The Rose Bowl, entering its 35th season as the home of UCLA Football and where that “Grandaddy of Them All” football game is played every January 1st; this is where the 30 Bruin signees will be spending the next few years. Photo courtesy of RoseBowlStadium.com
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES (UCLA) BRUINS – 2016 RECRUITING CLASS BY THE NUMBERS
National Class Rankings:
Scout.com – 7th
Rivals.com – 10th
247Sports.com – 12th
ESPN.com – 15th
Five-star players – 1
Four-star players – 14
List of four and five-star signees (**= 5-star, *= 4-star)
** Mique Juarez, LB – North Torrance HS
* Damian Alloway, WR – Summit HS, Fontana
* Krystopher Barnes, LB – Liberty HS, Bakersfield
* Breland Brandt, LB – Windward HS, Los Angeles
* Brandon Burton, ATH – Gardena Serra HS
* Demetric Felton, WR – Great Oak HS, Temecula
* Theo Howard, WR – Westlake Village HS
* Dymond Lee, ATH – Chaminade Prep, West Hills
* Devon Modster, QB – Tesoro HS, Rancho Santa Margarita
* JJ Molson, K – John Abbott College, Montreal, Quebec, CAN
* Adewale Omotosho, WR – East HS, Plano, TX
* Brandon Stephens, RB – Plano HS, Plano, TX
* Boss Tagaloa, DL – De La Salle HS, Concord
* Lokeni Toailoa, LB – Carter HS, Rialto
Total number of players signed: 30
Enthusiastic members of UCLA’s student spirit group, “The Den” performing the traditional “8-Clap” while watching their Bruins battle on the gridiron. Photo courtesy of GoJoeBruin.com
A Few Thoughts:
I couldn’t help feeling glad about the incoming class that my alma mater’s football program had signed as I watched Fox Sports West’s Signing Day Special.
And not only because the pundits had very good things to say about the players that faxed their letters of intent to UCLA’s Morgan Center or how good a job coach Jim Mora and his staff did in recruiting and getting blue-chippers to flip their commitments to other schools to come to Westwood, either.
I felt glad that the Bruins filled their needs quite nicely, with three offensive linemen, five defensive linemen, and four linebackers among the 30 players officially becoming new members of Bruin Nation yesterday.
After seeing the interior on both sides of the ball get pushed around the field during the second half of last season, resurrecting the “soft” tag that has plagued UCLA for the first time since Rick Neuheisel was coach, everyone from Mora to even the Spirit Squad’s dance team realized that the Bruins needed depth as the campaign essentially ended when Myles Jack, a linebacker crucial to UCLA’s success on defense, went down after another key guy on the D-line, Eddie Vanderdoes, tore his ACL.
I remarked in the Bruins’ season review on this site that they needed to have their share of four and five-star players on Signing Day and finish, at minimum, among the top 15 in the nation.
Mora and company did exactly that with their 14 four-star recruits putting on blue and gold caps at their announcements, which was good enough for the Bruins to finish ahead of crosstown rival USC in the Scout.com rankings.
Not that those rankings mean anything, as my one piece of advice to those Bruin newbies is this:
Act like an unknown, zero-star, walk-on nobody trying to make the team when you arrive at Cal State San Bernardino or Spaulding Field for your first practice, whether it’s this spring or in August, because…
Yesterday, you were a big-time high school stud; the “Man”.
Starting when you put on that gold helmet for the first time, you will be nothing but a lowly freshman needing to earn whatever you get.
A perfect approach for these new Bruins would be to watch the classic football movie Rudy, featuring Sean Astin as the inspirational Notre Dame walk-on, who took many years and went though so much to fulfill his dream of playing for the Fighting Irish.
If they copy Rudy’s approach and attitude, their chances of success in Westwood will be very good.
And I and the rest of UCLA’s fan base will be quite happy.
One last message to the new Bruins from this alumnus:
TIME TO GET TO WORK!
UCLA coach Jim Mora exhorting his Bruins to take the field for the season opener against Virginia last year. Photo courtesy of uclabruins.com