UCLA can take some solace in Signing Day being months away, in the fact that there is still time to mend and build. For now, the Bruins’ recruiting class has little momentum.
On Sunday, four-star offensive lineman Demetrius Knox committed to Ohio State just weeks after naming UCLA his leader. Ranked the No. 1 guard in the country by Rivals.com, the 6-foot-4, 287-pound Knox would have been a coup for a program that already landed seven lineman in 2013.
The Bruins recently lost verbal commitments in Jermaine Eluemunor and Dominick Jackson, both highly regarded JUCO linemen. The former also committed to Arkansas, and the latter to Alabama.
Thomas Welsh, 7-0, 240
Loyola | L.A. Rockfish Scout: Four stars | Rivals: Four stars
Thomas Welsh isn’t a flashy player, but true 7-footers are rare at any level of basketball. The Loyola standout has boosted his stock significantly over the past few months, impressing coaches with soft hands. He’s not a dominant inside presence, but can hit a turnaround jumper or a 10-footer along the baseline. He can catch and shoot accurately from the elbow, and also showed nice form at the free-throw line. Very vocal on the defensive end, he uses his length well to grab boards and contest shots.
Welsh said he has spent this summer focusing on his footwork and quickness. A high-end projection for him could be former North Carolina All-American Eric Montross, who won an NCAA championship in 1993 and spent eight seasons in the NBA.
In addition to UCLA, Welsh is fielding offers from schools such USC, Cal, Gonzaga and Arizona State. He said he doesn’t have any visits planned yet for the near future, though he took an unofficial to Cal in June. He added that distance from home isn’t a factor.
Q: What schools are recruiting you the hardest right now?
Still the Pac-12 and WCC schools. It’s been pretty even.
Though football commitments don’t count for much in July, UCLA’s slow start to the 2014 cycle has nevertheless disappointed some fans.
The decommitment of offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor won’t help. A top JUCO recruit who had picked the Bruins in early June, Eluemunor starred at Lackawanna C.C. in Scranton, Pa., just a few years after moving from London, England. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle had openly discussed his interest in other schools for weeks, and tweeted Wednesday that he had cut UCLA from his list. He will choose either Arkansas or Ohio State on Friday.
JUCO lineman Dominick Jackson also flipped to Alabama in late June a few weeks after initially picking the Bruins. UCLA now has four commitments in the 2014 class, all of them wide receivers.
Trevon Bluiett, 6-5, 185
Park Tudor | Spiece Indy Heat/Indiana Elite Scout: Four stars | Rivals: Four stars
Trevon Bluiett is a skilled swingman who boasts a diverse offensive game. He played for UCLA assistant Ed Schilling when the coach worked at Indianapolis’ Park Tudor School, and won the state championship game MVP as both a freshman and a sophomore. That feat becomes even more notable once you consider that he played with Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell during that first title run. Continue reading →
Robert Cartwright, 6-2, 168
Flintridge Prep | L.A. Rockfish Scout: Four stars | Rivals: Three stars
Robert Cartwright is a well-rounded player who projects as a good four-year point guard, but one who hasn’t drawn too much attention from high-major programs. He was impressive dishing on the break at last weekend’s Pangos Sweet 16, feeding a teammate with one particularly nice behind-the-back pass.
Cartwright isn’t an exceptional athlete and looked a little smaller than his listed 6-foot-2 height, but he works hard on the defensive end. He played through the tournament with stitches under his right eye, and also had a bruised lip by the end. He can hit his pull-up jumper consistently and isn’t afraid to take it, hitting big shots down the stretch in L.A. Rockfish’s 59-58 overtime win Sunday over the Las Vegas Prospects.
He recently picked up offers from Stanford and San Diego State, and also has schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Utah and Colorado after him. Continue reading →
Despite not having visited UCLA as a recruit, four-star receiver Austin Roberts announced his commitment today, giving the Bruins four wideouts in their 2014 class.
At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Roberts has the size to slide into the Y-receiver/tight end spot for UCLA, which didn’t offer him until last week. He caught for 378 yards and five touchdowns during an injury-plagued junior season at Carmel (Ind.) High, and won a Class 8A championship at Plant High in Tampa, Fla., the year prior.
Roberts also had offers from Ohio State, Florida and Alabama, but had cancelled a Monday visit to Tuscaloosa. Continue reading →
Jordan McLaughlin, 6-0, 170
Etiwanda High | Prodigy Elite Scout: Four stars | Rivals: Four stars
Jordan McLaughlin started off slowly at this past weekend’s Pangos Sweet 16, but later attributed some of that to having just flown back from Philadelphia’s Reebok Breakout Classic. The CIF champion flashed quick hands and good leaping ability, especially considering his still-slight frame. On one play in the Pangos final, he cut off a pass easily and took it down the court for an easy dunk. McLaughlin also showed impressive body control near the rim, and was able to finish while either taking or avoiding contact.
He’ll likely continue to grow, which is a great sign coupled with his athleticism. Both Steve Alford and David Grace watched McLaughlin multiple times at the Long Beach event, as were USC’s Andy Enfield and other coaches from schools recruiting him.
Offensive lineman Dominick Jackson, regarded as one of the top JUCO prospects in the country, has decided to go back on his verbal commitment to UCLA made earlier this month, according to Rivals.com. The 6-foot-7, four-star guard will instead play at Alabama.
He told Rivals’ Andrew Bone that he made the decision despite not having yet visited the Crimson Tide: “(Offensive line) coach (Mario) Cristobal never stopped recruiting me. He really showed me how interested Alabama was in me after I committed.”
Former top-five running back recruit Rushel Shell will not be transferring to UCLA.
The 6-foot, 215-pound Pitt back had announced his intent to become a Bruin after a mid-April visit to Los Angeles. After rumors circulated on Twitter over the past few days, Rivals.com reported that Shell changed his mind and was trying to return to the Panthers. According to the Los Angeles Times, he wanted to remain closer to his twin daughters.
Three-star receiver Jordan Lasley committed to UCLA Saturday evening, less than 24 hours after he first received the offer.
The 6-foot-2 wideout clocked a 4.4 40-yard dash at the Bruins’ elite camp on Friday, and is currently rated a top-100 receiver nationally by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. He confirmed the news on Twitter followingnumerousreports.
Lasley plays at Gardena’s Junipero Serra High with five-star cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and four-star linebacker Dwight Williams. He also has a 3.6 GPA, so academic eligibility won’t be a problem.