Can UCLA have massive signing day close on Wednesday?

BY foxsports • February 1, 2016

If all goes according to Jim Mora's plan, UCLA will close exceptionally well on National Signing Day (Feb. 3). 

The Bruins are heavily involved with eight prospects (Brandon Burton, Mique Juarez, Boss Tagaloa, Aaron Hansford, Devin Asiasi, Francisco 'Paco' Perez, Brandon Stephens, Garrett Rand). There's a real chance UCLA could sign six or seven -- if not all eight of the recruits on Wednesday. 

Burton, Juarez, and Perez are all local prospects hailing from Southern California. 

A onetime commitment to USC, Juarez has since opened it up and has included a final list of UCLA, BYU, Alabama, and Ole Miss. If one wants the closest thing to former Bruin Myles Jack, Juarez would be it. He plays with a similar sense of aggressiveness -- possessing many of the same athletic traits.

Juarez is also supremely athletic and versatile as a player, and could feature on either side of the ball. It helps that Juarez's home town is a mere 20 miles from campus.

Burton is a smooth safety from a traditionally USC-breeding ground in Gardena Serra High School. He's narrowed it down to UCLA, USC, Florida State, and Arizona. Having taken his last official visit to UCLA this past weekend, it appears as if the Bruins have the inside track in his recruitment. 

Perez is a versatile offensive line prospect -- capable of playing as both a guard and tackle. Although technically committed to Cal, he's been flirting with his hometown school for quite a while. He'd be a big get for the Bruins, who're in need of depth up front at an interior spot.

Mora's program also seemingly has a real shot at the out-of-state group featuring Stephens, Rand, and Hansford. 

Stephens reneged on his pledge to Stanford with less than two weeks until signing day -- opting to visit Westwood. A big back in the mold of what new offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu likes, it wouldn't be a shock to see him pop for UCLA. 

Rand had been committed to Wisconsin for quite a long time. Once defensive coordinator Dave Aranda took the LSU job, it opened up things a bit for the Arizona defensive tackle. He took an official visit to UCLA two weeks ago, and will announce his decision on signing day. 

The fact he hasn't reaffirmed his pledge to Wisconsin publicly -- coupled with the fact Arizona is a lot closer to California than it is to Wisconsin -- gives UCLA at the very least a puncher's chance. It also helps that the Bruins have a dearth of talent and depth at the defensive tackle spot. 

Hansford -- hailing from Washington D.C. -- is down to UCLA and Texas A&M. UCLA was the first school to pitch him on the idea of playing his preferred position of wide receiver. With a few smaller receivers already in tow (Theo Howard, Damian Alloway, Demetric Felton), the Bruins would love to snag a (perhaps) more athletic version of the departed Thomas Duarte. 

Lastly, landing the duo of Tagaloa and Asiasi would be huge on a number of fronts. It would potentially start a pipeline to one of the most talent-rich high schools in California, and also land the Bruins two players at big positions of need. 

According to Scout.com, seven of these eight players are at least four-star prospects -- with Perez being the lone three-star player. Not only would UCLA definitely increase the talent on the roster with this haul -- but it'd likely end up a top-10 -- or potentially top-5 recruiting class nationally. 

 

 


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