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UCLA Football National Signing Day Recap: 27 New Bruins Join the Family

Chip Kelly’s first class ends up ranked #18th in the nation.

UCLA Introduces Chip Kelly Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

The dust appears to be settled on National Signing Day 2018, and overall it was a positive day for the UCLA Bruins, as 27 new commits sent in their letters of intent and are now officially members of the Bruins.

Of course, this is was the first year of the new Early Signing Period, so UCLA entered the day already possessing NLIs from 8 of their recruits, including from some headliners like Bryan Addison, Stephan Blaylock, Bo Calvert, and others. There were a number of recruits for the Bruins that were still planning on announcing today, so there was a bit of mystery throughout the day.

The letters started coming in early. Patrick Jolly was the first commit to send in his NLI at 4:22 AM, followed closely by Matt Alaimo.

At 5 AM, the San Diego Tribune ended up accidentally confirming that Martell Irby, a RB who was committed to Arizona, had indeed flipped to the Bruins, and that he had actually become a silent commit as early as last December after an official visit.

At this point, the NLIs from the East Coast became fast and furious, as in the next 4 hours UCLA received 10 NLIs from all over the country. Also during this period, key target Jarrett Patterson, an offensive lineman, made it official and chose Notre Dame over the Bruins. However, the day was not without good announcements. UCLA was able to flip DB Rayshad Williams from Vanderbilt, and picked up a commitment from Texas DL Otito Ogbonnia an hour later.

By 10 AM, most of the excitement was done for the day, with some bits of mystery still at play. For the pessimistic of fans, many noted that key recruits Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Tyler Manoa, and Chris Murray had not sent in their NLIs yet, despite all three being known to be signing later in the day (or in Murray’s case, originally reported to not be signing today). And on the announcement front, there were still 3 announcements to watch, though UCLA was only a true contender for one of them. Thankfully, that one was the battle that UCLA won, as at 1:35 PM WR Michael Ezeike chose the Bruins over USC. Later, Tyler Manoa and Dorian Thompson-Robinson sent in their NLIs after their previously-announced HS signing ceremonies, as planned.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a UCLA Signing Day without some kind of surprise, and in this case it was a good one, as Chris Murray unexpectedly sent in his NLI late this evening. The last few days of Murray’s recruitment have been a roller-coaster, and while we can’t reveal all of the twist and turns (though we do recommend signing up for one of the recruiting sites like BruinReportOnline or BruinSportsReport if you want more details), suffice to say that Murray’s wishes were honored in the end.

With the dust settled, UCLA has ended up with the #18 recruiting class in the nation according to 247Sports’s Composite Rankings. Not bad for a coaching staff that was behind the 8-ball in terms of timing. Here is a table with all of UCLA’s new commits:


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

We should note that UCLA commit CJ Parks is not expected to sign with the Bruins at this time, and appears to be headed for a JC for at least the next year.

Chip Kelly held a quick little press conference with reporters following the day’s events (h/t to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of InsideSoCal for the video).

There’s a lot to break down from this quick press conference. For one, you have to love Kelly’s repeated discussion of finding the right fit, not just from a scheme and athleticism standpoint, but from an academic standpoint as well. As part of that recruiting philosophy, Kelly uttered what may be one of the finest quotes, in which he stated that “big people beat up little people.” Kelly also talked about recruits who commit to a school, yet end up going on official visits to other schools afterwards, stating that in his mind, those recruits are not officially committed in his mind. Reportedly, Kelly had a rule of pulling scholarships from recruits who would go on OVs after committing to Oregon, so this is something to look at going forward.

Welcome to all the recruits who joined the greatest university in the nation this morning!

Go Bruins!