What UCLA’s new signees will be doing for the next few years. Photo courtesy of bruinsnation.com
UCLA BRUIN FOOTBALL – CLASS OF 2017
Number of signees: 18
Number of four and five stars: 9
ESPN – 18
Scout – 21
Rivals – 21
247 Sports – 20
Bleacher Report – 15
The most important key to UCLA’s resurgence in 2017: Quarterback Josh Rosen.
LIST OF NEW BRUINS (Four and Five-Star)
(NOTE: ** = 5-star, + = already enrolled)
Martin Andrus, DL – 6’2″, 300 lbs, Los Angeles HS
Elijah Gates, DB – 5’11”, 170 lbs, Buena Park HS
Darnay Holmes, DB – 5’11”, 190 lbs, Calabasas HS ** +
Jimmy Jaggers, TE – 6’4″, 245 lbs, Roseville HS +
Rahyme Johnson, LB – 6’4″, 201 lbs, Los Angeles Salesian HS
Jaelan Phillips, DL – 6’6″, 250 lbs, Redlands East Valley HS ** + (#1 recruit)
Greg Rogers, DL – 6’3″, 305 lbs, Las Vegas (NV) Arbor View HS
Jaylan Shaw, DB – 5’11”, 170 lbs, Corona Centennial HS
Stephan Zabie, OL – 6’6″, 290 lbs, Austin (TX) Westlake HS
Part of the atmosphere that the new Bruins will be joining: UCLA cheerleaders performing at a pregame tailgate. Photo courtesy of beatsc.com
A FEW THOUGHTS…
My opinion of this new group of UCLA football players can be summed up in four words:
Good, but not great.
On one hand, to sign a class that finished in the nation’s top twenty (on average) and the top half of the Pac-12 Conference after having such a bad season is nothing to sneeze about.
Not to mention getting perhaps the nation’s number one defensive lineman, who is already in Westwood, will participate in spring practice, and is expected to contribute right away.
And filling a desperate need by signing five offensive linemen.
That says a lot about the Bruins’ brand, appeal, and what the program and the school has to offer.
On the other hand, the fact that not one running back or wide receiver – a position that had much issues with catching the ball last year – joined Jim Mora’s program was disappointing as one receiver who UCLA targeted chose to go elsewhere.
Since that was unfortunately the case, Mora should make it a priority to target and sign some junior college and graduate school transfers at the wide receiver position in particular, veteran guys who can step onto the Rose Bowl turf in September and make an immediate impact.
I, as a UCLA alum and an over thirty-five year fan of Bruin football, would feel better about things if that happened.
As I’m sure would the bulk of Bruin Nation.
The main factor in UCLA’s class finishing in the top twenty lies in the defensive linemen and defensive backs that were signed, as ten of the 18 players who officially became Bruins yesterday play on that side of the ball.
It’s clear that Mora’s staff is building depth, which will pay off down the road as they are expected to contend in the Pac-12 South.
Can these Bruin newbies help the team rebound and eventually make UCLA Football great again?
It will all depend on how hard they work this spring, summer and beyond; that I know for sure.