NCF On The Trail: UCLA Bruins

UA jersey tour: Iman Marshall

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
Cornerback Iman Marshall was the center of attention at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly on Friday morning, as he received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey. It's the second consecutive year a Jackrabbits standout will take part in the game, as Marshall follows Juju Smith, from the 2014 class.

Marshall will follow Smith's lead in another aspect as well, as the five-star cornerback and nation's No. 8 overall prospect will keep recruiting fans guessing as to his ultimate destination all the way to signing day.

While Marshall announced earlier this fall that he would take official visits to Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma, those have yet to be scheduled.

"Everything is still the same," Marshall said of his recruiting plan. "I'm just enjoying the process and the season. I'm excited for my five officials."

Although, everything might not be the same for long, as Marshall added that those might not actually be the five schools he visits.

"I have a feeling I might switch one, but I'm still debating," Marshall said, declining to state what school might not actually receive a trip.

SATs have prevented Marshall from taking official visits to this point, and he said he hopes to eventually take some during the end of the season so there isn't a rush to take them all after the season ends. One thing that isn't likely to change between now and the end of the year is that the three California schools involved -- Stanford, UCLA and USC -- will all be in the race until the end.

Six questions with Iman Marshall

Who are you most looking forward to playing with at the Under Armour All-America Game?

Marshall: "First off I would love to play with Josh Rosen, Christian Kirk and Cordell Broadus. There are a lot of guys on the East Coast as well, but those are the three that come to my mind right now."

If you could start your team with any player from the 2015 recruiting class, who would it be?

Marshall: "I'd have Rosen at quarterback, Broadus on one side and Kirk on the other, with Calvin Ridley in there also. Me at cornerback, Derwin James at safety and Kevin Tolliver on the other side of me. John Houston and Jeffery Holland at linebacker."

What is your earliest football memory?

Marshall: "In my first game, I went 85 yards for a touchdown on my first carry."

What football player did you idolize growing up?

Marshall: "As a defensive back, of course, I wanted to be like Deion Sanders. Every DB wants to be like him."

If you could take on any professional at their sport, who would it be?

Marshall: "I'd take on LeBron or Kobe at basketball. You can't miss that."

Why do you wear your number (8)?

Marshall: "Nobody knows this but the reason I got eight was that in Pop Warner, my number was zero. They didn't have zero in high school, so the closest number that looks like zero is eight."

UA jersey tour: Josh Rosen

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
Quarterback Josh Rosen was presented his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Thursday afternoon during a presentation at Bellflower (California) St. John Bosco in front of his friends, family, teammates and coaches.

"It's awesome," Rosen said. "Every single event is special in its own right. All of this is notoriety for the school, the staff, and helping Bosco as an institution. I'm just enjoying the benefits of some hard work."

It's not the first time all eyes have been on Rosen, and it likely won't be the last. While plenty can change between now and 2015 spring ball practices, there is a very good chance that UCLA will be looking for a new starting quarterback, as Brett Hundley could opt to enter the NFL draft. As an early enrollee, Rosen, the nation's No. 19 overall prospect and No. 1 pocket passer, would likely find himself in that battle, and there isn't much doubt as to Rosen's ability to handle that kind of pressure.

"Right away his maturity is going to separate him," St. John Bosco head coach Jason Negro said. "Josh's maturity is off the charts. His knowledge of the game and his preparation is off the charts, and I definitely believe that the similarity between what UCLA does offensively and what we've done offensively here at Bosco over the last four years is really going to allow him to step in and compete right away."

Negro cited Rosen's growing understanding of defense, as opposing coaches throw more and more complex schemes at Rosen, is an aspect of him game that will help him immensely in college as well.

Rosen isn't one to shy away from a challenge and understands exactly what kind of opportunity could be waiting for him at UCLA. Rosen cited a nationally televised game against Las Vegas Bishop Gorman and an appearance in last year's state title game as situations in which he's been asked to take snaps in pressure situations in front of sizeable audiences.

"I think playing at a program like this, against the talent in the Trinity League and Pac-5, has prepared me to where I can, not seamlessly transition over, which is not even possible, but maybe have a less bumpy transition and maybe move into college with a cleaner entry than most," Rosen said. "Especially because I'm getting there early, so I can take the mistakes on the chin in the spring and once all my buddies get up there in the summer, I can help them along and be a leader for them."

For now though, Rosen has his sights set squarely on finishing his senior season on a strong note. He's told the UCLA coaches that they don't need to use their weekly recruiting call on him if the time can be better spent recruiting other prospects and said that from Sunday through Friday, his focus is fully on his Bosco team.

"The Gorman loss was as frustrating as can be and it made us hit the reset button and refocus as a team more internally rather than externally," Rosen said. "I think we're headed in a positive direction. We're definitely on the path to repeating a state championship."

Five questions with Josh Rosen

If you could start a team with one recruit from the 2015 class, who would it be?

"I think I’d say Alize [Jones]. I could put him at left tackle. I could put him at receiver. I could put him at linebacker. If I could multiply him by 21 and I could be the quarterback, it’d work out relatively well."

What is your first football memory?

"My favorite early football memory is being trapped out of our practice. We practice at South High and the gates were shut and we had no way of getting into practice so we drove through the high school hallways and ended up clipping off one of his mirrors trying to get to practice on time."

If you could take on any pro at their sport, who would it be?

"I would like to play Andy Roddick in tennis."

Why do you wear your number (3)?

"I have a weird OCD thing about everything I do is in multiples of three. Ever since kindergarten or first grade, the number three has always appealed to me. In youth basketball and soccer I was never too picky about it and just got what came to me. I was never the kid in the front of the line pushing and shoving for numbers. But I got a choice and picked three and thought it looked good. They didn’t really let me steal it from Bryce Treggs my freshman year, but I got it my sophomore year and I like it."

What is something people might not know about you?

"I DJ for fun. I play the guitar. I’m interested in astrophysics -- if I had a little more time I’d love to major in it, but I don’t know if that will end up working out. I spend most of my time watching documentaries and YouTube videos on the origins of the universe and Stephen Hawking’s string theory."

Pac-12 South recruiting roundup 

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
At the halfway point of college football's regular season, there is still plenty to be decided both on the field and on the recruiting trail. The Pac-12 placed six programs among the top 40 recruiting classes in Wednesday's updated class rankings Insider and conference recruiting classes contain as many as 24 -- Arizona -- and as few as nine -- Stanford -- commitments. This update offers a look at where each Pac-12 South program stands with its 2015 recruiting class, including its top prospect and position of strength, as well as a look at where things are going well for each class.


Total number of commitments: 24
ESPN 300 wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey on Tuesday afternoon in a ceremony in front of friends and family.

"I'm really blessed and happy for this moment," St. Brown said. "I never really had my eye on an all-star game. I was just looking forward to going to college. But this is just another blessing on top of it and an opportunity to play with some of the top players in the country."

St. Brown, the nation's No. 51 overall prospect and No. 7 wide receiver, is a hot commodity on the recruiting trail. He holds offers from nearly the entire Pac-12 as well as LSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, and others. The Fighting Irish earned the first opportunity to make an impression, as St. Brown took an official visit to South Bend in early October.

"It was a different feeling, getting treated like a VIP," St. Brown said. "It was a fun time."

The next program up on St. Brown's visit schedule is Utah, as the Utes will host the 6-foot-5, 205-pound receiver in early November for their game against Oregon.

"They were one of my first offers and have been recruiting me ever since," St. Brown said of the Utes. "They've been doing good lately, so I'm going to go up there."

After that, it could be anybody's guess. St. Brown said he doesn't have a top group of schools and doesn't know which ones will receive his final three visits. St. Brown is likely to wait until signing day to announce his decision, which will give the in-state programs extended opportunities to make impressions. Stanford, UCLA and USC all remain involved, though there's no guarantee he'll take an official visit to any of them.

"They said it's okay if I take an unofficial visit," St. Brown said of local programs UCLA and USC. "Of course they want me to take officials, but they're okay if I go unofficially."

Seven questions with Equanimeous St. Brown

Who is one player you are looking forward to playing for or against at the Under Armour All-America Game?

"I'm looking forward to playing with Blake Barnett again. He was my quarterback up at The Opening."

If you could start a team with any 2015 recruit, who would it be?

"Travis Waller (St. Brown's high school quarterback)."

What is your earliest football memory?

"Playing flag football with Travis [Waller]. We were about seven."

What football player did you idolize while growing up?

"Growing up I usually played football. I didn't watch much, so I didn't really idolize anybody. Now, I try to play like Calvin Johnson. I think he's my kind of body type, so I try to see what he does."

If you could take on any pro player in their sport, who would it be?

"Richard Sherman."

Why do you wear your number (6)?

"As a junior, all the seniors got to pick first and there were only a few single digits left, so I just took it. I feel like single digits stand out more during games."

What is one thing people might not know about you?

"I like to play a lot of video games."

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
Pac-12 home teams are 4-14 this season, but the coaches in the conference continue to find recruiting success despite being forced to pitch their programs to prospects following home defeats. This past Saturday, Pac-12 home teams went 0-3 yet came out victorious on the recruiting trail, landing commitments and making positive impressions.

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Best of the visits: Pac-12

October, 12, 2014
Oct 12
The Pac-12's three Saturday home games featured several significant visitors, and even though home teams went 0-3 -- hardly a surprise in the conference this season -- favorable impressions were made.

Big turnout at the Rose Bowl

It was the marquee game in the conference thus far, as Oregon met UCLA at the Rose Bowl, and the visitor list matched the hype of the game. It's always newsworthy when five-star cornerback Iman Marshall, the nation's No. 8 overall recruit, makes it out to a game, and he was in attendance Saturday.

Marshall was joined by another huge UCLA target in ESPN 300 wide receiver Cordell Broadus, who made the trip out from Las Vegas.

Like Marshall, Broadus has been fairly tight-lipped about his recruitment thus far, so for the Bruins to get him out on an unofficial visit represents a big recruiting win. It wouldn't be surprising to see Broadus make a return trip to Westwood for an official visit at some point.

UCLA hosted a few official visitors for the game, but none was more important than ESPN 300 running back Soso Jamabo, the No. 32 overall prospect. While Jamabo had to have been impressed by the Bruins rushing for 328 yards against the Ducks, there was something else that caught his eye during his visit.

Arizona wins early, loses late

Arizona might have lost its game against USC when it missed a last-second field goal, but the Wildcats won on the recruiting trail before the game even started, as they added a commitment from three-star cornerback Shun Brown.

There were also a number of Arizona verbal commitments in attendance, including ESPN 300 offensive tackle Keenan Walker.

With Brown's commitment, all three official visitors for Arizona this weekend are now Wildcat commitments. Defensive end Kendal Franklin provided Arizona fans with a number of videos of his trip that he posted via twitter, including a quick look at pregame and a shot of the three committed visitors, including Franklin, Brown and Brown's teammate, Orlando Bradford.

Big visitor for Bears

Cal couldn't keep its forward momentum going on the field, but the Golden Bears coaches are hopeful they can do enough to make a favorable impression on defensive tackle Drayton Carlberg, who was in town on an official visit. From the looks of what Carlberg had to say Sunday morning, Cal -- which is in Carlberg's top six schools -- might be able to keep itself in the mix until the end.

The Golden Bears also hosted a number of local unofficial visitors. One to keep an eye on for the 2016 class is quarterback Kevin Davidson. Though he has yet to receive his first offer, a number of Pac-12 programs are keeping in regular contact with him, and it could be just a matter of time until he grabs that first one.

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
This week provided easy selections for the top three visit weekends in the Pac-12, as there are only three conference games on Saturday. All eyes in the conference will be focused on Oregon's visit to UCLA, and recruits are no different, as there will be an impressive group at the Rose Bowl. Elsewhere, Arizona and Cal host statement games against USC and Washington, respectively. Tucson will be home to a huge recruiting weekend, while Cal will have a key recruit in attendance as well.


[+] EnlargeSoso Jamabo
Tom Hauck for Student SportsOne of UCLA's top prospects, Soso Jamabo, will be in Los Angeles to watch the Bruins take on Oregon.
ESPN 300 running back Soso Jamabo will be on an official visit to Westwood this weekend, as the No. 32 overall prospect likely ranks as the most important official visitor the Bruins have hosted this season. Though Jamabo has several Texas schools hot on his trail, he is taking a long look at Pac-12 programs such as Arizona State, Oregon and UCLA. The Bruins will have the first opportunity among conference teams to make an impression on Jamabo, and the 6-foot-2, 206-pound versatile back would be one of the biggest recruiting wins during Jim Mora's UCLA tenure.

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Help is on the way: Pac-12 

October, 8, 2014
Oct 8
Through six weeks of the 2014 season, every program has flashed at least one weakness or one position where depth is needed in a hurry. While the incoming batch of 2015 recruits won't help the prospects of the 2014 team, some will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact the following year, as they'll provide depth -- or perhaps jump into starting roles -- at positions of need. Here is a look through the Pac-12 at the biggest areas of need for each program, and the 2015 recruits on the way to provide help.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
The wild weekend in the Pac-12 wasn't limited to the field, as the recruiting trail saw some significant action as well. Three impact commitments landed in the conference, while three more ESPN 300 prospects took official visits and several big wins by certain programs made an impact with recruits.

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Vols RB commit Alvin Kamara is drawing comparisons to a former four-time Pro-Bowl selection after his fast start. Plus, Michigan seemed to be in great shape for ESPN 300 DE Keisean Lucier-South, but now the Wolverines’ chances are fading quickly.

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UCLA may have suffered a tough defeat against Utah on Saturday, but the Bruins received a pick-me-up on Sunday, securing a commitment from versatile ESPN Jr 300 Breland Brandt. Brandt becomes UCLA’s first ESPN Jr 300 pledge and joins receiver Michael Pittman as Sunday 2016 commitments for the Bruins.

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Pac-12 coaches believe upsets by Arizona, Arizona State and Utah could also shake things up in recruiting. Mississippi Madness is in full effect, as both Ole Miss and Mississippi State receive recruiting boosts after big victories.

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Best of the visits: Pac-12

October, 5, 2014
Oct 5
Recruits were treated to a wild and entertaining weekend in the Pac-12, as five conference home games were decided by a total of 19 points, with 371 points scored. A Hail Mary connected, an NCAA passing record was set and all three ranked home teams suffered defeat. With so much action on the field, there was plenty of chatter from recruits on social media.

Ducks host midweek visitors

The Pac-12's recruiting weekend began last Wednesday, as Oregon hosted committed quarterback Travis Waller and three-star defensive end Gus Cumberland, as well as the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday night. While the game didn't go exactly as planned, the visits did, as Waller and Cumberland both very much enjoyed their time in Eugene. Cumberland, in fact, saw enough to announce his commitment to Oregon shortly after the trip.


Recruits flock to Los Angeles

With UCLA and USC both playing home games, plenty of recruits made their way to the Rose Bowl and Coliseum on Saturday. While both programs suffered last-second defeats, they provided plenty of entertainment value for those in attendance.

The Trojans hosted the No. 9-ranked player in the country, cornerback Kendall Sheffield -- who undoubtedly found plenty to fault on USC's Hail Mary defense but managed a meeting with Alex Rodriguez during the visit.

USC commit and ESPN 300 defensive tackle Jacob Daniel made the quick trip down to USC for the game.

ESPN Junior 300 wide receiver Javon McKinley, whose first offer came from Arizona State and also received a recent offer from UCLA, was at the Coliseum as well.

But fellow 2016 ESPN Junior 300 prospect Mique Juarez, who has offers from both UCLA and USC, might have summed up the game between the Sun Devils and Trojans better than anyone.

There was plenty of star power across town at UCLA's game as well. ESPN 300 defenders Keisean Lucier-South and Osa Masina were in attendance -- Masina was in town on an official visit.

Lucier-South recently announced that he moved USC back into the list of schools he is considering, but with Michigan and UCLA grabbing early leads -- and then Michigan's poor season so far -- the Bruins continue to look tough to beat in that race.

Utah's win in the Rose Bowl is likely to continue its strong recruiting momentum, and apparently almost netted the Utes a verbal from 2016 ESPN Junior 300 prospect Micah Croom.


Cougars host a huge visitor

The defensive backs in the Cal-Washington State game are likely to have nightmares this week, as the quarterbacks threw the ball all over the field on their way to 1,261 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. On the surface, it might not appear to be the best game for the Cougars to host ESPN 300 safety Marcus Lewis on an official visit, but the No. 152 overall prospect said he had a great time in Pullman.


Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

October, 3, 2014
Oct 3

Every Pac-12 game this week comes with some significant intrigue, as this could turn into a separation Saturday in the South, while the North matchups pit two programs coming off close, emotional wins and two coming off tough road defeats. There will be official visitors all over the conference this weekend, but with two important games in Los Angeles, much of the recruiting focus will be there -- evidenced by our look at the top three recruiting visit weekends in the Pac-12.

1. USC

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Big Ten teams need to find a way to increase athleticism through recruiting and Wisconsin is working hard in Florida to make that happen. Plus, UCLA quarterback commit Josh Rosen continues to be the gift that keeps on giving for the Bruins on the recruiting trail.

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