Wednesday was another good day in what has turned out to be a series of good days for UCLA’s football program (the three season-ending losses notwithstanding) over the course of the past 12 months as coach Jim Mora and his staff signed a recruiting class that ended up being ranked first in the Pac-12 and among the top 12 classes in the country.
ESPN ranked this Bruin class 12th in the nation, while Rivals.com had UCLA’s newbies at 11th.
Scout.com particularly regarded this batch of UCLA recruits in high esteem – they have them listed as the fifth best class in the U.S. behind such powers as Ohio State (ranked #1), Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame.
When those rankings are averaged out – with a nine in this case – this places the Bruins as having a top ten class overall.
Of the 26 new Bruins slated to be in Westwood this fall, 18 of them are four-stars with one recruit being a coveted five-star; Priest Willis, a cornerback from Arizona who has yet to officially sign his letter of intent but who has stated that he is committed to being a Bruin and will fax his signature to Mora very soon.
With this stellar class, UCLA finished ahead of rival USC in all of the rankings for the first time since 2002 as the Trojans, who many expected to land the nation’s top class, while getting some highly rated players didn’t even finish with the top class in Los Angeles.
The Bruins filled some needs in the defensive secondary and the offensive line on Wednesday as seven o-linemen signed with UCLA. Five linebackers also committed to become Bruins, giving that position some excellent depth.
And as I had hoped, a quarterback, Asiantii Woulard, a four-star from Florida, was signed to provide insurance for Brett Hundley and to possibly take his place in the future.
Here’s the complete list of the new members of Bruin Nation who will compete for playing time this fall – * denotes a four-star, ** denotes a five star:
* Asiantii Woulard, QB, 6’4″, 200 lbs, Winter Park (FL) HS
* Christian Morris, OT, 6’6″, 285 lbs, East HS, Memphis, TN
* Issac Savaiinea, LB, 6’3″, 230 lbs, Punahou School, Honolulu, HI
* Cameron Judge, LB, 6’2″, 215 lbs, Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, CA
* Kylie Fitts, DE, 6’4″, 260 lbs, Redlands East Valley HS, Redlands, CA (decommitted from USC to sign with UCLA)
* Kenny Lacy, OT, 6’5″, 270 lbs, Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix, AZ
* Tahaan Goodman, S, 6’2″, 190 lbs, 4.52 in the 40, Rancho Cucamonga (CA) HS
** Priest Willis, CB, 6’2″, 190 lbs, Marcos De Niza HS, Tempe, AZ
* Tyler Foreman, S, 6’2″, 190 lbs, Crespi HS, Encino, CA
* Johnny Johnson, CB, 5’10”, 180 lbs, Central HS, Fresno, CA
* Thomas Duarte, TE, 6’4″, 225 lbs, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, CA (The Los Angeles Times 2012 High School Player of the Year)
* Eldridge Massington, WR, 6’3″, 205 lbs, 4.40 in the 40, West Mesquite HS, Mesquite, TX (has already enrolled at UCLA and will participate in spring practice)
* Caleb Benenoch, OG, 6’6″, 317 lbs, Seven Lakes HS, Katy TX
* Alex Redmond, OG, 6’5″, 295 lbs, Los Alamitos (CA) HS
– Darren Andrews, WR, 5’10”, 160 lbs, Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, CA
– Sean Covington, Punter, 6’2″, 195 lbs, St. Petersburg (FL) HS (considered the best high school punter in the country)
– Scott Quessenberry, C, 6’3″, 265 lbs, La Costa Canyon HS, Encinitas, CA
– Mossi Johnson, CB, 6’1″, 185 lbs, Crenshaw HS, Los Angeles, CA (will enroll at UCLA in 2014 due to injury)
– Jayon Brown, LB, 6′ 1/2″, 205 lbs, Long Beach Poly HS, Long Beach, CA
– Jalen Ortiz, WR, 5’9″, 170 lbs, Centennial HS, Peoria, AZ
* Poasi Moala, OT, 6’5″, 270 lbs, Rancho Verde HS, Moreno Valley, CA
* Craig Lee, RB, 6’0″, 188 lbs, Redlands (CA) HS (unable to officially sign his LOI at the present time due to academic issues)
– John Lopez, OG, 6’5″, 305 lbs, Orange Lutheran HS, Orange, CA
* Kenneth Clark, DT, 6’2″, 285 lbs, Carter HS, Rialto, CA
* Myles Jack, LB, 6’3″, 230 lbs, Bellevue (WA) HS
* Deon Hollins, LB, 6’2″, 222 lbs, Marshall HS, Missouri City, TX
Mora was obviously happy with this haul, saying, “We are very happy with the class we (his staff) put together”, but in adding a word of caution also said, “We’ve got to follow this up with success on the field.”
I, for one, couldn’t have said it better as these newbies, while the UCLA community is ecstatic to have them in Westwood, needs to keep in mind that the moment they set foot on campus, whether by enrolling early for spring practice or showing up in the summer, all the great stuff that they accomplished in high school means this:
These Bruin recruits, in order to be successful as Bruins, must approach fall camp as they were one-star players or walk-ons trying to make the team, rather than the decorated players that they were.
If their attitude is such, good times on the field will definitely follow.
I, and I’m sure everyone else in Bruin Nation, are very much looking forward to how these soon-to-be-freshmen will work out.