NCF On The Trail: UCLA Bruins

Auburn hasn’t been given too much of a chance to land coveted receiver Christian Kirk, but the Tigers’ chances are better than most think. Plus, Michigan lost a key defensive recruit, and don’t be surprised if more are to follow.

Michigan’s efforts on the recruiting trail aren’t going anywhere until something changes. Plus, whoever ends up getting the Kansas job must do whatever he can to keep quarterback Ryan Willis on board.


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Video: Breaking down Josh Rosen

September, 26, 2014
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National recruiting analysts Craig Haubert and Tom Luginbill break down what makes five-star QB Josh Rosen, a UCLA commit, the No. 1 pocket-passing quarterback in the 2015 class.
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Alabama, FSU, UF, Maryland and Oregon fans are going to have to wait on five-star DE Byron Cowart. Plus, Oregon State has made recruiting in LA a priority, so that’s why a good showing against the Trojans on Saturday is important.


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ASU, UCLA battle on field, on the trail 

September, 24, 2014
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Arizona State head coach Todd Graham and the Sun Devils are doing everything they can to ensure a significant home field advantage on Thursday night when the UCLA Bruins come to town. They should, based on the past several years when it comes to recruiting, it’s the Bruins who have made themselves right at home in the Grand Canyon State.

You have to go all the way back to the 2008 class to find a year in which the Sun Devils signed the state’s top prospect out of high school. UCLA landed the top Arizona recruit in the 2013 class and comes to the desert this year featuring an offensive backfield comprised of quarterback Brett Hundley and running back Paul Perkins -- two former Arizona prep standouts who made the decision to leave the state.

Just as Graham is leading the charge for Arizona State fans to “Blackout the Bruins” on Thursday night, he’s made a conscientious effort to block them -- and any other out-of-state program -- out on the Arizona recruiting trail as well.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

September, 23, 2014
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It was a strong weekend for Pac-12 recruiting, as the conference added two potential impact commitments and several programs hosted important visit weekends. While Utah and Washington emerged as obvious winners, UCLA extended an interesting 2016 offer and both California and Washington State looked to take steps forward with recruits.


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Early Offer: What a win for Wilson 

September, 22, 2014
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Missouri and Indiana often tangle on the recruiting trail, but now Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson has a big victory to recruit against the Tigers with. Plus, UCLA and Notre Dame are locked in a battle for the nation's top tight end prospect.

[+] EnlargeKevin Wilson
AJ Mast/Icon SportswireKevin Wilson and Indiana hope to get a recruiting boost from Saturday's 31-27 win against Missouri.
1. Indiana's 31-27 victory against No. 18 Missouri this past Saturday is the type of win that can go a long way on the recruiting trail. Because of its location, Missouri is one of the few SEC schools that actively targets players in the Midwest, and it is quite common for the Hoosiers and Tigers to tangle over players in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and even in St. Louis. For the most part, Mizzou has had its way with IU, but now Hoosier coach Kevin Wilson has a breakthrough win to recruit with. As one Big Ten recruiter told me on Monday, "that's the type of win that can change recruits' minds."

2. On Monday RecruitingNation released the latest edition of the Recruiter Power rankings and UCLA’s Adrian Klemm came in at No. 2 on the list. A big reason why Klemm is ranked so high is because he was able to land ESPN 300 tight end Alize Jones, the No. 1 tight end in the country. However, there’s some legitimate concern in Westwood that Jones could end up at Notre Dame. A source indicated the Bruins are doing everything they can to "fight off Notre Dame's advances." Jones continues to say he’s still with the Bruins and is only looking around at the Irish as a security blanket, but insiders believe the interest is much more than just that.

3. What an interesting few days it’s been for Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon offensive tackle Branden Bowen. On Saturday, Bowen, the No. 5 player in Utah, committed to the Utes to give Kyle Whittingham a nice in-state recruiting victory. Then hours later on Sunday, he tweeted he had picked up an offer from Ohio State, a school he admitted he was hoping to receive an offer from earlier in the process. It will be interesting to see if the Utes can keep Bowen on board, or if the Buckeyes' offer is too tempting to pass up.

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Social Studies

Often players link their highlight videos on their social media accounts, but you almost never see them posting their grades or test scores. So give Alabama commit Christian Bell a whole lot of credit for posting his ACT score for everybody to see. It's the type of highlight that also should be cheered.

Early Offer: Tough times ahead for UF? 

September, 21, 2014
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Recruiting in the SEC is already difficult, but the difficulty in Gainesville is about to be ratcheted up even more as rival recruiters are already pressuring Florida recruits to reconsider. Plus, it was clear Saturday night that Oregon needs help on the offensive line, but the good news is that help is on the way.

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5-star DE Jefferson out for season

September, 17, 2014
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Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson, the No. 7 player in the ESPN 300, will miss the remainder of his senior year after suffering a shoulder injury in a game on Friday night. Jefferson posted the news on his Facebook page and Twitter account and later confirmed the news with ESPN.com.

"I must say, I've had a pretty good career as a Wildcat over the past three years. Unfortunately things happen to the best of us, lol,” his Facebook post read. "But all jokes aside, for those of you who weren't at the game last Friday, I was injured on the fourth play which resulted in my senior season coming to an end a little bit early."



Jefferson continued on Facebook: "I just want to say thank you to the community and wildcat nation for being there for me over my high school tenure, I love y'all. I guess I can get an early start on my coaching career haha, btw all district games, lets encourage our boys to bring it home -- CJ7 wildcat for life.”

The talented athlete has visited Florida for the first three weeks of the year, including this past Saturday after he had already suffered the injury. Jefferson will take an unofficial visit to Florida State this weekend when the Seminoles take on the Hurricanes.

Jefferson is planning to visit UCLA and Alabama but is unsure of the dates for those visits. He is the No. 4 defensive end in the country behind Josh Sweat, Byron Cowart and Terry Beckner Jr.
Numbers tell us it’s USC that rules the roost over the years with the top-ranked prospects in California. Plus, UCLA has officially signed Josh Rosen, the Bruins’ most important recruit in years, to a financial aid agreement.

1. Since ESPN started ranking players in 2006, only four different schools have signed the top player in California. Those four schools are USC, Colorado, Washington and Notre Dame. You could say five if you count Eddie Vanderdoes as a Bruin signee in the 2013 class, but he did ink with Notre Dame on signing day and later transferred to UCLA. During that timeframe, though, USC has signed the top California player in the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014 classes. The Trojans have a good shot at doing it again in 2015 as many insiders believe five-star cornerback Iman Marshall is USC’s to lose.

[+] EnlargeDeon Cain
Tom Hauck for Student SportsClemson commit Deon Cain has 184 yards passing yards and 197 yards rushing in two games.
2. There was never, ever any doubt about how solid No. 1 ranked pocket-passing quarterback Josh Rosen was to UCLA. But Rosen, the No. 19 player in the country, took his commitment to the next level on Monday when he signed a financial aid agreement with the Bruins. Rosen remains the top-ranked prospect to commit to a Pac 12 program, and in my opinion, he is also the most important recruit in the conference with the Bruins’ quarterback race next season expected to be wide open since most UCLA observers believe Brett Hundley will depart for the NFL after his junior season.

3. How good has Clemson commit Deon Cain been in Tampa Bay (Florida) Tech’s first two games of the season? Cain, the nation’s No. 25 player, has been so good that Tech coach Jayson Roberts said he’s going to have to find somebody else to help do something on offense because he’s afraid he’s going to “break Deon’s back” from carrying the load. “Deon has been about 90 percent of our offense,” Roberts said. “The good thing is that he’s doing exactly what we want him to do, but the bad thing is that somebody else on the team is going to have to step up to help him out. But he’s been doing a tremendous job for us.” So far, Cain has 184 yards passing and 197 yards rushing in two games. He’s also caught a few passes and is returning punts and kickoffs. “He’s doing everything but driving the bus for us,” Roberts said.

Social Studies
There’s little doubt as to which school ESPN 300 quarterback Sheriron Jones is committed to. Check out the picture he posted Tuesday on his birthday.



Schools tweet posts like this one sent out by Baylor Tuesday and fans think they’re meant for them. Wrong. Tweets like these are meant to impress recruits and what’s scary is that the Bears have another good receiver in the 2015 class heading to Waco. Don’t forget about ESPN 300 receiver longtime Baylor commit Devontre Stricklin. He’s got the talent to be a huge impact player for the Bears.



The Under Armour All-America jersey tour continued on Tuesday with Auburn offensive line commitment Bailey Sharp receiving his jersey on Tuesday. To read more about the tour check out RecruitingNation’s coverage.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

September, 16, 2014
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The early weeks of the high school and college football seasons slow things down a bit when it comes to Pac-12 recruiting. Only a handful of official visitors made their way to Pac-12 campuses, while a junior college commitment to Arizona was the first addition to the conference in nearly two weeks. But there were still interesting developments at a number of conference schools as Stanford hosted a huge visitor, UCLA made an important statement, and Colorado looked ahead to the 2016 class.


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Best of the visits: Pac-12

September, 14, 2014
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A fairly uninteresting slate of games provided for some notable outcomes and entertaining storylines for Pac-12 official and unofficial visitors this weekend. Despite a somewhat sluggish start and less than capacity crowd, Stanford put up a big win in front of some important visitors, while Colorado hosted a few in-state commitments and UCLA overcame adversity in front of some notable out-of-state targets.

Stack in the house at Stanford

The Cardinal had two ESPN 300 visitors in attendance in 2015 defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and 2016 defensive tackle Garrett Rand, but there was a famous father who took in the game as well: former NBA star Jerry Stackhouse and his son, Jaye Stackhouse, a 2015 cornerback from Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett, watched Stanford shut out Army. While Stackhouse doesn't hold an offer from the Cardinal, it's not surprising to see Stanford recruiting a player from Georgia, a state the program has found plenty success in over the past few years.

Big names, frames at Stanford

Speaking of Wilkins and Rand, the two standouts were joined by another fellow big man, ESPN 300 offensive lineman Nick Wilson, a Stanford commit who made an unofficial visit across the country this weekend. Wilson undoubtedly took his turn as recruiting coordinator while watching the game with the uncommitted defensive linemen.

Big lineman takes in Buffs game

Colorado held up well in a 14-point loss to Arizona State, and the Buffs took advantage of their first home game of the season by hosting top committed recruit and ESPN 300 offensive guard Tim Lynott on an unofficial visit. Lynott is the No. 2 player in the state, so getting him on campus often this season and keeping him engaged in the program will be a priority for Colorado.

Movin' on up

UCLA had an opportunity to impress a number of Texas recruits during its trip to Arlington to take on the Longhorns. The Bruins have done very well recruiting the state and already have two commitments from Lone Star State players in 2015. But head coach Jim Mora and staff have their sights set on pulling several more commitments from the region, including ESPN 300 linebacker Malik Jefferson, who has already said he will use one of his official visits on the Bruins. Luckily for UCLA, Jefferson had a great view of the Bruins' comeback win.

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

September, 12, 2014
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It's a slow weekend in the Pac-12, as the conference doesn't host any real nonconference games of note. But the conference does have plans to host a significant uncommitted ESPN 300 recruit and has a team involved in one of the most intriguing non-conference games of the weekend, which could lead to significant gains on the recruiting trail.


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No. 2 OLB Smith has three visits in mind 

September, 10, 2014
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MONTEZUMA, Ga -- The No. 26 player in the ESPN 300, Roquan Smith, has started to narrow down his college choices. The 6-foot-1, 206-pound athlete admits this list is not final but Georgia, Florida, UCLA, Miami, LSU, USC and Ole Miss are starting to stand out to him.

The product of Macon County High School discussed some of his favorite schools prior to be presented his Under Armour All-America jersey on Wednesday afternoon.

[+] EnlargeRoquan Smith
Tom Hauck for Student SportsRoquan Smith said he's still considering a number of schools and said he will not be making a decision until signing day.
“Those schools -- they have been showing me love since Day 1,” Smith said. "UCLA and Ole Miss were my first two offers so they have been after me since my 10th grade year. It’s big on their behalf. Georgia is the in-state school and they are recruiting me the hardest out of all the schools. Florida has a good thing going on down there. They are starting the program back up the right way. Coach [Will] Muschamp, I know he’s a defensive head coach and they are looking for some ballers on defense.”

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

September, 9, 2014
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video Oregon made the most noise on the field and the recruiting trail this past weekend, posting a win against a top-10 team in front of a number of potential impact recruits in the 2015 and 2016 classes. Elsewhere in the conference, USC made a statement with a big win and UCLA did the same with a big offer.


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