UCLA Football: Ranking Bruins' Top 10 Recruiting Targets for 2015
The 2015 recruiting cycle is in full swing for Jim Mora and the UCLA Bruins.
To this point, UCLA has four public commitments in the form of athlete Jaason Lewis, linebacker Victor Alexander, tight end Alize Jones and running back Bolu Olorunfunmi. Jones is considered the top tight end in the entire nation by 247Sports.
Lewis, a 4-star prospect out of Virginia, has the capabilities to play as a running back, wide receiver or even potentially as an outside linebacker down the line. Although undersized, Alexander packs a punch from the linebacker spot. Olorunfunmi is a physical back with good power and strength.
This piece will detail both specific areas and individual recruits for the year of 2015. The slides are ranked in correspondence with UCLA's needs on the roster.
This isn't a final list by any means. Undoubtedly, there will be unknown recruits popping up on UCLA's radar. For now, here's a look at the top 10 recruiting targets and areas for the UCLA Bruins in 2015.
*All recruiting rankings come courtesy of 247Sports.com, unless otherwise noted.
10. In-State Offensive Linemen
Halalilo is a mountain of a man at 6'4", 315 pounds. The 4-star guard is nimble with his feet but is also an absolute mauler in the run game. He attends the same high school that current UCLA offensive lineman Poasi Moala did.
Hemsley is a tackle prospect from Windward High School in Los Angeles. At 6'6", he's got ideal height for the position. Also a basketball player, Hemsley is dripping with upside. He isn't a finished product by any stretch of the imagination. However, his upside is immense.
Landing both would be a coup for UCLA. The duo would continue to add to the depth being built up on the offensive line by Adrian Klemm.
9. Osa Masina
The hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker spot has become the en vogue position in both college football and in the NFL recently.
Brighton High School product Osa Masina is the prototype prospect for said position. The Salt Lake City native is a long and lean athlete. He changes direction quite well and can roam sideline-to-sideline with ease.
He does need to get physically stronger and bigger for the next level. However, his overall athleticism is undeniable. Masina is equipped with the agility to drop and play in space but also possesses the physicality to rush the passer with his hand in the dirt.
The 4-star 'backer has also recently visited UCLA unofficially.
8. Kahlil McKenzie
Kahlil McKenzie is one of my favorite players in the 2015 class.
The talented defensive lineman has great bloodlines. His father is Reggie McKenzie—a former NFL linebacker and current general manager of the Oakland Raiders.
McKenzie preps at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif. It's one of the most prestigious high schools in the country in terms of preparing high school players for the next level. The school has churned out current NFL players such as T.J. Ward and Maurice Jones-Drew.
As a player, McKenzie is a beast. He's got an extremely powerful lower base. McKenzie explodes out of his stance and routinely collapses the pocket.
There's no doubt McKenzie will be the future anchor up front as a nose guard or as a defensive tackle for the fortunate school lucky enough to sign him.
UCLA does have good depth at the position. Otherwise, McKenzie would be ranked higher in this piece. Other options on the defensive line for the Bruins include Thomas Toki and Canton Kaumatule, among others.
7. Andre James
Andre James is one of the most athletic tackle prospects in the western part of the United States.
The Herriman, Utah native displays natural bend and above-average lateral quickness. His frame is ideal for one of the tackle spots.
UCLA is currently battling the likes of Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin for his services. Landing a quality player—at a premium position—would be big for the Bruins.
Another top tackle prospect from outside of the state of California is Keenan Walker. UCLA would love to bring both James and Walker on board together when the 2015 class is all said and done.
6. Roquan Smith
In 2014, UCLA struck out with linebacker prospect Rashaan Evans.
The Bruins hope their luck changes in '15 with another 'backer prospect from the South in Roquan Smith.
Smith is an explosive athlete. His reactionary skills when diagnosing a play are very good for a high school prospect. Smith has the requisite speed and quickness to defend smaller players in space.
It won't be easy prying Smith from out of the Southeast. A native of Montezuma, Ga., Smith has offers from the likes of Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas.
247Sports recruiting analyst Kipp Adams reported UCLA did provide Smith with his first college scholarship offer. This fact could aid in luring Smith to Westwood.
5. Rasheem Green
Rasheem Green is one of the premier defensive line prospects in the entire country for the class of 2015.
If one was to engineer the ideal defensive line prospect, Green would be it. He's got a great frame for the position at 6'5", 275 pounds. Green has the perfect combination of raw power and tremendous athleticism.
Scout.com recruiting analyst Greg Biggins recently tweeted, "[Green is] still learning how to play but has so much natural ability it's scary."
It's no wonder Green has offers from all across the country. Blair Angulo of ESPN reported Green will unofficially visit UCLA in the upcoming week.
However, Southern Cal might be tough to beat. The Trojans have recruited Serra High School extremely well in recent memory. USC defensive line coach Chris Wilson has also enrolled his son Caleb at Serra for this upcoming year.
Over the course of the past season, UCLA has shown the propensity to utilize players on both sides of the ball.
A local prospect with great upside is Stanley "Scrappy" Norman. The 4-star prospect from Serra High School is electric with the ball in his hands on offense. Living up to his nickname, he's a feisty, physical corner when competing as a defender.
3. Keisean Lucier-South
Keisean Lucier-South is high school's version of Anthony Barr.
The Orange Lutheran prospect has every characteristic needed in a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end. Lucier-South's got a wiry build with long arms. His explosion at the point of attack is quite good.
Like Barr, Lucier-South is fluid enough to perform not only with his hand in the ground but also in coverage. He does need to gain considerable weight for the next level. Fortunately for Lucier-South, he does have the frame to put on 20-25 pounds easily.
Due to Lucier-South's performance at the LA NFTC, he earned an invitation (subscription required) to Nike's The Opening in Beaverton, Ore. The Opening is an elite camp showcasing the top high school football talent from all across the nation.
The potential signing of Lucier-South would be huge for UCLA. He's arguably one of the top two defenders in the entire state of California for this class (along with Green).
2. Christian Kirk
UCLA is in desperate need of explosiveness and pure speed from within its wide receiver corps.
Arizona prospect Christian Kirk fits the bill in this capacity.
The slippery skill player boasts elite agility and considerable top-end speed. He's the type of player with the ability of taking a short pass and turning it into a big play.
Based on need, landing Kirk is paramount.
1. Josh Rosen
Josh Rosen is the unquestioned top target in the 2015 recruiting cycle for the Bruins.
Beyond Asiantii Woulard, there isn't much in the way of depth at the quarterback position. Rosen is considered the top pro-style quarterback in the entire country.
The St. John Bosco prospect possesses great arm strength to go along with good athleticism. Rosen literally can make every throw on the field. He led his high school team to the state title as a junior this past season.
A possible commitment of Rosen could create an domino effect of sorts. Rosen's name is well-known throughout high school circles in Southern California.
His reputation as an elite signal-caller certainly carries clout, and it is likely other top recruits in the area would want to play with a player of Rosen's caliber in college.
Per his Twitter, Rosen will announce his decision on Mar. 20.