UCLA Football Recruiting: 5 Most Important Commits of 2013
With signing day coming to a close, the UCLA Bruins have signed a stellar 2013 recruiting class.
Ranked in the top five nationally by Scout, the Bruins have loaded up on prospects from all across the nation.
In addition, the staff has done a great job at accounting for almost every single position on the field. Improving team depth, while also injecting the roster with a talent infusion was a big goal during this recruiting cycle.
It seems as if head coach Jim Mora was successful with his aspiration.
Here's a look at the five most important commitments of 2013 for the UCLA Bruins.
Caleb Benenoch is a man amongst boys on the high school ranks.
At 6'6" 325 pounds, he's already equipped with a physique that would make most college linemen jealous.
UCLA did a tremendous job with Benenoch. Led by offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, the Bruins beat out premier programs from all across the country for the talented Katy, Texas native.
Benenoch is fully capable of playing at both guard and tackle, although he's slated to come in as a guard for the Bruins. He's got very nimble feet for a man his size, and is surprisingly good at accelerating to the second level in order to get a block.
From a power standpoint, he's incredibly strong. A true mauler in the run game, Benenoch plays with a downright nasty disposition. Most impressive could be his finishing ability on blocks.
UCLA severely lacks depth on the interior of its offensive line. Longtime starter Jeff Baca has recently graduated, and it's possible that stalwart Xavier Su'a-Filo could be moved to tackle.
With an absence of depth and overall talent, the situation sets up very nicely for Benenoch to see time next season—potentially even earning a starting position at guard.
With UCLA losing three members of its starting secondary this past season to graduation, there's playing time to be had.
Tahaan Goodman looks like a good bet to snatch up one of those vacant spots in the secondary.
The talented safety from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is one of the most complete safeties in the entire nation. He's a very rangy prospect with good cover ability. Goodman is very adept at reading the field and making the requisite play.
Although he needs to put on some weight, he's not afraid to come up and lay the boom.
Getting a player of Goodman's caliber—especially at a position of need—is significant. At worst, Goodman will see time in a reserve role and on special teams.
Best case scenario has Goodman challenging for a starting spot right away.
Myles Jack is perhaps one of the most dynamic athletes in UCLA's entire class.
The Bellevue, Wash., native starred at both tailback and linebacker for his high school squad. He made plays all over the field, and was bar none the most impressive player not named Max Browne to come out of the state of Washington this season.
Jack plays like a heat-seeking missile out on the field. His pass-rushing ability off the edge is special, and he plays the game with tremendous physicality.
With UCLA losing Damien Holmes to graduation, a starting spot at outside 'backer is up for grabs.
Considering Jack's raw ability as a football player, he should contend for the position right away.
The Bruins fended off heavy interest from Washington, Oregon, Florida State and Georgia in order to sign the Bellevue star. Jack, along with Cameron Judge, Deon Hollins and Isaac Savaiinaea, make up a very impressive quartet of linebacker signees.
The secondary was one of UCLA's greatest needs.
Signing Goodman, Johnny Johnson and Tyler Foreman went a long way in solidifying a unit for the future that could be described currently as inexperienced and injury-prone.
However, Priest Willis could the most talented of the bunch.
The Tempe, Ariz., native has the ability to play both as a cornerback or as a safety. He's got great hips from the standpoint of turning and running coverage, has supreme ball skills and is a very intuitive football player.
His versatility will offer head coach Jim Mora great flexibility. Depending on how the depth chart shakes out, Willis could find himself at either position (although corner seems more likely at this point).
Willis set off a firestorm the day before signing day. It was reported that the 5-star prospect would not sign on national signing day and that he was possibly considering LSU and the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils.
However, his stepfather feverishly refuted those claims—stating this his wife (Priest's mother) was out of town and that they'd sign the letter of intent when she returns to town on the weekend.
While Willis isn't technically a Bruin yet, he should officially be by the weekend.
With Brett Hundley firmly entrenched in the quarterback position, Winter Park, Fla., quarterback Asiantii Woulard might not see the field for a couple of years.
Nevertheless, garnering Woulard's signature on signing day is a massive coup for the Bruins.
Quite astoundingly, the Bruins only begun to recruit the Elite 11 MVP a little over a month ago. For a team on the opposite coast to land a player of Woulard's ability is quite a testament to the UCLA staff's ability to recruit and sell the program.
Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has to like what he's got to work with in regards to Woulard. He's got a very strong arm, good mobility and excellent leadership skills.
The scary thing for opponents is that Woulard's only played the position for two seasons. With Mazzone's ability to develop quarterbacks, Bruin fans have to like the future at the position after Hundley eventually departs.
With Hundley manning the position currently, the situation sets up very nicely for Woulard. He'll be able to sit behind Hundley and become more polished as a signal-caller.
UCLA doesn't have any depth behind Hundley, and it appears as if Woulard has a good shot at becoming the second-string quarterback.
After striking out on local prospects Troy Williams and Hayden Rettig, it was imperative that the Bruins brought in a quarterback. By signing Woulard, they may have gotten a quarterback that fits Mazzone's system better than the aforementioned duo.
Woulard is rated as the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation by ESPN.
As mentioned in the previous slide, both Johnny Johnson and Tyler Foreman should be able to come in and contribute in the secondary.
On the offensive line, realistically all of the seven commitments could impact a shallow two-deep depth chart.
Of the commitments not named Benenoch, it seems as if Christian Morris and Alex Redmond have a chance to play next year.
Punter Sean Covington looks like a lock to take over for the departed Jeff Locke, and the duo of Eldridge Massington and Thomas Duarte could crack the receiving corps.
On the defensive line, both Kylie Fitts and Kenneth Clark could offer depth to a senior-laden defensive line next season.
Note: Tailback Craig Lee would have been mentioned as a prominent member of this piece. However, it was announced that he would not sign with UCLA on signing day.
He has to square away academic work before enrolling in Westwood. Similar to Jeremy Castro from a year ago, he could delay his enrollment until he receives the requisite test score. From all accounts, he's still solid to UCLA and will not entertain any interest from other schools.