UCLA offensive line, Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The next installment of Go Joe Bruin’s recruiting profile series spotlights Poasi Moala, the highest rated of the seven offensive line signees that made UCLA’s class the best in the Pac-12 this year.
Moala is a 4-star offensive tackle from Moreno Valley, Calif. who has the potential to be a monster under the tutelage of O-Line coach Adrian Klemm. At 6’5″ and 270 pounds, Moala already has the size necessary to step into a serious role, and should only get stronger with a full collegiate workout regimen.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Moala is a Top 20 OL prospect nationally, as well as the No. 34 overall recruit coming out of California in 2013. Once a Steve Sarkisian commit to Washington, Moala made the decision that most do, choosing to stay closer to home in the end. After an unofficial visit to UCLA in September, Moala made his pledge to Mora, and it was a big one.
The UCLA offensive line has been a liability for most of my memory as a Bruin. Sure, there have been some respectable groups of big men in the trenches (like the Filthy Five of 2010). But being serviceable is not the same as being elite, and that’s why Mora and Co. went to the recruiting trails to shore things up. In addition to Moala, UCLA signed four other 4-star O-linemen, as well as two more high 3-star recruits. You’ll be hearing plenty more about them in subsequent parts of this series.
The massive haul will add depth to a depleted line and provide competition for an already talented cast that includes starters Xavier Su’a-Filo, Jake Brendel, Simon Goines, and Torian White. Knowing Mora’s style, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see some of the true freshmen starting come September. The model proved somewhat tumultuous last season, but with more depth it could pay dividends in years down the road.
Moala, like any other youngster at UCLA, will be given an equal chance to earn his snaps in San Bernardino. It’s very possible that he redshirts and another freshman steps up, but at this point speculation is essentially pointless. The battle will begin in a few months, and it’ll be a critical one for the Bruins’ success.
Without Johnathan Franklin, the offensive line will need to step up and make life easier on the running backs rushing by committee. Moala may not factor in right away this fall, but you can count on him (and his hair) to be well-known in Westwood soon.