UCLA Football Recruiting: 5 Bruin Commits Still on the Fence
National signing day is less than a week away, and college football coaches across the country are hitting the recruiting trail hard with the finish line in plain sight.
Jim Mora and the rest of the UCLA coaches have been as active as any staff this cycle, making waves with big-time commitments from some of the nation's best players.
But as great as rankings are, what really matters are results.
With the Feb. 6 deadline fast approaching, there are still a number of big fish left to be hooked, and a handful of Bruin commits waiting to be reeled in.
UCLA could find itself with a top-five class on Wednesday if Mora can land the likes of Eddie Vanderdoes, Kylie Fitts, Isaac Savaiinaea and Asiantii Woulard. But at the same time, the Bruins' ranking could plummet if a few key verbals decide to take their talents elsewhere.
And as we have learned so many times with prep athletes, it ain't over until every last Letter of Intent is signed, sealed and delivered.
Here's a look at five current commits that UCLA needs to focus on retaining, and what other programs could be in the mix to force them to flip.
DE/LB Deon Hollins Jr.
The highest rated prospect that's considering flipping from the Bruins is 4-star defender Deon Hollins Jr., a hybrid defensive end and outside linebacker.
At 6'2" and 220 pounds, Hollins has the size necessary to step into a serious role right away, especially as an explosive pass-rusher off the edge.
Hollins has been committed to UCLA since March 2012, but 247Sports has him listed as a "soft verbal," indicating his potential to make a move in the next five days. In addition to visiting the Westwood campus in mid-January, Hollins took officials to Utah on Jan. 11 and Notre Dame just last week (according to 247Sports' recruiting timeline).
In an article by Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN Insider, Hollins expressed his satisfaction with his trip to Salt Lake City, saying this of his stay with the Utes:
I liked it a whole lot. It exceeded my expectations just as a place in general. There's not a whole lot of places that I would actually consider going to college. I'm not taking a visit just to take one. But I really think Utah showed me a whole lot and I really liked the visit.
And if the competition from the Utes wasn't enough, Hollins was reportedly "blown away" on his Notre Dame official (according to 247Sports' page for Notre Dame recruiting).
Hollins' praise of the Irish was far greater than that of the Utes, as the Semper Fi All-American from Missouri City, Texas gushed about his trip to South Bend.
The most impressive thing is just the feel of the place. I feel that the enthusiasm exudes from everyone from the coaching staff to even casual fans. The whole vibe of the place was great.
Unless Mora and Co. can find a way to lock down Hollins' pledge, the Bruins could miss out on an immediate impact player when all is said and done next week.
OT Kenny Lacy
Another recruit that could jump ship before Feb. 6 is offensive tackle Kenny Lacy, a 4-star lineman who has been committed to UCLA since September.
The Bruins have a monstrous O-line class in 2013, currently boasting seven elite commits in the offensive trenches. But if Lacy decides on a different destination, UCLA will be without one of the best of the bunch.
Coming out Phoenix's Mountain Pointe, Lacy is a physical specimen with dominate run-blocking skills and a big body (6'5", 260 pounds). Because the Bruins have solid depth at the tackle position, Lacy would likely be in for a redshirt year, but his commitment is still huge.
Lacy originally pledged to UCLA back in September after the Bruins knocked off Nebraska (the Cornhuskers were also in the mix for his services), but now his recruitment is somewhat muddled.
After taking an official visit to hometown Arizona State on Jan. 11, Lacy made the trip to SEC country to check out the Arkansas Razorbacks on Jan. 25 (according to 247Sports' recruiting timeline).
And according to a report from WholeHogSports, the visit to Fayetteville gave Lacy plenty to consider. Lacy was quoted saying the following about his trip to UA.
It was some place I felt comfortable. I felt like I could fit in here. It gave me something to think about. It was way better than I thought it would be. I was very satisifed.
At this point, there is no indication that Lacy will back off the Bruins, but Mora and Co. can't afford to make assumptions. In fact, offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone was reportedly in Arizona for an in-house visit with Lacy on Thursday. If everything goes according to plan, Lacy will stick with UCLA and spurn the Sun Devils and Hogs.
OT Christian Morris
Unfortunately for Mora and Co., Lacy isn't the only highly-touted offensive line commit pondering other options, as 4-star OT Christian Morris has reportedly been rethinking his recruitment.
Morris, a 6'6", 293-pound U.S. Army All-American out of Memphis, originally committed to UCLA in July but has since taken officials to a number of schools.
In addition to the Bruins, Morris has visited Nebraska (Sep. 29), Oklahoma (Dec. 7) and local favorite Tennessee (Jan. 11). Morris is also expected to head down to Oxford, Miss. this weekend to hear what Ole Miss and head coach Hugh Freeze has to offer.
According to a report from Dave Hooker of ESPN Insider, Morris has narrowed his choices to UCLA and Tennessee, but the visit with the Rebels could shake things up.
Ultimately, Morris seems likely to end up in Westwood, but there have been much crazier surprises on national signing day. If Morris decides to stay home and be a Volunteer, the Bruins will be without a future starter on the O-line.
LB/RB Myles Jack
Another current Bruin commit with perhaps the biggest chance to change his mind is 4-star prospect Myles Jack, a highly-rated footballer out of national powerhouse Bellevue (Wash.).
Jack is a versatile player who could contribute on offense as a running back or on defense as a linebacker, but the expectation is that he will move to OLB in college. The 6'2", 230-pound athlete has massive upside and an impressive frame with plenty of room to fill out, so it's no wonder that programs across the country have taken notice.
Since committing to UCLA back in June, Jack has been heavily recruited by a myriad of teams, including 11 of the Pac-12 member institutions. Recently, Jack took official visits to hometown Washington (Jan. 25) and Arizona State (Jan. 11), according to 247Sports' recruiting timeline.
Additionally, Jack had reportedly been considering taking last-minute visits to Georgia and Florida State, but those plans fell through in the end. The news comes by way of a tweet from SBNation's recruiting profile.
If the Bruins can manage to hold onto Jack, it would be a major get from right under Steve Sarkisian's nose in Seattle.
LB Cameron Judge
The fifth and final UCLA commit who's having second thoughts is outside linebacker Cameron Judge, a 6'2", 200-pound athlete out of Oaks Christian (Calif.).
Judge has been committed to the Bruins since June, but recent attention from Arizona State, as well as a loaded UCLA LB class, may have him reconsidering.
According to a tweet from DevilsDigest, Judge had ASU coaches in Thousand Oaks for an in-house visit on Friday.
It's also important to note how fellow LB Myles Jack could affect Judge's ruling. As SBNation posits, Jack's decision to cancel his trips to UGA and FSU could spell trouble for Judge, as the 3-star might get "squeezed out."
If the Devils do find a way to lure Judge away from Westwood, UCLA will need to hone in on Isaac Savaiinaea to shore up the class. But when push comes to shove, Judge's recruitment is not make-or-break for the Bruins.