The Past, Present, And Future Of UCLA Quarterbacks, Part II: The Roller Coaster Of QB Recruiting

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Nov 15, 2014; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kyle Allen (10) was thought to be a strong lean to UCLA before he shocked Bruins coaches by committing to the Aggies. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


Targets (in chronological order): Kyle Allen (5*- Scottsdale, AZ), Brad Kaaya (4*- West Hills, CA), K.J. Carta-Samuels (4*- San Jose, CA), Aaron Sharp (3*- Humble, TX)

How it went down: UCLA identified Kyle Allen early as its top quarterback in the 2014 class and recruited him aggressively. Allen established himself as the clear-cut #1 quarterback recruit in the nation during the spring camp circuit after his junior year and it is to the credit of UCLA’s coaches and evidence of their scouting prowess that they were on Allen long before he saw his stock soar nationally.

The Bruins were believed to have Allen all but in the bag after the youngster from Scottsdale came out to UCLA’s Spring Game in April 2013 and enjoyed himself immensely, but Allen proceeded to shock the recruiting world by abruptly announcing a couple weeks later that he had committed to Texas A&M. Rumors persisted among recruitniks that a couple very prominent Elite 11 coaches (it’s not too hard to guess the names) had gotten in Allen’s ear and strongly advised Allen not to choose UCLA, telling him he would be stuck behind the previous year’s Elite 11 MVP Woulard on the depth chart in Westwood. Allen apparently took that advice to heart and turned to College Station, where Johnny Manziel had just dazzled the nation and won the Heisman Trophy, instead.

Taken sharply aback by their failure to land Allen after he had seemed Westwood-bound for so long, the Bruins’ coaches seemed unsure about how to proceed with 2014 QB recruiting. They had evidently not even considered the possibility that Allen might commit elsewhere and, as a result, were left without an immediate alternative to pursue.

For a while, they considered not taking a 2014 quarterback at all, as they were secure in the knowledge that Woulard would presumably continue his upward developmental arc and that the motherlode of all California quarterback classes loomed in 2015. Eventually, the Bruins coaches, feeling that they needed a 2014 quarterback after all as Signing Day neared, identified Miami commit Brad Kaaya as a priority UCLA target, but they could not flip the Chaminade HS quarterback from his commitment to the Hurricanes.

UCLA’s coaches then kicked the tires on San Jose QB K.J. Carta-Samuels, a former Vanderbilt commit (and eventual Washington signee) who was looking at other schools after James Franklin left the Commodores to take the vacant Penn State job. However, after seeing the dynamism that Hundley’s running had brought to the offense, they instead chose to pursue dual-threat quarterback Aaron Sharp from the Houston metro area. Sharp ended up flipping to UCLA from Kansas State very late in the 2014 recruiting cycle.

Signees: Aaron Sharp

Progression at UCLA: Sharp’s film showed a quarterback with elite speed and good touch, but a lack of zip on his throws and an unorthodox throwing motion that inhibited consistent accuracy. That, indeed, is exactly what Sharp turned out to be, and the UCLA coaching staff wasted little time in having Sharp work in at wide receiver on the scout team during his redshirt season. His move to receiver became permanent after Rosen’s arrival in the spring.

Remaining on the roster: Aaron Sharp- moved to WR as a redshirt freshman

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