Nov. 10, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora walks the field before a game against the Washington State Cougars at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA Football Recruiting: 5 Key Recruits for the Bruins This Offseason

Damien Thigpen is projected to be the Bruins starter next season, following the graduation of senior running back Johnathan Franklin. After a season where we relied so much on an offense with a dual run threat, we need to keep our running game strong. Thigpen, who tore his ACL against USC in November, would be under a lot of pressure if asked to carry the running game on his shoulders. For that reason, one recruit on my list for the Bruins is RB Terrell Newby. The 4 star recruit from West Hills, is planning to visit UCLA soon. Don’t get me wrong, Thigpen is a great player, but we need someone who carry the ball and relieve some stress for Thigpen.

Failing to ignore the elephant in the room, the Bruins need someone who can kick off, punt, and kick field goals. Maybe not all the same guy, but those are some major gaps to fill. With all Pac-12 kicker and punter Jeff Locke graduating, we have a difficult challenge to overcome. Sean Covington may be the perfect person for the task. The 5 star, number 1 ranked punter, has committed to UCLA. 8th in the nation in kicking, he should have no problems here at the colligate level.

Thomas Duarte, the 225 pound, 6’4 tight end seems like a good fit to replace Big Joe Fauria. I have talked a lot about replacing players, and while I do believe change is necessary and imminent, we had a successful system this past season. I think sticking to something similar would be in our best interests. Signing Thomas Duarte would make Brett Hundley’s job much easier.

Wide receiver Devon Allen could be a great addition to our receiving core. Devin Lucien, Shaq Evans, and Devon Allen- along with the rest of our receivers- would allow us to capitalize on the outstanding accuracy of Hundley’s downfield passing game. Dual threat running game with downfield passing for defenses to worry about? Sounds good to me.

4 star offensive guard Caleb Benenoch could really allow our offense to grow even more. Teams that ran blitzes against us saw much success this season and could potentially be less of an issue with Caleb Benenoch. As for where he fits it on the line, it is hard to say. I feel like with him guarding his teammates, nobody will end up in the backfield, unless of course, they are wearing blue and gold. (UPDATE: Ryan hit this one on the head and Caleb has committed.)

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