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UCLA football recruiting: breaking down the current class

The present at linebacker is very good for the Bruins and it's going to stay that way with the linebackers they have committed

Student Sports

There are a lot of people who aren't fans of Jim Mora. He just seems to rub some people the wrong way for some reason.

I'm sure UCLA fans don't care too much about how Mora is perceived, though. He has now beaten USC three years in a row, so who cares that some don't like him? The guy has proven to be a pretty good coach.

He can recruit as well and has done a very good job of assembling a staff that recruits very well. The Bruins are right up near the top of the Pac-12 in terms of overall raw talent and that doesn't look like it will change anytime soon with them being in a great position to have another top class come signing day.

They currently have fourteen commitments and are the seventeenth ranked class in the nation according the 247Sports composite rankings. The class is probably even better than that ranking too (I'll get into why a little bit later).

The future is bright in Westwood, especially on defense.

More elite linebackers on the way

Fill in the blank position U gets thrown around a lot in college football. I'm not big on doing that for any school because there are so many schools that have a great tradition of play at so many positions. However, it's tough to ignore when a school keeps bringing in big time players at a specific position like UCLA is doing at linebacker.

The 2015 Bruins linebacker corps should be outstanding and the guys who will eventually replace those guys are pretty darn good too. They have Lokeni Toailoa and Krys Barnes, two of the top linebackers out west, as future options at inside linebacker and are bringing in a player with outstanding potential as a pass rusher in Breland Brandt to play on the outside.

Brandt and true freshman Keisean Lucier-South should give Pac-12 quarterbacks nightmares in a few year.

Where are the elite defensive linemen?

When you look at the current roster, players like Eddie Vanderdoes, Kenny Clark, and Takkarist McKinley are high level players on the defensive line. The issue is that all of them are juniors and it's not out of the question that guys like Vanderdoes or Clark could leave early for the NFL. Are the Bruins going to have the same level of players to step in and replace these guys when they are gone?

It doesn't look like it will be the case as of right now. They only signed one true defensive lineman back in February and have two currently committed right now. Defensive ends Marcus Moore and Osa Odighizuwa could end up being solid players, but aren't the same level of prospects that the current players on the roster were when they were recruits. It's not a great year for defensive linemen out west, but the Bruins are in the mix for nose tackle Boss Tagaloa and 5 star defensive end Oluwole Betiku. Betiku likely projects as an outside linebacker for the Bruins, but could also play with his hand in the dirt.

It would be an ideal finish for the Bruins to land both of these guys down the stretch.

Specialists screw up the ranking

One of the flaws with recruiting rankings is the fact that taking a punter, kicker, or long snapper throws off the overall ranking of a class. Well, UCLA is taking all three of those positions as members of this recruiting class and they would be closer to a top ten national ranking if they took three 3 stars at other positions instead.

JJ Molson is one of the top kickers in this class, Bailey Raborn is one of the top punters, and Johnny Den Bleyker is one of the top long snappers. That's really all that matters and taking these three now means they shouldn't have to take other specialists over the next few years.

Weapons for Rosen

In February UCLA added 5 star running back Soso Jamabo and 4 star tight end Chris Clark. Both could end up being valuable options in the passing game for 5 star quarterback Josh Rosen to throw the ball to in future years, but the Bruins failed to land a dynamic player on the outside last year. Cordell Broadus was a 4 star prospect, but he is likely not going to be more than a possession receiver at the next level.

There is more dynamic potential in this year's group of commits with Demetric Felton likely a slot receiver that can gain big chunks after the catch and 4 star Darian Owens is a player that has shown he can get deep. 4 star Dymond Lee might also have a future at receiver even though they are recruiting him as a dual-threat quarterback.

And if Jamabo moves to receiver like some project he could do, the Bruins could potentially be right behind USC and Oregon for the best receiving corps in the conference in a couple of years.