UCLA Football Recruiting: 2016 Offensive Big Board 1.0

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Sep 26, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Jordan Payton (9) signals during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. UCLA won 56-30. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports


Coming off the 2015 recruiting cycle from which UCLA only signed one wide receiver currently on the roster (Stephen Johnson), the Bruins are in need of a talent infusion at the position in the 2016 class. As luck would have it though, UCLA’s highest-priority offensive position of need in the 2016 class happens to be the one at which the talent pool in California is more stocked than ever. 24/7 Sports’s Composite Rating Index has assigned 4-star ratings or higher to an incredible 12 recruits in the state of California’s class of 2016 who could project as wide receivers at the next level.

And with the Bruins being able to sell the allure of catching passes from Josh Rosen for the next two years, UCLA is poised to grab its share of those recruits and will take as many as six wide receivers in this class.

The jewel of UCLA’s committed receiver corps is 4-star Theo Howard (Westlake Village, CA/Westlake), who will be the highest-rated receiver to sign with UCLA in the Jim Mora era. With his absolutely blazing speed (running a 4.38 40-yard-dash in the spring at the Oakland Nike Camp), Howard has elicited comparisons to former USC standout Marqise Lee, but in terms of skills, style, and body type, Howard compares very well to former Colorado star (and briefly, a UCLA enrollee) Paul Richardson. If Howard is half as good at UCLA as Richardson was at CU, then some fireworks are on the way at the Rose Bowl.

In addition to Howard and the aforementioned Dymond Lee, UCLA has commitments from 4-star wide receiver Darian Owens (Fresno, CA/Clovis West) and 3-star Demetric Felton (Temecula, CA/Great Oak). Owens is an athletic, physical target on the outside, while Felton is a true home-run threat from the slot and has had one of the most impressive senior seasons of any recruit in the state.

With less than two months remaining until Signing Day, the Bruins still have three more wide receivers they’re targeting and could possibly land all three when all is said and done. The first is 3-star Adewale Omotosho (Plano, TX/Plano East), an under-the-radar recruit with all the physical tools to absolutely thrive at the next level, who has been a favorite of UCLA’s coaching staff for a while in this recruiting cycle. Given the effort the Bruin staff has put into his recruitment, Omotosho seems likely to be the next Texan to make the trek to Westwood.

UCLA is also heavily recruiting 4-star slot receiver Damian Alloway (Fontana, CA/Summit). An absolute speedster with good hands and increasingly impressive toughness, Alloway has had a topsy-turvy recruitment that has fleetingly drawn him toward and away from UCLA, but the Bruins remain the local favorite to land Alloway and will likely secure his commitment over Notre Dame in the near future.

Finally, the Bruins have been a consistent favorite for 4-star Steffon McKnight (San Diego, CA/Mira Mesa) over the last few months. McKnight has to fill out and add muscle in order to succeed at the next level, but with his agility, fluidity, and acceleration, his upside is absolutely undeniable. He’s named UCLA as his leader at multiple points in the past, but no one is truly certain which way McKnight is leaning at the moment and if he holds off on committing until Signing Day, the Bruins might be full at receiver or no longer attractive to McKnight in light of the glut that will likely exist at the position in UCLA’s class by then.

Next: Tight Ends