UCLA Football Recruiting: 2016 Defensive Big Board 1.0

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Oct 31, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Devin Ross (right) is unable to make a catch while defended by UCLA Bruins defensive back Ishmael Adams (left) during the fourth quarter at Rose Bowl. The UCLA Bruins won 35-31. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports


Transitioning from the recruit with the most UCLA voices in his ear on this list to the one with the least, 4-star athlete Jack Jones (Long Beach, CA/Poly) is the player who can best be labeled the bellwether of UCLA’s 2016 class. The only cornerback that seems to be on UCLA’s radar at the moment, Jones is the type of player that the Bruins are sorely lacking at the moment, with a comprehensive skillset that is spookily similar to that of fellow electric jitterbug Adoree Jackson:

While Juarez is a more gifted physical specimen, Jones is the player who would create an earthquake in recruiting circles if he ended up picking UCLA over USC. Jones might as well bleed USC’s colors with the amount of Trojan influences in his life. From his high school football program (historically a conveyor belt of talent to USC) to his family and friends (all lifelong USC diehards, including himself), there’s nothing about Jones on the surface that would suggest that he’s anything but a lock to follow the path that has seemingly already been chosen for him.

And yet… there seems to be the slightest glimmer of hope that Jack Jones might be the long-awaited one to break the Long Beach Poly hex and become the first Poly recruit with offers from both UCLA and USC to choose the Bruins over the Trojans since tight end and Bruin great Marcedes Lewis did so way back in 2002.  As he sees former Poly stars Juju Smith-Schuster and Iman Marshall deal with being front-and-center for the latest turmoil in Troy, the hope for Bruin fans is that Jones is the much-desired Long Beach Poly recruit who is able to get past his previous immersion in Trojan kool-aid so that he can actually view USC as the clown show that it currently is. If he is indeed that mythical creature, then UCLA very well might be able to grab the commitment of the player who would instantly become the most symbolic signee of the Jim Mora era in Westwood.

It’s also important to note that UCLA is playing a dangerous game by having only one elite cornerback on its board who could plausibly commit to the Bruins. Defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin is also trying with 4-star David Long (Los Angeles, CA/Loyola), but Long, a recent Stanford decommit, is focused in on Washington and Michigan as of now. Losing a local star to USC or Stanford would be one thing, but losing him to far-away schools like Michigan or Washington (who is coming off a 6-6 season) would be another matter entirely and a very bitter pill for the Bruins to swallow if they’re not able to insert themselves back into the race for the 2nd-best corner in the West in this class.

Should good things fail to materialize with both Jones and Long, then the Bruins have other corners they’ve offered in this class, like 3-star Myles Bryant (Los Angeles, CA/Loyola) and 2-star Andrew Davis (Upland, CA/Upland), but neither is a likely instant-impact player at a position of need nor a likely future all-conference or All-America candidate.

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