UCLA Football Recruiting: Updates on 2013 Commits and Targets

Jeff Poirier@@JJPoirCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2013

UCLA Football Recruiting: Updates on 2013 Commits and Targets

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    As the UCLA Bruins attempt to shake off an embarrassing Holiday Bowl effort against Baylor, Jim Mora and the coaching staff will have to stay focused on the recruiting trail.

    It's the homestretch of the 2013 recruiting cycle, as national signing day is just over a month away (Wednesday, Feb. 6). UCLA has a lot of work left to do to round out its class, and it could be in the running for a top-10 haul by the end of the race.

    The Bruins are currently ranked No. 17 nationally, but still have a chance with a number of elite recruits as we enter the January grind.

    Read on for a look at the UCLA recruiting landscape, complete with remaining recruiting targets, commitment updates and analysis.

    Update: The article was updated on Jan. 9 after multiple commitments were made involving prospects considering UCLA.

    Note: All recruitment information and statistics are courtesy of 247Sports, and all player ratings are based off the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Latest News

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    UpdatesJoe Mathis chooses Washington over UCLA on Jan. 5, Terrell Newby chooses Nebraska over UCLA on Jan. 9

    The loss of tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo to his alma mater, the University of Washington, figures to have a major impact on the recruiting trail.

    Tui will serve as the quarterbacks coach for the Huskies, and he will pose a huge threat to land the top offensive talent in the west.


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    Targets: None

    Already Committed: None

    Analysis: Because of the logjam of talent in UCLA's depth chart at signal-caller, there haven't been very many QB recruits on the Bruins' radar in this cycle.

    There was an early reported recruitment of Hayden Rettig, but his commitment to LSU is deemed solid and the interest has waned (according to 247Sports).

    All in all, the UCLA offense looks to be in good hands for years with Brett Hundley entering his second year as a starter, and highly-touted 2012 recruits Devin Fuller and T.J. Millweard waiting in the wings.

Running Back

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    Targets: Terrell Newby. 4-star RB, 5'10", 185 pounds

    2012 Stats: 2,305 rushing yards, 45 TDs, 18 rec, 176 receiving yards

    Update: Newby chooses Nebraska over UCLA on Jan. 9


    Already Committed: Craig Lee: 4-star RB, 6'0", 190 pounds


    Analysis: With the impending graduation of Johnathan Franklin and another serious knee injury for Damien Thigpen, the RB position has become an area of need for UCLA.

    The only 2013 back currently committed to play for the Bruins is Craig Lee, a 4-star prospect out of Redlands. Lee has been touted as a speedster with great field vision and room for growth. After working with strength coach Sal Alosi, Lee could develop into a punishing every-down rusher.

    The only other big target on UCLA's radar at RB was Terrell Newby, a versatile scat back who could have lifted the Bruins' current class from good to great. Newby chose to commit to Bo Pelini and the Nebraska Cornhuskers instead of the in-state Bruins on Jan. 9.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

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    Targets: Devon Allen: 4-star WR, 6'1", 187 pounds, 4.48 40

    All-Star Game: Semper Fidelis, Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Florida State

    Siale Fakailoatonga: 3-star TE, 6'4", 210 pounds

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: BYU, Utah

    Already Committed: Eldridge Massington: 4-star WR, 6'3", 203 pounds

    Thomas Duarte: 4-star TE, 6'4", 225 pounds

    All-Star Game: Semper Fidelis, Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

    Darren Andrews: 3-star WR, 5'10", 165 pounds

    Ammon Barker: 2-star WR, 6'3", 204 pounds

    Analysis: With the commitment of Thomas Duarte at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, UCLA's 2013 class of pass-catchers has taken a major step forward.

    At 6'4" and 225 pounds, the 4-star TE should provide a nice option to replace Big Joe Fauria as the Bruins' go-to in the red zone. Alongside 4-star wideout Eldridge Massington, Duarte should be a welcome addition to Brett Hundley's arsenal.

    As far as remaining targets, UCLA looks to have a great chance with Devon Allen, a talented WR out of Phoenix's Brophy Prep. If Jim Mora can manage to sway the 6'1" track star to choose Westwood, the Bruins' depth out wide will be better than it has in years. 

Offensive Line

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    Targets: None


    Already Committed: Alex Redmond: 4-star OG, 6'5", 290 pounds

    Scott Quessenberry: 3-star C, 6'4", 265 pounds

    All-Star Game: Under Armour, Jan. 4, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    John Lopez: 3-star OL, 6'6", 320 pounds

    All-Star Game: Semper Fidelis, Jan. 4, 3 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

    Christian Morris: 4-star OT, 6'6", 285 pounds

    All-Star Game: U.S. Army, Jan. 5, 1 p.m. ET (NBC)

    Caleb Benenoch: 4-star OG, 6'5", 321 pounds

    Kenny Lacy: 4-star OT, 6'5", 270 pounds

    Poasi Moala: 3-star OT, 6'5", 272 pounds


    Analysis: The obvious emphasis for the Bruins in the 2013 recruiting cycle was O-line depth, a glaring deficiency that Mora and Co. greatly remedied. In the Holiday Bowl, UCLA had a complete meltdown after a few injuries along the line, but that shouldn't be as concerning going forward.

    The Bruins currently boast seven commitments in the offensive trenches, including four 4-star prospects. Many of these highly-touted youngsters will take redshirt years, especially considering the already youthful starting O-line from 2012.

    But in the long-term picture, which likely includes two more seasons with Hundley under center, there is great reason for optimism for UCLA's offensive line.

Defensive Line

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    Targets: Eddie Vanderdoes: 5-star DT, 6'2.5", 203 pounds

    2012 Stats: 72 tackles, nine sacks, two FF, one fumble recovery

    All-Star Game: U.S. Army, Jan. 5, 1 p.m. ET (NBC)

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: USC, Notre Dame, Washington, Alabama

    Joe Mathis: 4-star DE, 6'2.5", 250 pounds, 4.69 40

    Update: Mathis chooses Washington over UCLA on Jan. 5


    Already Committed: Deon Hollins: 4-star DE, 6'1.5", 225 pounds

    All-Star Game: Semper Fidelis, Jan. 4, 3 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

    Kenneth Clark: 4-star DT, 6'2", 280 pounds


    Analysis: Three-year starting DE and All-Pac-12 selection Datone Jones has exhausted his NCAA eligibility and will graduate from UCLA this year.

    The loss of Jones could prove troublesome, but the return of Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Ellis McCarthy should provide the unit enough experience in 2013.

    Nonetheless, recruiting the defensive line is hugely important for the Bruins and the new brand of defense being born in Westwood. So far, UCLA has two commitments for the D-line in DE Deon Hollins, Jr. and DT Kenneth Clark.

    Both Hollins and Clark are 4-star prospects with good size, though Hollins has the athleticism and versatility to play linebacker as well. Clark's pledge to the Bruins is reportedly solid, but Hollins' confidence could be wavering (according to 247Sports).

    If Hollins flips to another school, UCLA will need to hone in on Eddie Vanderdoes, a former USC verbal that has since reopened his recruitment. After missing out on Joe Mathis, the Bruins could really use Vanderdoes' commitment on the D-line.


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    Targets: Isaac Savaiinaea, 4-star ILB, 6'3", 230 pounds, 4.66 40

    All-Star Game: Under Armour, Jan. 4, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Texas A&M, Stanford


    Already Committed: Myles Jack: 4-star ILB, 6'2", 218 pounds

    All-Star Game: U.S. Army, Jan. 5, 1 p.m. ET (NBC)

    Cameron Judge: 3-star OLB, 6'2", 200 pounds

    Jayon Brown: 3-star OLB, 6'1", 200 pounds


    Analysis: If there is one defensive unit that is set both talent- and depth-wise, it's the UCLA linebacker corps.

    The recent announcement that Anthony Barr will return to Westwood in 2013, along with the continued development of Jordan Zumwalt and Eric Kendricks, gives the Bruins plenty of experience and grit.

    And if that weren't enough to buy into UCLA's defensive hype, the 2013 class of LBs should provide the extra kick.

    The Bruins already have three LBs committed, including 4-star inside 'backer Myles Jack, a powerful and athletic athlete out of national powerhouse Bellevue (Washington).

    But the most important news will be the decision of 4-star, Under Armour All-American Isaac Savaiinaea. The 6'3", 230-pound prospect from the Punahou School in Honolulu has the Bruins and Texas A&M as his finalists.

    Savaiinaea is expected to announce his intent on national signing day, and he would be a major get for Jim Mora and the UCLA defense.

Defensive Backs

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    Targets: Priest Willis: 4-star CB, 6'2", 200 pounds

    All-Star Game: Under Armour, Jan. 4, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: LSU, Virginia, Florida State, Nebraska, ASU, Notre Dame

    Tahaan Goodman: 4-star S, 6'3", 195 pounds, 4.50 40

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: USC, LSU, Washington

    All-Star Game: U.S. Army, Jan. 5, 1 p.m. ET (NBC)

    John Johnson: 4-star CB, 5'10", 175 pounds

    All-Star Game: Semper Fidelis, Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Stanford

    Jermaine Kelly: 4-star CB, 6'1", 180 pounds

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Boise State


    Already Committed: Jalen Ortiz: 3-star CB, 5'10", 175 pounds

    Mossi Johnson: 3-star DB, 6'1", 170 pounds (247Sports)


    Analysis: Three of the four starters from UCLA's 2012 defensive backfield are set to graduate, opening up some massive holes in the Bruins' depth chart.

    Jim Mora has already secured two DB commits in 3-star CB Jalen Ortiz and 3-star athlete Mossi Johnson, but there are still a few prized recruits left on the board.

    At the top of that list are safeties Priest Willis and Tahaan Goodman, two of the Bruins' biggest targets left for the 2013 class.

    With the expected emergence of CBs Ishmael Adams and Marcus Rios next year, the sidelines should be locked down. But the loss of Andrew Abbott will hit the safety position hard, and the commitment of Willis or Goodman could go a long way to repair it.

    Also keep an eye on 4-star CB John Johnson, a blue-chip recruit that has UCLA pegged as a finalist for his rapidly approaching commitment (according to 247Sports).

Special Teams

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    Targets: None

    Already Committed: Sean Covington: 2-star P, 6'2", 195 pounds

    All-Star Game: Under Armour, Jan. 4, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)


    Analysis: Don't be misled by Sean Covington's 2-star rating, as the oversized punter is the highest-rated kicking prospect in the 2013 class.

    Covington handled the starting kicking and punting duties in high school, and he earned himself a trip to the Under Armour All-American Game for his performance.

    With the graduation of precision punter Jeff Locke, UCLA will need Covington to step in and handle the field-position battle immediately. Rising sophomore K Ka'imi Fairbairn is developing a nice level of consistency booting field goals, so Covington will probably not compete for placekicking.

    Other than Covington's long-standing commitment, there are no noteworthy special teams targets for the Bruins.