Wednesday, January 23, 2013
UCLA on a roll in the secondary
By Erik McKinney
Good news keeps rolling in for a UCLA coaching staff that has been on a recruiting tear of late.
The commitments on Wednesday by ESPN 150 safeties Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) and Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) gives the Bruins four verbal commitments in the secondary since the start of last weekend.
Tahaan Goodman is one of two ESPN 150 safeties to commit to UCLA on Wednesday.
After loading up early with seven commitments along the offensive line and adding a strong group of offensive skill-position players, the Bruins’ attention turned to the defensive backfield and head coach Jim Mora scored in a big way.
On Saturday, ESPN 300 cornerback Johnny Johnson Jr. (Fresno, Calif./Central) committed to UCLA while on an official visit. Sunday marked the commitment of safety Tyler Foreman (Encino, Calif./Crespi), a Wisconsin decommitment receiving heavy interest from California and Oklahoma.
That same weekend, Willis and Goodman decided that they couldn’t wait until signing day to announce their decision, so both decided to break the news on Wednesday. Their commitments came as little surprise, considering both had been linked to UCLA for some time.
It is a terrific year for defensive backs in California, and while USC grabbed the top safety -- Su’a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) -- and cornerback -- Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), who is teammates with Goodman -- in the state, UCLA added terrific depth at those positions as well. Johnson, Goodman and Willis all held offers from USC, as well as several other national programs.
UCLA’s commitment list now stands at 23, including seven ESPN 300 prospects. This group of defensive backs could give the Bruins some flexibility as well. Willis was told throughout the recruiting process that he could wind up playing safety or cornerback at the next level, while Foreman and Goodman both possess the frame to slide down into an outside linebacker role.
UCLA now joins USC with Cravens and Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and Florida with Keanu Neal (Bushnell, Fla./South Sumter) and Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) as the only three programs in the country with a pair of commitments from top-10 safeties.