Four-star receiver Austin Roberts commits to UCLA

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

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Prospect watch: 2014 point guard Jordan McLaughlin

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.

Q: What parts of your game are you working on this summer? Continue reading

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Alabama flips UCLA commit Dominick Jackson

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.”

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Reports: Pitt RB Rushel Shell will not transfer to UCLA

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.

Shell also displayed poor judgment on social media after his April announcement, including one that drew the attention of UCLA running backs coach Steve Broussard. Continue reading

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Three-star receiver Jordan Lasley commits to UCLA

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 following numerous reports.

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.

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UCLA offers Texas 8th grader Lindell Stone

UPDATE: There’s been dispute over whether or not UCLA actually offered Lindell Stone, though 2017 athlete Dylan Moses still does have offers from multiple schools. Either way, an offer would have had little binding power.
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After missing out out No. 1 2014 quarterback Kyle Allen, UCLA has extended a hand to another out-of-state signal-caller: 6-foot-2, 190-pound Lindell Stone.

He just completed eighth grade at Dawson Middle School in Southlake, Texas.

Offering middle schoolers isn’t a new phenomenon. USC infamously did it with quarterback David Sills, who committed at 13 years old. The Trojans did it again this week with incoming Upland wide receiver Nathan Tilford. Another 2017 athlete, 6-foot-2 Dylan Moses, has offers from: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Texas, UCLA.

Schools have nothing to lose from early offers and commitments, but one wonders if their time might be better spent. Even as the tactic spreads, projecting the development of young athletes remains a bit of a dice roll.

According to ESPN, Stone hasn’t even personally talked to any Bruin coaches yet; all contact has been through his coach. Obviously, a lot can change before he ever actually signs a scholarship: he might not develop as expected; coaches could leave; the world as we know it could end.

Anyway, here are Stone’s highlights. From eighth grade. Continue reading

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JUCO lineman Jermaine Eluemunor commits to UCLA

In less than a week, UCLA has landed two of the nation’s top JUCO prospects. Tackle Jermaine Eluemunor visited Westwood this weekend and committed before he left, joining fellow four-star recruit Dominick Jackson as the Bruins’ newest commits.

Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm continues to solidify his reputation as one of the country’s best recruiters after landing a seven-man class in February, this time pulling Eluemunor all the way from Lackawanna C.C. in Pennsylvania to bolster the class of 2014.

The presence of All-American Xavier Su’a-Filo also helped convince the 6-foot-6, 300-pounder to pick UCLA over the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio State and USC.

From Rivals.com: Continue reading

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Report: Vanderdoes left Notre Dame for ailing family member

When Eddie Vanderdoes officially signed with UCLA earlier this week, breaking his letter of intent with Notre Dame, the five-star defensive lineman only cited “very personal reasons.”

A report from CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman sheds a little more light on the situation. Sources told Feldman that one of Vanderdoes’ close relatives was diagnosed with a severe illness a few months ago, prompting him to push for a release from Notre Dame.

The Irish have declined to do so, with head coach Brian Kelly explaining that he needed to protect the integrity of his program. Left unsaid was that no head coach wants set a precedent by allowing recruits to renege on their letters of intent.

Unless Vanderdoes and his family can successfully push for a release, perhaps through an appeal, the top-rated lineman will lose a year of eligibility and start playing in 2014.

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Eddie Vanderdoes announces for UCLA, breaking NLI with Notre Dame

Eddie Vanderdoes officially announced this morning his intention to enroll at UCLA, paving his way to a future in blue and gold.

The five-star defensive lineman originally signed to Notre Dame, but said he needed to be closer to his family in Northern California. The Placer High product was not officially released from his national letter of intent, but the Irish lifted the recruiting ban — a step that allowed him to sign grant-in-aid and enroll at another school.

Notre Dame said it does not intend to release Vanderdoes from his letter of intent, meaning that he cannot play for the Bruins until 2014.

Here is Vanderdoes’ statement, one he texted to the Sacramento Bee and other outlets.

“I would like to thank the University of Notre Dame for lifting the recruiting ban and allowing me to sign an athletic scholarship with UCLA. Over the past four months, circumstances have changed for me and my family. For very personal reasons, I feel a strong need to remain close to home and be near those who are most important in my life.

“I am honored and humbled that Note Dame thought enough of me as a person and a football player to offer me a scholarship. They have been very gracious to recognize not only how difficult a decision this was, but also how important it was for me to be near my family at this time. I take my commitments seriously, but as circumstances changed, the most important commitment is the one made to family.”

UCLA head coach Jim Mora confirmed the news shortly after Vanderdoes’ announcement. Unless Notre Dame changes its decision not to release Vanderdoes, he will have to sit out a season and lose a year of eligibility as a basic penalty for breaking a NLI. He will have four years to play three.

Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement that his school chose not to release Vanderdoes “in order to protect the integrity of that very important program.” Continue reading

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UCLA misses on No. 1 QB Kyle Allen

UCLA put the full-court press on Kyle Allen, but couldn’t close the deal as the No. 1-rated pro-style quarterback picked Texas A&M. The Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.) star also had Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma State.

The Bruins, thought to be the leaders for Allen, now face a tough task in landing a 2014 quarterback: Manny Wilkins and Brad Kaaya were the next targets on the list, but they’ve since verballed to Arizona State and Miami, respectively.

The top uncommitted pro-style quarterback according to Rivals.com rankings is now Palo Alto’s Keller Chryst, whose top four is Stanford, USC, Alabama and Pitt.

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