UCLA Football: Top Recruiting Targets for 2013
Don't look now, but the UCLA Bruins are a force to be reckoned with on the recruiting trail.
When head coach Jim L. Mora and his staff took over towards the end of 2011, they had a mere two months before signing day took place.
During that time, the staff worked like gangbusters—fostering personal relationships and building the foundation to what would turn out to be a very successful recruiting class. It was truly remarkable what they were able to accomplish in such a short period.
Fast forward a few months, and the Bruins are still hot in the recruiting game. UCLA currently has seven commitments for the 2013 recruiting period.
Despite the rather small number of commitments, a slew of high-profile prospects are strongly considering the Bruins.
Let's take a look at the top recruiting targets for 2013...
DB Hatari Byrd
4-star defensive back Hatari Byrd is one of the more versatile defenders in the state of California.
Under the tutelage of famed coach Tony Perry, Byrd is incredibly well versed in the fine arts of both the safety and cornerback positions.
Byrd truly has all of the measurables one looks for in the ideal secondary prospect. He's uber-athletic, he possesses long arms, has great speed and is a good tackler.
He's already a very physically impressive looking prospect, and he should be able to contribute in college early.
Byrd is also high school teammates with two other extremely talented defensive backs—L.J. Moore and Johnny Johnson. UCLA would love to land the Fresno trio and start a pipeline at Central East High School.
Currently, UCLA is a big-time player in the recruitment of Byrd. Other competitors include Cal, Georgia, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.
DT Kenneth Clark
With good defensive tackles at a premium, it's no secret that UCLA is heavily targeting Kenneth Clark of Carter High School in Rialto, Calif.
He is seemingly a great fit as a nose tackle—a position the Bruins need depth at due to their switch to a 3-4 alignment.
Clark is a disruptive force, often living in the opponent's backfield. He's an explosive prospect with the uncanny ability to shed blockers, while utilizing his quickness.
The defensive tackle resides in the talent-laden Inland Empire. Traditionally, this isn't an area that UCLA recruits well.
However, with new assistant coach Steve Broussard on board, a much more concerted recruiting effort is taking place in that part of the Southland.
In addition to the Bruins, Clark has offers from the likes of Nebraska, Miami, Cal, Oregon, Boise State and Washington.
RB Lavon Coleman
Lavon Coleman is the type of bruising, powerful back desperately needed on the current roster.
The Lompoc, Calif. native runs with an absolute anger.
At 5'11", 210 pounds, he's a very durable back. He can move the pile well and always has his legs churning forward for positive yardage.
For a bigger back, he displays good vision and can even get to the perimeter—while flashing above-average speed.
As a junior, Coleman ran for an impressive 2,038 yards to go along with 28 touchdowns.
A host of Pac-12 schools are clamoring for the services of the talented back.
OT Nico Falah
Nico Falah is arguably the top priority on the offensive line for the coaching staff in this recruiting season.
The St. John Bosco product is considered to be one of the top offensive linemen on the entire west coast. He combines great athleticism with flexibility and a solid frame.
Not only that, but he also is quite agile for a player of his size. He consistently can get to the second level and finish off blockers with effectiveness.
The shoring up of the offensive line is of great importance to offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. A commitment from Falah would truly be a wonderful addition to the team.
His potential is through the roof, and with a redshirt year to get bigger and stronger, Falah could be a potential four-year starter.
Falah has offers from such teams as Oklahoma, Oregon, USC, Notre Dame and Cal. His recruitment will definitely be one to watch.
*An interesting note is that Falah's father graduated from UCLA. That should bode well for the Bruins in their pursuit of the talented offensive tackle.
DB Priest Willis
Priest Willis is an absolutely tremendous athlete.
The Arizona native has great size for the cornerback position (6'2", 200 pounds). Not only is he a very fluid football player, but he has great change-of-direction skills when turning his hips and running with receivers.
Versatility is also an impressive characteristic of Willis—as he can play safety in addition to defending out on an island as a corner.
A Willis commitment would be an absolute boon for the Bruins.
One would have to think that Mora's background in coaching defensive backs would serve them well as they recruit this outstanding prospect (Mora was a secondary/defensive backs coach in the NFL for an astounding 15 years).
The product from Marcos De Niza High School is a very highly sought-after recruit. His offers span the country, ranging from coast to coast.
Here are some targets that UCLA would love to land in 2013...
DB L.J. Moore: Central High East Campus; Fresno, Calif.
WR John Ross: Jordan High School; Long Beach, Calif.
RB Pierre Cormier: Madison High School; San Diego, Calif.
WR Juwan Dickey: Lassiter High School; Marietta, Georgia.
DL Jojo Mathis: Upland High School; Upland, Calif.
DL Eddie Vanderdoes: Placer High School; Auburn, Calif.
WR Sebastian LaRue: Santa Monica High School; Santa Monica, Calif.
OLB Myles Jack: Bellevue High School; Bellevue, Washington.
OT Christian Morris: Memphis East High School; Memphis, Tennessee.
DB Tahaan Goodman: Rancho Cucamonga High School; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Here are the current commits in UCLA's 2013 recruiting class...
OT Erik Bunte: Santa Margarita Catholic High School; Santa Margarita, Calif.
OT Sean Dowling: Fallbrook High School; Fallbrook, Calif.
RB Keyante Green: Eagles Landing Christian Academy; McDonough, Georgia.
DE/OLB Deon Hollins Jr.: Fort Bend Marshall High School; Missouri City, Texas.
DB Dashon Hunt: Westlake High School; Westlake Village, Calif.
LS Cole Mazza: Liberty High School; Bakersfield, Calif.
QB Eddie Printz: Lassiter High School; Marietta, Georgia.