UCLA Football: Recruiting Update
Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
In the first year of the Jim Mora regime, it's quite apparent that Mora and his staff enjoy recruiting.
The level of effectiveness isn't really a huge shock, considering that the staff has over 80 years of collective NFL experience, and due to the fact that Mora compiled a group that's equipped with youth, energy and passion.
The UCLA Bruins have 17 public commitments up to this point and are in prime position to add more talented prospects as signing day nears. It's a well-rounded class with a heavy concentration of commitments on the offensive line.
This article will provide updates on recent commitments, possible commitments and who the Bruins are targeting.
Here is a recruiting update for the UCLA Bruins:
Success in the Southland
Crenshaw's Mossi Johnson
Interestingly enough, both prospects have some similarities. For one, both Brown and Johnson come from traditionally great high school programs. Long Beach Poly and Crenshaw churn out D1 prospects every year, and many of those athletes go on to have success at the next level.
Also, both weren't highly recruited. Brown chose the Bruins over offers from Colorado and Colorado State, while Johnson had an offer from UNLV.
At 6'0" 195-pounds, Brown is slated to play a hybrid safety/linebacker role that's currently assumed by safety Stan McKay (ironically, also a Long Beach Poly alum). Brown has the athleticism to cover in space, but also has the physicality to play in the box and make tackles near the line of scrimmage.
Johnson is a versatile athlete with the capabilities of playing on either side of the ball. He's a very fluid runner, and has a penchant for making big plays. He'll enter Westwood as an athlete, and it's still a question as to what side of the ball he'll play on.
Regardless, it's curious as to why Johnson hasn't gotten more recognition. At this point, he could be the most underrated prospect currently committed to UCLA.
Arizona Is a Targeted State
Safety Priest Willis is arguably UCLA's top target
UCLA is making a concerted effort to hit the Grand Canyon State hard—and it has paid dividends thus far.
4-star tackle Kenny Lacy was the first Arizona native to join the Bruins, and he seems very strong in his commitment (despite some scheduled official visits to other schools). Lacy has an impressive offer list, which includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Cal, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, West Virginia and others.
Very recently, UCLA landed a pledge from another Arizona product, running back/wide receiver Jalen Ortiz.
The Peoria, Ariz. native has great quickness and agility, and looks like a perfect fit at the F-back position in Noel Mazzone's offense. Ortiz chose the Bruins over offers from Arkansas, Boise State, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona and Arizona State.
Willis is a fantastic athlete. He has the ability to play both safety and cornerback. With UCLA graduating three starters in the secondary, it's quite feasible that Willis could come to Westwood and slot in at one of the openings.
At this point, UCLA is a big player for Willis' services.
He has connected well with Mora, and Mora's long history of coaching defensive backs in the NFL is surely a point of emphasis in regards to Willis' recruitment.
It's no secret that the Bruins lack a big play receiver with speed. Allen brings speed, and then more speed. He has a top mark of 10.49 in the 100 meter dash. As a hurdler, he's got a top mark of 13.36 in the 110 meters.
To show how fast that is,13.30 is the national record.
Allen recently took an official visit to UCLA, and it's safe to say that the Bruins are in the driver's seat right now.
It also helps out the Bruins considerably that Olympian Maurice Greene is the new sprinters' coach. Allen also plans to run track in college, and learning under the tutelage of a gold medalist is something that surely appeals to the Brophy Prep prospect.
The OL Is a Huge Point of Emphasis
Scott Quessenberry is a recent verbal commitment
The offensive line has been an embattled unit for seemingly the past decade when it comes to UCLA football.
In order to remedy the problematic situation, Mora hired offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. Not only does Klemm boast three Super Bowl rings from his days with the New England Patriots, but he's a young, charismatic guy that relates incredibly well to recruits. It's no wonder that he's considered to be one of the top recruiters in the entire nation.
With the lack of depth and talent on the offensive line, Klemm needed to hit the recruiting trails hard. UCLA has seven offensive linemen committed—and are still trying to lure more into the fold.
The most recent commitment to the offensive line was center Scott Quessenberry from La Costa Canyon High School in Encinitas, Calif.
Quessenberry is regarded as one of the top center prospects in the country. He's very athletic, and is great at getting to the second level. In terms of effectiveness, he could be best in a zone blocking scheme. He put on a great performance at 'The Opening' this summer—he had the highest SPARQ rating of any offensive lineman. Quessenberry is also slated to play in the famed Under Armor All-American game.
UCLA plans to have Quessenberry start out at center, although he's comfortable at guard as well. He chose the Bruins over offers from Cal, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oregon and Wisconsin, among others.
Another under-the-radar addition for the Bruins comes from Rancho Verde offensive lineman Poasi Moala. The former Washington commitment has perhaps the most upside of any lineman currently committed.
At 6'5" 275-pounds, he has not an ounce of fat on his body. He combines pure athleticism with a nasty disposition out on the field. While a bit raw and undersized, there's no question that the future guard can be a good one.
Klemm has truly been scouring the nation for talent to bring to Westwood. Of the seven commitments, five are from California, one is from Tennessee and one is from Arizona.
An Addition to the Special Teams' Tradition
Florida punter Sean Covington just committed this week
UCLA has always had a strong tradition of kickers/punters on the collegiate level, and in the professional ranks.
Sean Covington, UCLA's most recent commitment, is looking to follow the trend.
The punter/place kicker from St. Petersburg, Fla. will play in the Under Armour All-American game, and is considered by one publication to be the top punter in the nation.
With fellow lefty punter Jeff Locke graduating this year, Covington will step in right away and handle the punting and kickoff duties for the Bruins.
Targets Left on the Board
OL Caleb Benenoch is a huge target