Priest Willis commits to UCLA

UCLA could have its best recruiting class in at least a decade. Defensive back Priest Willis, ranked a five-star cornerback by Scout.com and a four-star safety by rivals, committed to the Bruins this evening — giving the team two elite additions to its secondary in one day.

With defensive linemen Kylie Fitts and Eddie Vanderdoes still on the horizon between now and Feb. 6, UCLA could easily have a top-five class. The Bruins reeled in Scout.com’s No. 5 class in 2009, but Rivals.com had that haul at No. 14. That ranking also hinged on five-star tight end Morrell Presley, a bust who was later arrested for burglary after leaving the team. None of the recruits this year have that sort of baggage.

Scout and Rivals haven’t both doled out top-five rankings to UCLA since at least 2002, the end of their recruiting class archives. The Bruins were ranked seventh and ninth that year, with the biggest haul being Marcedes Lewis.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sakatalaw Cliff Sakata

    So huge!

  • lifetime Bruin Fan

    Good News, Keep it coming Coach Mora.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.bonaccorso.5 Frank Bonaccorso

    UCLA commit Poasi Moala was the only
    offensive tackle to earn the bump (upward by Rivals) in recent rankings.
    His performance at the Cal State All-Star Game last month proved to West
    region analyst Adam Gorney that the 6-foot-5, 270-pound prospect had what
    it takes to be a four-star.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tes.ta.52 Tes Ta

    thnx for the recruiting news Jack! keep up the good work!

  • EncinitasBruin

    Great news indeed. Comparing our class right now to SC’s:

    It’s been stated that Kiffin is a relentless recruiter–and he is. Frankly, if D1 programs could just hire a Recruiting Specialist, Kiffin would be in the top 5 in the nation in that category. The problem is, where Kiffin gets an A in recruiting, he gets a D as an overall coach (or for some of my SC alumni relatives, an F).

    The problem this year for USC is not lack of talented recruits, or sub-par recruiting–their average ranking of 4.46 (Scout) is the highest average in the nation–in fact, no other school averages 4 or more points per player except SC. No, the problem is the negative effect of sanctions that don’t provide enough seats for all the players who want to sit at SC’s table.

    No doubt, the main benefactor of SC’s limited schollie problem this year is UCLA. And of course, many SC fans are saying “UCLA just continues to get the SC throwaways,” which is disingenuous. Mora knows how to recruit, and he’s surrounded himself with great recruiters. I think that’s the first thing that surprised most of us (even SC fans) last year once he was hired: not only did he retain the kids Neuheisel had recruited, but he improved on that class in the limited time he had to recruit: UCLA finished with the #19/#13 class in the nation (ESPN v Rivals).

    This year it looks like the Bruins and Trojans will both finish with top 10 classes–as of yesterday (with the verbal commits of Goodman and Willis) the Bruins’ class leaped 9 spots from #21 to #12–the biggest one-week jump of any class this year in the ESPN rankings. USC’s class, in contrast, started the summer as the #1 ranked class on ESPN, and has since dropped to #8.

    It’s also probable that either SC or UCLA will finish in the top 5 on ESPN. Currently, the three prominent recruiting sites have the two programs as follows:

    ESPN – USC 8, UCLA 12
    Rivals – USC 7, UCLA 9
    Scout – UCLA 6, USC 10

    It will be interesting to see where it all shakes come 2/6/13.