Biggest Takeaways from UCLA's Recruits at The Opening

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Biggest Takeaways from UCLA's Recruits at The Opening
Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com
QB commitment Josh Rosen

The UCLA Bruins had a strong presence this past week at the famed Nike camp "The Opening." Four UCLA commitments participated in the event. The amount of Bruin pledges at such a prestigious camp truly does lend credence to the notion UCLA is a rising power in the landscape of college football. 

This piece will detail three takeaways in relation to the Bruins' commitments at the event. Not only did UCLA receive two verbal pledges at the camp, but many prospects in attendance have a sincere interest in joining Jim Mora's program.

 

Takeaway No. 1: UCLA did very well from a recruiting standpoint

As previously mentioned, UCLA garnered the commitments from two players. Athlete Stephen Johnson out of San Leandro, California, chose the Bruins over Oregon on Tuesday afternoon. 

Offensive tackle Andre James out of Herriman, Utah, opted for UCLA on Thursday night. He pledged to the Bruins over Oregon, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Southern Cal, among others. 

Johnson tested out exceptionally well. He clocked a 4.37 time in the 40 and ran an impressive 4.09 shuttle time. He also had a 34.5" vertical jump. Analyst Greg Biggins of Scout.com (subscription required) was complimentary in speaking about Johnson's athleticism, pure speed and playmaking ability. 

Johnson is a versatile prospect with the ability to play on both sides of the ball. It's likely Johnson will start out on the defensive side of the ball as a corner. He should also have the chance to return kicks as well. Speed is something UCLA needs on its roster, and Johnson brings tons of pace to the table. 

 

James is one of the elite offensive tackles in the western region. The Scout.com 4-star tackle has the requisite amount of athleticism needed to protect a quarterback's blind side. The fact UCLA was able to land a very talented prospect at a position of need—against strong competition—was massive. 

At 6'4.5" and 278 pounds, James does need to get physically stronger. However, the athletic tools are there for him to be very good down the line. His lateral quickness and agility make him a candidate to play on the left side of the line (ideally as a tackle). He also could, in theory, line up as a guard.  For James, it'll be about gaining good weight in the upcoming year. 

Here is a short clip of James battling elite defensive prospect Keisean Lucier-South. 

UPDATE (7/11): Scout.com 4-star offensive lineman Fred Ulu-Perry committed to the Bruins, per Greg Biggins of Scout.com.

 

Takeaway No. 2: UCLA's prior two commitments had solid showings

Quarterback Josh Rosen and tight end Alize Jones both competed this past week at the camp. 

ESPN has Jones ranked as its top tight end in the country. Similarly, Scout.com has Jones rated as a 5-star prospect. The Bishop Gorman High School prospect measured in at 6'5" and 220 pounds. He ran a respectable 4.67 in the 40 but had an eye-popping 4.03 shuttle time. It's an extremely fast time for a man of Jones' size. 

Rosen impressed thoroughly with his physical tools. Quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. lauded Rosen's performance on Twitter. Rosen shined during seven-on-seven play with his tremendous arm strength and superlative touch.

Despite Trent Dilfer's opinion of Rosen, it appeared as if he "wowed" at the event. The UCLA commitment is also doing a bit of recruiting during his time in Oregon for the Bruins. 

Both prospects demonstrated why each is considered among the best at their respective positions. With Jones' ability to be a nightmare mismatch, I'd expect UCLA to use him early. He's far too gifted a talent to redshirt. 

As for Rosen, he'll enter a completely wide-open quarterback competition. Conventional wisdom suggests Brett Hundley leaving after this year for the NFL. Rosen will be competing against Asiantii Woulard, Jerry Neuheisel and Aaron Sharp for the starting gig.

If he can graduate early and enroll in January, it'll help to give the former tennis prodigy a better shot at starting right away. 

 

Takeaway No. 3: The Bruins are in the hunt for many participants at the event 

It's truly startling as to how many prospects in attendance have a strong interest in UCLA. Again, the buzz in regards to the program illustrates how hot of an entity UCLA is right now from a national perspective.

Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com
Athlete Soso Jamabo

There were a number of local prospects participating in Beaverton, Oregon, with a genuine interest in the program. This list includes Lucier-South, defensive back Marvell Tell, offensive tackle Dru Samia, defensive end Rasheem Green, defensive back Dechaun Holiday and defensive back Iman Marshall.

Out-of-state prospects at the camp with an interest in UCLA include athlete Soso Jamabo, receiver Cordell Broadus, linebacker Osa Masina, athlete Porter Gustin, linebacker Roquan Smith, offensive lineman Fred Ulu-Perry, receiver Ryan Newsome, athlete Ray-Ray McCloud and defensive end Austin Bryant. 

Masina recently included UCLA on his final list of schools. Jamabo has UCLA on his short list, as does Samia (according to Rivals.com analyst Adam Gorney). 

A strong season in Westwood could turn in an elite '15 recruiting class. 

 

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