In perhaps the craziest week in college football history, UCLA ended up being one of the fallen when a last second field goal fell no good against Utah on Saturday night. A loss at home against a team you're supposed to beat is not a recipe for recruiting success, but it had no effect on 2016 5 star defensive end Breland Brandt.
Brandt announced his commitment to the Bruins last night on Twitter.
Thank you to all the coaches that have taken the time to recruit me in this process. However, today I… http://t.co/ui9wss3dz3— Bre (@yungbre1) October 5, 2014
Brandt is rated as the 2nd ranked weakside defensive end and the 24th best player in the nation in the 247Sports composite rankings.
He chose UCLA because of the comfort level he has with the school if football was not in the equation, but let's not kid ourselves, he should be very comfortable playing in the Bruins defense as an edge rusher. He flashes the kind of explosive speed off the edge that will remind Bruins' fans of Anthony Barr. When he lets go and attacks the football, he's a frightening player for an offense to attempt to block.
Here's exactly what I'm talking about:
There is no technique there. That's just speed, aggression, and power. That combined with his length and the frame to add significant weight is why he is considered a 5 star talent. He has athletic gifts combined with a violence to his game that makes him an exciting prospect.
At the same time, Brandt's film shows he has a long way to go to improve as a football player. He needs to use his length better and strike blockers with his punch. He attacks blocks, but does not use his hands well enough right now to defeat the better players he is going to face. He also is a little slow in recognizing blocks and developing plays. These are the kinds of things that should come with more repetition and experience, but are extremely important for him to focus on to become more than a raw athlete that plays football and transition to a football player that is great athlete.
Brandt is also someone who could project to play on the other side of the ball at tight end. He flashes great ball skills and that same aggression he has on defense spills over to his blocking on offense. Jim L. Mora came to UCLA with a background as a defensive coach and moved an athlete like Barr to defense. Based on that, I think it's safe to assume that Brandt is going to be lining up on the edge at the next level.
I'm sure most UCLA fans couldn't lie to themselves and act like they are happy with the outcome of the loss to Utah. If Breland Brandt is terrorizing Pac-12 offenses as a pass rusher in a few years time, then I think this weekend will be considered a pretty significant win for the program.