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UCLA Football Recruiting: Bruins Land a Pair Over Weekend

The Bruins brought in a new OL recruit and some much-needed QB depth.

NCAA Football: Fresno State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA Bruins recruiting has been in a bit of a holding pattern for a week. This isn’t surprising. We just got through with most of the high school All-Star games and football just got out of a dead period this past Friday. Plus, we’re still waiting to see who the final coach that joins the staff will be. So, with all of that said, it was nice to see some development on the recruiting front this weekend.

First, on Sunday, the Bruins picked up a commitment from Pacific Palisades offensive lineman Baraka Beckett. Beckett is an interesting prospect for the Bruins. He’s listed as a composite 2-star prospect by 247Sports, except that is as a defensive lineman. In fact, most schools were recruiting him for that position and he originally committed to Hawaii as a defensive lineman. But recently schools have begun to take a look at him on the opposite side of the ball, with recent offers from Duke and Cal preceding the UCLA offer. He was in Westwood this weekend and was offered during his official visit. He committed after his visit had ended.

Beckett played on both sides of the ball at Pacific Palisades, but most of his film consists of him at the defensive tackle spot. So, because of that, it’s easy to see him as a developmental piece for the offensive line moving forward, rather than a guy who can contribute right away like the incoming Chris Murray. Breaking things down further, because UCLA’s offensive line situation is so dire at the moment, you’d expect the Bruins are planning on bringing in at least a handful of prospects from both high school and junior college, which means they can afford to take a guy like Bennett who will be a developmental prospect.

Looking at the list of offers and from various reports, Beckett is an exceptional student, and, as he noted in his commitment statement, playing for UCLA fulfills “a lifelong dream”, so it’s easy to believe he’ll be an easy Bruin to root for.

Then, today, the Bruins landed a QB commit, as K.J. Carta-Samuels used his graduate transfer option to leave the Washington Huskies and join the Bruins, as first reported by Barton Simmons at CBS Sports.

Carta-Samuels was a 4-star prospect coming out of high school and, thanks to Washington being on the quarter system, Carta-Samuels was able to graduate this Winter quarter and able to enroll at UCLA in time for spring ball. Over his Washington career, Carta-Samuels was 27-47 for 310 yards in limited action, as Jake Browning won the starting QB competition 2 years ago and hasn’t let up since.

For those wondering, this shouldn’t have any effect on incoming quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Chip Kelly has promised an open competition in the fall and Carta-Samuels provides some much-needed QB depth (especially as you can foresee at least one of UCLA’s QB options transferring should DTR win the job) and, if Carta-Samuels wins the QB job, you could potentially redshirt DTR for a year before handing him the reins in 2019, though, at this point I’d place money on DTR being the starting quarterback when the Bruins take the field at the Rose Bowl against Cincinnati to start 2018.

Let’s welcome Baraka Beckett and K.J. Carta-Samuels to Westwood!

Go Bruins!