UCLA football had a solid recruiting year in 2012, with Coach Jim Mora reviving a dead recruiting class and launching UCLA into the top-25 recruiting classes in the nation.
Of course, football recruiting is a year-round thing (we feel for you, workers at Scout and Rival) so 2013 recruiting is already under way. Because we, here at Go Joe Bruin, feel like we’ve been deficient in this area, we’ll organize all this stuff for you.
It should be noted, though, that commitments and decommits don’t mean much in June, eight months away from National Signing Day in February. As we’ve seen, the recruiting trail can get hit hard enough to make up for any deficiencies. Furthermore, commitments from recruits don’t mean all that much, as we’ve seen with 2012 UCLA signee, Jordan Payton. Basically, “verbals” don’t mean shit. Additionally, please note that highlight videos are just that: highlight videos. Oft-malinged NBA pro Kwame Brown has a highlight tape, too. They don’t mean shit either.
But it’s good to know what the progress is like. So without further ado, the 2013 UCLA football recruiting recap, so far.
Outside Linebacker Deon Hollins. Vitals: 4-star recruit, 6-foot-2, 222lbs., from Missouri City, TX
According to various scouting reports, Hollins is freakishly athletic and explosive. Our current linebacking corps isn’t all that bad, but considering defensive coordinator Lou Spanos is going to implement a base 3-4 defense, playermakers at the LB position, especially outside linebackers, are going to be crucial, both to rush and contain the run to the outside. Hollins apparently won’t be a starter right out of the gate, but at the very worst, he gives us depth and, at the best, he’s the playmaker that his potential allows him to be.
Outisde Linebacker Cameron Judge. Vitals: 4-star recruit, 6-foot-2, 210lbs., from Westlake Village, CA
Cameron Judge isn’t as explosive as Hollins, at least what it seems like based on the scouting reports out there, but he’s much better in typical linebacker-type coverage as well as playing the run, both of which are crucial as hell in any defense, 3-4 or not. UCLA could use more depth at the OLB, as we said before, and Judge adds further playmaker-type presence.
Offensive Tackle Erik Bunte. Vitals: 4-star recruit, 6-foot-7, 310lbs., from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
This kid is f*cking big.
That’s the first thing that should stand out with him, and his size makes him a legit next-level force on the offensive line. Scouting reports say he’s a pretty raw talent, but the dude’s ceiling seems pretty high in the Division-I level. He also apparently needs to work on his run-blocking, and considering UCLA has some legitimate running backs coming after Johnathan Franklin finishes off his UCLA career, that’ll be a crucial skill to have. We also encourage you to especially watch Bunte’s highlight tape (below), because his size stands out like hell.
Offensive Tackle Sean Dowling. Vitals: 3-star recruit, 6-foot-6, 260lbs., from Fallbrook, CA
This dude is not so big.
Of course, Dowling has a lot of upside, and is a pretty solid pass-blocker and is a really in-your-face guy, per the scouting reports. That said, he apparently is raw, too, and it seems like its a consensus that he needs to be redshirted to develop so he can compete in the Pac-12.
Quarterback Eddie Printz. Vitals: 3-star recruit, 6-foot-3, 200lbs., from Marietta, GA
Eddie Printz will give UCLA depth at a position where depth will be non-existent after this season. After Brett Hundley, T.J. Millweard and Jerry Neuheisel, there’s not much left (sorry, Mark Fafaul). Printz doesn’t totally fit the typical Noel Mazzone QB (he doesn’t have a shitty throwing motion, he’s not huge, and his arm strength is suspect), but he’s a pocket passer and seems to be accurate as hell, ala Chad Pennington, it seems (without, y’know, glass bones).
Running back Keyante Green. Vitals: 4-star recruit, 5-foot-9, 190lbs., from McDonough, GA
Keyante Green is pretty short for a running back, and even shorter considering the type of running back he is. Dude’s a ground-and-pound guy with a lot of versatility. According to scouting reports floating around there, Green packs a powerful punch and can break tackles consistently. If you want a lazy comparison (at least in terms of style and size), it’s former Bruin great and top-carrier in the NFL, Maurice Jones-Drew. Green has that kind of explosiveness, but of course, he’s raw, so take these comparisons as more of an into-perspective kind of thing.
Wide receiver Inoke Lotulelei. Vitals: 2-star recruit, 5-foot-8, 175lbs., from Salt Lake City, UT
Lotulelei is an obscure prospect, doesn’t show up in ESPN’s top 150, and is unranked on Scout and Rivals, while earning himself two stars. And given his size and hometown, that doesn’t surprise me. He’s incredibly undersized for a wide-out and the competition around him can’t be as stiff as it is in Southern California or Georgia. Other than that, we can’t speculate why else he’d be so obscure.
That ends it for our 2013 UCLA football recruiting recap. We’ll be up to date with UCLA football and basketball recruiting this summer, now that your humble narrator isn’t stabbing himself in the eye over final exams.