UCLA Football Recruiting: 2016 Defensive Big Board 1.0

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Sep 13, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Deon Hollins (58) celebrates at the end of the game against the Texas Longhorns at AT&T Stadium. UCLA Bruins beat Texas Longhorns 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Having just finished the 2015 regular season, UCLA football now can turn its full attention to recruiting and putting the finishing touches on its 2016 class. With 19 of the spaces in the class already filled, the Bruins will only be looking to take a few more players to finish things off and have a few high-profile targets in mind for those last few spots.

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With the Offensive Big Board having come out last Monday, it’s now time to see how things are shaping up at the defensive positions in UCLA’s 2016 recruiting class.


Not too long ago, the 2016 class looked like it was going to be a banner one for UCLA at defensive end, as the Bruins looked to be in fantastic position during the summer to land a number of blue-chip recruits like 5-star Oluwole Betiku (Gardena, CA/Serra), 4-star Bryson Young (Clovis, CA/Buchanan), and 4-star Carlo Kemp (Boulder, CO/Fairview). However, for a multitude of reasons, those recruitments fell apart and UCLA now looks likely to land only two defensive ends. Unfortunately, neither of them projects to have the upside to be dominant players on the college level, though both could be solid contributors.

UCLA’s lone defensive end commit at the moment is 3-star Marcus Moore (Encino, CA/Crespi). At 6’2″, 240, Moore actually faces many of the same issues with size as current UCLA defensive lineman Ainuu Taua. Moore is currently an undersized but athletic defensive lineman with good agility, balance, strength, and a very high motor.

He still can add weight on his frame, which he will need to do in order to hold up to the rigors of being a defensive lineman in the Pac-12. As a likely redshirt candidate who will need time to fill out his body, he projects as an effective interior pass rusher after a couple of years of work in Sal Alosi‘s strength and conditioning program. If all goes right with Moore, he could be the quick defensive tackle on passing downs who gets after the quarterback in the same way Keenan Graham did for the Bruins’ defense in 2012.

The other defensive end solidly in play for UCLA is 3-star Nahje Flowers (Los Angeles, CA/Dorsey). While Flowers has solid measurables to work with, he would have a lot of development to undergo before he would become even a depth player in Westwood, especially in terms of get-off at the snap. Flowers could also very easily end up on the offensive line.

Next: Defensive Tackle