If you're a UCLA football fan, days don't get much better than last Saturday. The Bruins beat down USC (again) and kept their hopes alive to win a Pac-12 title. They also won big in recruiting by landing a commitment from 5 star edge rusher Keisean Lucier-South right before the game.
But uh, back to the lecture at hand, UCLA is having a great year on the recruiting front and it has the chance to get even better. They trail USC in the recruiting rankings, but this may be a year where they can surpass them based on the momentum they have on the field.
Instant impact commit(s)
Lucier-South isn't a bad choice to make an impact early. He certainly has the dynamic athletic ability and relentless motor to be a great pass rusher right away in the Pac-12. He'll likely only be a situational player to start out though because I'm not sure if he's physically strong enough to hold up at the point of attack versus the run early in his career. He needs the time to gain weight and get stronger before being a complete player at the next level.
The top tight end in the nation, Alize Jones, would be another player who could make an impact early. The only question is whether he keeps his commitment as Notre Dame is still in the running for him as well. If he does end up sticking with the Bruins, he can be an immediate mismatch against linebackers and safeties as a receiver. I watched him play for Bishop Gorman a few times this season and he was a big time player in big moments that has improved a lot as a blocker as well.
My top choice to make an impact early though is 5 star quarterback Josh Rosen. If Brett Hundley leaves after this season as expected, then I think it's only a matter of time before they hand over the keys of the offense over to Rosen. There isn't a more impressive quarterback overall in this recruiting class that is filled with talented signal callers. His accuracy, arm strength, mobility, and mechanics are all elite.
Some have questioned his attitude and we'll all just have to wait and see how that part of the equation plays out. All I can say is that if there was a draft in college football, he'd be in contention for the number one pick in 2015.
Don't sleep on ______
It's tough to call a 4 star player a sleeper so I don't think offensive lineman Fred Ulu-Perry is the greatest fit for this category, but I'm going to list him anyway because interior linemen never get enough credit. This kid plays nasty as a run blocker and has great feet in pass protection. He should be a top 100 player overall in my opinion.
He showed up big time against 5 star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie at The Opening this summer and has all the tools to develop into a starter at center or guard for multiple seasons. I would not be surprised if he ended up being the best player out of this entire recruiting class and that is saying something given the talent that is already committed.
Big fish still on the reel
The Bruins are still after plenty of big time players and have a good shot to land many of them. The stand out from out of state is 4 star running back Soso Jamabo. Jamabo is explosive as a runner and a outstanding as a receiver as well. There may not be a player that can create big plays the way he does in this entire recruiting class. Right now it looks like they are in the lead over Notre Dame to land him and if they do, the rest of the Pac-12 should be put on notice.
If UCLA really wants to extend that long term lease on LA, they need to beat USC for some of the top players from southern California. That includes players like defensive tackle Rasheem Green, wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, linebacker John Houston, and cornerback Iman Marshall.
They are the types of players who can be difference makers that would not only help them continue to beat USC, but be the kind of program that can be a playoff team on the field at the end of the season and not just in the pre-season preview magazines. Even taking a couple of them away from USC would end up being a a huge deal.
The Bruins coaching staff has put together a really good class especially along the offensive line with Ulu-Perry, 4 star offensive tackle Andre James, and 4 star guard Tevita Halalilo to go with skill position talent like Rosen, Jones, and 4 star wide receiver L.J. Reed. If they can add a few more big time pieces like Green, Marshall, and Jamabo to go with their dynamic pass rusher Lucier-South, then this could end up being the best recruiting class in the conference.