UCLA Football Recruiting: 2016 Defensive Big Board 1.0

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Sep 25, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Kenny Clark (97) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. UCLA defeated Arizona State 62-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


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With the high likelihood that probable 1st-round pick and current UCLA star nose tackle Kenny Clark foregoes his senior season to enter to 2016 NFL draft and the lingering possibility that injured lineman Eddie Vanderdoes might still make that choice as well, the Bruins find themselves in desperate need of talent, especially of the instant impact variety, on the interior defensive line starting in 2016.

UCLA received one of its earliest commitments in the class from Osa Odighizuwa (Portland, OR/Douglas), the younger brother of recent Bruin defensive line star Owa Odighizuwa. Strangely enough, despite his bloodlines, Osa profiles less like his brother, who was a 5-star recruit and one of the most remarkable physical specimens as a recruit in recent memory, and more like a smaller version of the aforementioned Kenny Clark.

Osa lacks an explosive get-off from the snap, but has great strength and plays with good leverage. Like Clark was in high school, Osa is a decorated high school wrestler in Oregon and it shows in his balance and the use of his hands.

Needing tackle depth that was more likely to contribute immediately in 2016, the Bruins went out in October and landed junior college lineman Nick Terry (Elk Grove, CA/American River C.C.). Terry shows the ability to be an instant depth player at the very least in his film, exhibiting the powerful hands, strong base, and surprising agility necessary to be a solid Pac-12 defensive tackle.

Of the uncommitted recruits still remaining for UCLA, there is a very convincing argument to be made that 4-star nose tackle Boss Tagaloa (Concord, CA/De La Salle) is the most important for the Bruins to reel in. With his size, strength, agility, and low center of gravity, Tagaloa can be the multi-year fixture at nose tackle that is the fulcrum of any truly successful 3-4 defense. Having offered him when he was just a high school sophomore, UCLA is Tagaloa’s long-time favorite school and despite a recent offer from USC, it has seemed likely for a while that Bruin defensive line coach Angus McClure‘s persistence in recruiting Tagaloa will result in the best defensive tackle in the West choosing to be a Bruin when Signing Day rolls around.

24/7’s Crystal Ball has the Bruins as a consensus favorite to land Tagaloa.

Next: Linebacker