WESTWOOD – Under Jim Mora Jr., UCLA is attempting to change the culture around the program and increase the talent level on the field. With lots of energy coming from the coaching staff and loads of talent on the field, Friday’s UCLA prospect camp looked like a step in the right direction on both fronts.
Jermaine Kelly was fighting to take as many reps as possible on Friday.
We take a look at some of the top prospects that competed at a very strong camp on Friday evening.
1. Jermaine Kelly, CB, Los Angeles (CA) Salesian – Kelly just oozes upside from the cornerback position. He looks exactly like you want cornerback to look like from a frame standpoint, he’s long, he’s wiry and he looks like he will add good weight and strength. Kelly earned a lot of individual attention from the UCLA coaching staff and he took by far the most reps and was eager to compete. Though he needs some polish, Kelly really has fluid movement skills and has the look of a future Pac-12 star.
2. Thomas Tucker, WR, Long Beach (CA) Poly – One of the most effective targets during one-on-ones, Tucker is a stocky slot wide receiver that runs routes extremely well. He showed the speed to beat defensive backs vertically but he also showed the ability to throttle down quickly and change directions. Though Tucker doesn’t have great size, he is exactly the type of receiver that can be effective in space while still having the strength to make plays in the middle of the defense out of the slot.
3. Kenneth Clark, DT, Rialto (CA) Carter – A stocky but thick interior defensive lineman, Clark showed very good quickness and burst during one-on-ones. Maybe the most impressive part of Clark’s game though was his strong hands and his violent use of them when engaged. If an offensive lineman was able to engage Clark on equal footing, the powerful defender was able to quickly discard his blocker and get upfield.
4. Victor Bolden, WR, Rancho Cucamonga (CA) Los Osos – Similar to Kelly on defense, Bolden was eager to get as many reps as possible and he made the most of those opportunities. Bolden is undersized and immediately at a disadvantage due to his frame but he showed all kinds of ability to get in and out of routes and use his quickness to beat defenders. Bolden just continues to impress in the camp setting and could be a real steal as a slot wide receiver option.
5. Poasi Moala, OT, Moreno Valley (CA) Rancho Verde – There may be other prospects that competed on the offensive line on Friday night that had more productive days but when you combine the frame that Moala possesses with his athleticism and ability to move and react, he looks like one of the highest upside prospects to compete. Moala is not yet filled out but he bends and moves like an elite athlete and is going to be a major haul wherever he lands.
6. Riley Sorensen, OG, Santa Margarita (CA) Santa Margarita Catholic – If Moala is a prospect that intrigues because of his frame, Sorensen is a prospect that intrigues because of his production. Hailing from one of the top offensive line units in the country at Santa Margarita, Sorensen had some very dominating reps on the offensive interior. Sorensen has some bad weight but he is surprisingly athletic and he shows great feet and great technique in pass protection.
7. Brandon Arnold, S, Encino (CA) Crespi – Part of a talented defensive backfield at Crespi, Arnold is a stocky, thick and physical safety prospect. He continues to get bigger and stronger but he has maintained great fluidity out of the defensive backfield. Though he has the look of a thumper, Arnold can flip his hips and get off the hash to make plays in the vertical passing game and shows good burst getting downhill on underneath routes.
8. Craig Lee, RB, Redlands (CA) Redlands – Regardless of position, there aren’t many prospects that have the college-ready look of Lee. He is a muscular, freakishly built running back prospect that had a good day in Westwood on Friday. During drills he shows good balance, runs with good lean and leverage and he is extremely athletic. From a strength and athleticism standpoint, Lee has terrific tools to work with.
Though there was some elite talent on the field, some of the top prospects on campus were players that were watching the event from the sideline in street clothes.
Four-star wide receiver Demorea Stringfellow was wearing USC shorts on Friday but spent the whole camp watching and spent plenty of time talking with head coach Jim Mora Jr. Stringfellow indicated that Ohio State and Notre Dame are the two schools that are sticking out the most. He is spending Saturday working out at USC’s 7on7 team camp.
Another wide receiver that was taking in the action was John Ross out of Long Beach (CA) Jordan. Ross has seen his recruitment really blow up over the last month or so and continues to be one of the top playmakers on the west coast.
As strong as the offensive line was on Friday, two more good ones were on hand watching. Four-star Nico Falah has USC and UCLA on top but spent plenty of quality time with offensive line coach Adrian Klemm on Friday. He also spent some quality time with Corona (CA) Centennial offensive guard Viane Talamaivoa, one of the top 2014 offensive line prospects on the west coast, and a prospect that also holds an offer from the Bruins.
Late in the day four-star Tyler Foreman showed up to check out his teammate Brandon Arnold and Forman is another one that has seen his stock rise rapidly this spring and summer and is a high priority on several recruiting boards.
This and that
- Often times you can tell a lot about how a staff feels about a prospect by how much personal attention a player gets from that staff in a camp setting. If that is the barometer then you can certainly put UCLA’s interest in Pomfret (MD) McDonough offensive tackle Na’Ty Rodgers. Rodgers and his father spent a healthy amount of time with head coach Jim Mora Jr. and he certainly seemed like a player that the staff wanted to feel at home.
- One of the top quarterbacks in attendance was Chandler (AZ) High School quarterback Bryce Perkins and he’s only in the class of 2015. The athletic but accurate quarterback reportedly landed an offer based on his performance and will no doubt be a name to watch in Arizona – a state that has seen its talent level increase steadily.
- Another 2015 prospect that already has earned some college offers that was in attendance was Reno Rosene out of Oaks Christian. Rosene has a fantastic offensive line frame and already looks very athletic and flexible at that size. He will need to get more physical but that should come with more experience.
- Other prospects that stood out at times on the day Friday included quarterback Jalen Green out of the class of 2014 at Junipero (CA) Serra, 2014 cornerback Jonathan Lockett, linebacker Jayon Brown, safety Patrick Enewally and several others.