UCLA and head coach Jim Mora had one of the strongest recruiting classes in the country in 2013, but until very recently the Bruins had little to show for the 2014 cycle.
The first commitment of the class came from 3-star WR Barry Ware back in March, which was followed by a two-month lull until the next development. Ware’s pledge was big news mostly because it was the first for the Bruins, but it did little to improve their overall class ranking.
In mid-May, Mora got another 3-star wideout to buy into the program, as Dionte Sykes jumped on board with the Bruins. At 6’4″, Sykes is a really nice pickup for UCLA, though he may not be that “immediate impact” sort of player that everyone pines for these days.
Sykes hails out of Chandler High in Arizona, the same school that produced QB Brett Hundley and redshirt freshman RB Paul Perkins. If Mora can keep piping in talent from across state lines, the Bruins should become a serious contender in recruiting each and every year. However, as great as landing Sykes was for UCLA, its impact didn’t even register on the national Richter scale.
While Texas A&M, Alabama and a multitude of other top-tier programs racked up commitments in excess of a dozen, the Bruins were stuck with just two recruits committed. As a result, UCLA was nowhere to be found in any of the various national rankings.
But as the calendar turned to June, everything began to change.
In a span of five days earlier this month, UCLA snatched up the top two JUCO offensive tackles in the 2014 class (as ranked by 247Sports) in Dominick Jackson and Jermaine Eluemunor. The pair of 4-star prospects picked the Bruins independently, but became a potentially dominant tandem in doing so. Not only are they considered the best OTs out of junior college this year, they’re also the No. 2 and 3 overall JUCO players, respectively.
The commitments of Jackson and Eluemunor were enormous for UCLA, showing yet again that Mora and Co. can compete for the best talent across the country (Eluemunor was the No. 1 player in Pennsylvania this year). The pledges also showed just how much weight O-Line coach and three-time Super Bowl champion Adrian Klemm carries on the recruiting trail.
And yet even now, with four recruits in tow, UCLA’s class ranks No. 64 nationally by the 247Sports Composite. The few big commitments the Bruins have gotten didn’t move them much, so there’s still a mountain of work left to do for the coaching staff. But still, all signs indicate that UCLA is starting to pick up some steam in the 2014 class, and that’s great news for the Bruin faithful.