand all quite young, we don't need to sign any more players unless it's elite talent.

Tight End

Commits: Jordan Wilson (3*)

Targets: Devin Asiasi (4*)

Update: Well, this is new. We haven't had a real tight end since Joseph Fauria left the program in 2012. I decided to add this category back (and didn't list anyone as a "Y") with Kennedy Polamalu holding the reigns for the offense and the addition of a TE coach, Rip Scherer. Currently, only Colby Cyburt, RSr. 6'3" 250 lbs., is listed at TE but we all know Nate Iese, RSr. 6'3" 250 lbs., is a perfect fit for the position even though he is listed as a fullback. Hopefully, he can go out with a bang in his last year of eligibility.

Wilson is a big fella, 6'5" 210 lbs., with strong hands. Though he needs to improve his strength for blocking he is really athletic and will be a mismatch when catching the ball.

Asiasi is a big recruit, 6'4" 265 lbs. and ranked as the #1 TE in the West and top #100 overall player, with many pursuers, so it will be a big coup if he commits to the Bruins. His commitment would provide tangible proof that the Bruin offense will be shifting emphasis in the future (how much, how quickly though will not be immediately known) and, also, of the formidable recruiting force of the Polamalu-Tuiasosopo tandem.

Offensive Line

Commits:  G Mike Alves (3*); T Alex Akingbulu (3*).

Targets:  G Stewart Reese (4*); G Nahje Flowers (3*).

Update: AHMB's words last year still ring true:

There's no way of sugar coating the results; the offensive line has not gotten the job done over the past two seasons, specifically in pass protection.  In fairness, the line has suffered some unfortunate injuries and departures, but bringing in a talented class is an absolute must this season.  Klemm has shown to be capable in that regard.

Sadly, Fred Ulu-Perry is gone from a good class last year and Alex Redmond, Jake Brendle, and Caleb Benenoch have either graduated or decided to take their chances with the NFL draft.

Still, the depth is there for next year: Scott Quessenberry, Conor McDermott, Zach Bateman, Kolton Miller, Andre James, Kenny Lacy, John Lopez, Tevita Halalilo, Josh Wariboko-Alali, Christian Garcia, Poasi Moala, and Jesus Moreno. The JUCO tackle Bateman is massive, 6'7 320 lbs., that will probably step in and play next season.

Alves, 6'5" and 318 lbs., is the #2 OG in CA and is from San Diego. Alves has strong hands and is difficult to move, but needs to work on his footwork and athleticism. Solid pickup that could see playing time if necessary.

Akingbulu, 6' 5.5" and 250 lbs., is the #6 OT in CA from Harbor City. Akingbulu has a solid frame to bulk up but will need a redshirt year. He's super athletic which is ideal for a tackle.

Reese is a long-shot from Florida while Flowers is an LA kid. Since Klemm has brought in big OL classes, we don't need a big one this year.

Athlete

Commits: Darian Owens (4*).

Targets: Jack Jones (5*); Tre Polamalu (2*)

Update: Jones is a freakishly athletic kid with elite body control who can play many positions. He's highly recruited so I'm not sure we have much of a shot but who knows. He is so fast and can be another explosive WR, or a freak in the secondary, either way he's elite.

Darian Owens, 5'11" 200, runs a 4.60 40-time that is likely to play safety. He's very aggressive and athletic but needs to work on his hand technique (as a safety). He's also a very good WR but we are loaded there so he'll be on the defensive side of the ball.

Finally, yes, you see the right--that's coach Kennedy Polamalu's son! He recently earned a scholarship to UCLA but he probably would walk-on to make room for others if necessary. Tre is 6'0" and 175 and will most likely redshirt and be a scout/special teams player.

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Fire away with your thoughts, and be sure to check back in tomorrow for a look at the defensive side of the ball.

Go Bruins!