UCLA Bruins' 2014 National Signing Day Wish List
The UCLA football coaches have about three weeks to finalize a strong 2014 recruiting class before national signing day on Feb. 5.
247Sports currently has UCLA with the No. 18 recruiting class in the nation. Of the 16 commitments, eight are considered to be 4-star prospects. The class is also ranked as the second-best in the Pac-12.
Jim Mora would love to sign a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. Speed and quickness are two attributes desperately needed within the wide receivers group on the roster. Fortunately for the Bruins, there are multiple targets that fit the proverbial bill.
Additionally, there are many targets from the Southeast that UCLA is pursuing relentlessly. Many of the said targets from SEC country are considered to be elite recruits.
Mora is attempting to take this program to new heights. In order to do that, he needs to continue to sign impressive talent from the high school ranks.
Here's the national signing day wish list for the UCLA Bruins.
*Note: All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports (unless noted otherwise).
TE Bryce Dixon
The tight end from St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, Calif., committed to the Southern Cal Trojans at the Army All-American Bowl. Dixon had virtually narrowed his choices to UCLA and USC before selecting the Trojans.
Dixon represents the new-age flex tight end in today's game. He's long, fast and fluid with his movements. Essentially, Dixon is a hybrid wide receiver/tight end. His versatility allows him to be lined up at multiple spots on the field.
Although he recently chose the Trojans, ESPN recruiting analyst Blair Angulo reported Dixon will officially visit UCLA on the last weekend before signing day. With the Bruins getting the last crack at the 4-star tight end, it wouldn't be a shock to see Dixon flip to UCLA on signing day.
WR Malachi Dupre
Dupre would fit the bill as the prototypical playmaker UCLA desperately needs.
At about 6'3", he's great at exploding vertically and plucking the ball out of the air over defenders. The polished 5-star receiver from John Curtis Christian High School in New Orleans also has exceptional route-running ability. Should Dupre sign with UCLA, he'd instantly jump on the depth chart and make an impact as a true freshman.
It will not be an easy proposition to beat out any SEC team for an elite prospect—especially if the recruit resides in LSU's backyard. LSU figures to be huge competition for the No. 3 overall wide receiver in the country.
UCLA will have the fortune of hosting Dupre on Jan. 31. High school teammates Mattrell McGraw and Kenny Young will also be making the trip to Los Angeles.
LB Rashaan Evans
The 5-star linebacker from Auburn, Ala., is one of the top defensive players in the entire nation. 247Sports has Evans rated as the top outside linebacker in the country and the second-best prospect in the state of Alabama.
Evans is an athlete, pure and simple. His first step as a rusher is incredibly impressive. Evans not only has the capability to cover smaller players in space, but he's also at his best when putting his hand in the ground and getting after the opposing quarterback.
The talented defensive player is down to Auburn, Alabama and UCLA. He will visit Alabama and Auburn within the next two weeks. Evans took an official visit to UCLA earlier in the year.
Evans truly does have Myles Jack-like ability. He, along with Kenny Orjioke and Deon Hollins, would compete for the starting spot left vacant by Anthony Barr.
OT Nick Gates/Kolton Miller
The depth on UCLA's offensive line has improved considerably in the past two seasons. However, the depth at tackle is still relatively thin.
Miller is a mammoth of a man, standing at 6'8". He's got a lean body and looks to have the frame to put on some good weight with a proper college conditioning program. Miller has outstanding mobility and bend for such a tall player. The Roseville, Calif., native is slated to visit UCLA officially on Jan. 17.
UCLA started recruiting Gates very recently. The Bishop Gorman High School product has offers from the likes of Nebraska, Texas A&M and Oregon. Gates will take his last remaining official visit to UCLA on Jan. 24.
Like Miller, Gates has a nice upside. He's a physical player at the point of attack. While not a mauler, he's got great lateral quickness. He possesses the requisite amount of mobility to be a very good tackle in the future.
ATH Adoree' Jackson
Adoree' Jackson, in theory, could be the crown jewel in UCLA's 2014 recruiting class.
Simply put, he's an elite, local player at a huge position of need. Jackson is absolutely electric with the ball in his hands. His quickness and agility is unrivaled by any other prospect residing in the state of California. Jackson has the potential to be a dynamic receiver in the slot.
In college, general convention suggests Jackson will end up as a corner. UCLA could promote the idea of having Jackson play both ways. The Bruins had good success in doing that with Myles Jack this past season.
Southern Cal and Florida have been assumed to be the leaders for quite sometime. Jackson announced his final six schools on Twitter, and the list did include UCLA. If Jackson takes an unofficial visit to Westwood in the next few weeks, anything could happen.
Two of Jackson's high school teammates—Dwight Williams and Jordan Lasley—are committed to the Bruins.
RB Joe Mixon
The Oakley, Calif., native has the talent to potentially start for UCLA as a true freshman. His selection of Oklahoma is admittedly a big blow to UCLA's recruiting efforts for the position. The Bruins were able to garner the pledge of tailback Nathan Starks; however, Mixon is an elite talent.
In terms of pure speculation, the allure of Oklahoma could lessen as it gets closer to signing day. The fact that Los Angeles is a lot closer to Oakley than it is to Norman, Okla., could also bode well for the Bruins.
UCLA would gladly take the commitment of Mixon. He's too talented of a prospect not to bring into the fold (if he wanted to come).
WR Michiah Quick
Quick is in the mold of a game-breaker from the receiver position. The 4-star athlete is a cat-quick (no pun intended) speedster with the ability to stretch the field vertically. He's also adept at taking short passes and turning them into big plays.
Much like Dupre and Jackson, Quick would figure into the mix quickly for the Bruins.
Oklahoma will be a big challenge for the Bruins. Two of Quick's former high school teammates (Hatari Byrd and L.J. Moore) play for the Sooners. However, Quick will visit UCLA officially on the last weekend before signing day, per Scout.com.
QB Aaron Sharp
The 3-star signal-caller from Summer Creek High School in Humble, Texas has recently been offered by the Bruins. He will take an official visit to Westwood on Jan. 17.
Sharp has been a longtime commitment to Kansas State, dating back to last June.
Perhaps the most startling part of Sharp's game is his speed. He's an incredibly dynamic football player with his legs. Sharp is surely equipped with the athleticism to play at wide receiver or even running back. Based on his senior film, he's got great touch on his throws. Sharp also appears to be very poised in the pocket.
Sharp's mechanics as a passer aren't the prettiest to watch. He will have to clean up his rather funky delivery. Regardless, his overall athleticism and accuracy in regards to his passing is undeniable.
He'd be a very valuable commodity for the Bruins. For one, UCLA needs depth at the quarterback position. Brett Hundley will likely depart after the 2014 season. It would leave Asiantii Woulard and Jerry Neuheisel as the only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.
Even if Sharp didn't play right away as a quarterback, he could make an impact with his speed. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has to be salivating at the thought of utilizing Sharp on trick plays. He also could be lethal in a Wildcat package.
S Juju Smith
John "Juju" Smith comes from the famed Long Beach Poly program. The school has churned out NFL players such as Marcedes Lewis, Jurrell Casey, Willie McGinest and DeSean Jackson, among others. Smith looks to be another prospect with the potential to play on Sundays one day.
The physical safety has great athleticism. His pursuit of the football in space is absolutely outstanding, as are his instincts on the field. He, like many in this piece, should contribute early in his collegiate career.
Smith's uncle is Johnny Nansen, the new running backs coach at Southern Cal. This circumstance could sway Smith over to the Trojans. Regardless, Smith is an elite talent in UCLA's backyard. The Bruins should do anything they can to get Smith over for a visit.
If UCLA is to continue on the trajectory of becoming a prominent program nationally, it has to keep top local talent at home. Smith is the perfect example of such a prospect.
LB Kenny Young
Young is the prototypical inside linebacker.
The John Curtis Christian product has a great feel for the game. Young is impressive in diagnosing the said play and making the requisite tackle. He's a hard-nosed, physical player with the ability to rush the passer.
Young will take official visits to Arkansas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, LSU and UCLA. His trip to Los Angeles will come on the last weekend before signing day.
A potential signing of Young would be a coup for the Bruins' staff. Snagging a talented prospect out of SEC country is never easy. The middle 'backer position doesn't have a ton of depth. Young could slide in and battle Isaako Savaiinaea for Jordan Zumwalt's open spot.