There was a lot of head scratching going on when Tom Bradley was named the new defensive coordinator at UCLA. It didn't have anything to do with Bradley's coaching acumen, but the fit is something that got people thinking.
Bradley has always coached out east. He was at Penn State for many years and most recently at West Virginia. How is it going to work with him coming out and coaching in a region that is considered foreign to him?
That part is yet to be determined, but it's easy to see why coming to Westwood would be attractive to Bradley and it has nothing to do with the weather. He's stepping into a situation where Jim Mora has started to establish another Linebacker U, something Bradley definitely is familiar with.
In Mora's short tenure, he already has had star linebackers like Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, and Myles Jack with former blue chip recruits Kenny Young and Isaac Savaiinaea waiting in the wings to emerge this season and beyond. The pipeline isn't stopping either with phenomenal edge rusher prospect Keisean Lucier-South enrolling in the summer along with another stud linebacker recruit, Josh Woods. Luckily for other programs in the Pac-12, Roquan Smith could have been added to this list of players if former defensive coordinator/linebacker coach Jeff Ulbrich didn't bolt for an NFL job.
That hasn't stopped what is going on with the assembly of talented linebackers though. The Bruins already added a commitment from 5 star linebacker Breland Brandt for their 2016 recruiting class. Even with Ulbrich leaving and being replaced by former graduate assistant Scott White, Brandt has stayed solid. White is a big reason why the Bruins just added another commitment from another big time linebacker as well. Krys Barnes, the linebacker MVP at The Opening regionals in Los Angeles, just pledged to UCLA on Saturday.
Barnes is one of the top linebacker prospects on the west coast and plays with an old school mentality. He punishes ball carriers when he tackles them. He's not just a player who can win in a phone booth either. (Although that will definitely be nice to have when they play Stanford.) He flashes the speed to be a sideline to sideline player.
With Barnes on board, the talent they are amassing at linebacker is arguably better than any program in the nation. The scary part is that Mora isn't stopping either. UCLA has a great shot at getting a commitment from Lokeni Toailoa, who plans to announce his commitment a week from today. Toailoa has a top seven that includes the Bruins, USC, Washington, Oregon, and Utah.
I will be announcing my commitment Monday, March 23 at 7pm at Athletic Republic in Ontario . #GroundZero @ArmondSr @_groundzer0— Lokeni Toailoa (@LokeniTheGreat) March 15, 2015
If Toailoa goes all in for the Bruins, they might as well call their linebacker unit Devastator. Each linebacker piece is a costructicon that can be put together to build a monster defense in the Pac-12.
They may not ever steal the title of Linebacker U away from Penn State, but it certainly seems like they are trying to with all of the talent they are bringing in.