Elder commits to Miami

For anyone still holding out hope that Cornelius Elder would commit to UCLA, he’s on his way to Miami after the school offered him a football scholarship this morning. He accepted on the spot and will also play basketball for the Hurricanes. Tennessee’s two-time Mr. Football (Division II-AA) led the Ensworth School to three straight titles, but might rely on his quickness too much to be an every-down back.

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Willis officially sends letter of intent

Defensive back Priest Willis officially joined UCLA’s 2013 recruiting class Saturday, calming anyone who worried about a last-minute defection. A star at Marcos De Niza High in Tempe, Ariz., Willis is the Bruins’ most highly rated recruit: Scout.com has him as a five-star prospect and the fourth-best cornerback in the country, while Rivals.com ranks him as a four-star safety and No. 56 overall in the country.

He had committed to UCLA in a press conference on Jan. 23, just hours after his friend Tahaan Goodman — a four-star safety out of Rancho Cucamonga — had done the same. However, Willis’ mother left town for a few days this week and had neglected to sign his National Letter of Intent; that left his paperwork out of the 23 faxes that the Bruins received Wednesday.

UCLA should now vault back into the top 10 of the Rivals.com rankings; the site had dropped the team to No. 11 because Willis didn’t send his letter in on National Signing Day.

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Klemm named Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year

Not tremendously surprising, but UCLA offensive line coach was named FoxSports/Scout.com’s Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year today. His efforts in reeling in seven offensive linemen — all of whom — laid the foundation for what the site ranks as the nation’s No. 5 class.

From Scout.com:

Klemm signed the top-ranked offensive tackle in California, Arizona and Tennessee and also landed a four-star lineman from Texas, and put together the second-ranked offensive line class in the country while also being one of the point men on four-star receiver Eldridge Massington from Texas.

UCLA signed eight offensive linemen in 2004, but this year’s haul knocks that one out of the water. The Bruins also had that many in 2004, but only one received four-star ranking from Scout.com. All but two members of Klemm’s group have four stars.

Lane Kiffin’s brother, Chris, received national Recruiter of the Year honors for his work at Ole Miss — reeling in defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the overall No. 1 prospect, and the nation’s No. 10 class despite the program being just two years removed from a 2-10 season. This is mildly amusing considering the recent attrition of USC’s class.

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UCLA commitment list

As of 5:45 p.m., UCLA’s 2013 class is ranked No. 4 and 9 on Scout and Rivals, respectively. USC sits at No. 17 and 13, marking the first time the Bruins are ahead in both rankings since 2002.

Here’s the full list of the commitments. You can find profiles of each player on our full Signing Day page. Five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes announced his decision to go to Notre Dame.

R = Rivals.com | S = Scout.com | p = position | n = national | EE = early enrollee

WR Eldridge Massington — R: 4 stars, 35 (p), 249 (n) — S: 4 stars, 27 (p) — EE
P Sean Covington — R: 3 stars, 3 (p) — S: 2 stars, NA
OLB Deon Hollins — R: 4 stars, 18 (p), 206 (n) — S: 4 stars, 21 (p)
OG Caleb Benenoch — R: 4 stars, 23 (p) — S: 4 stars, 11 (p)
S Tahaan Goodman — R: 4 stars, 9 (p), 80 (n) — S: 4 stars, 7 (p)
CB Johnny Johnson — R: 4 stars, 13 (p), 169 (n) — S: 4 stars, 8 (p)
S Tyler Foreman — R: 4 stars, 24 (p) — S: 4 stars, 8 (p)
OT Kenny Lacy — R: 4 stars, 23 (p) — S: 4 stars, 18 (p)
WR Darren Andrews — R: 3 stars, NA — S: 3 stars, 111 (p)
OG John Lopez — R: 4 stars, 12 (p), 191 (n) — S: 3 stars, 29 (p)
OLB Jayon Brown — R: 3 stars, NA — S: 3 stars, 87 (p)
DT Kenneth Clark — R: 4 stars, 24 (p) — S: 4 stars, 20 (p)
DE Kylie Fitts — R: 4 stars, 9 (p), 121 (n) — S: 4 stars, 12 (p) — EE (spring quarter)
ATH/RB Jalen Ortiz — R: 3 stars, 27 (p, ATH) — S: 4 stars, 66 (p, RB)
OT Poasi Moala — R: 4 stars, 23 (p) — S: 4 stars, 11 (p)
TE Thomas Duarte — R: 4 stars, 29 (p, WR), 229 (n) — S: 4 stars, 8 (p, TE)
QB Asiantii Woulard — R: 4 stars, 5 (p, 2-threat QB), 141 (n) — S: 4 stars, 34 (p, QB)
C Scott Quessenberry — R: 3 stars, 5 (p) — S: 3 stars, 7 (p)
OT Christian Morris — R: 4 stars, 10 (p), 128 (n) — S: 4 stars, 20 (p)
ILB Isaac Savaiinaea — R: 3 stars, 44 (p) — S: 4 stars, 3 (p)
OG Alex Redmond — R: 4 stars, 17 (p) — S: 4 stars, 14 (p)
OLB Myles Jack — R: 4 stars, 16 (p), 199 (n) — S: 4 stars, 4 (p)
LB Cameron Judge — R: 3 stars, 41 (p) — S: 4 stars, 20 (p)

***
Four-star DB Priest Willis won’t sign his letter of intent today because his mother is out of town, but verbally reaffirmed his commitment to UCLA. Four-star RB Craig Lee is unable to sign right now due to academics (per Rivals/Scout). ATH/DB Mossi Johnson will grayshirt, so isn’t officially counted yet as part of this class.

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Kylie Fitts picks UCLA

As most expected, four-star defensive end Kylie Fitts committed to UCLA Tuesday night, giving the Bruins an early start to what they hope will be an eventful Signing Day on Wednesday. Fitts will enroll for the spring quarter and arrive on campus April 1. He had originally committed to USC before the school told him he couldn’t enroll early.

Will he have more motivation against the Trojans in the future?

“To be honest, probably,” Fitts said. “I respect all the coaches. I think they’re a great school. But something inside me is going to push me a little harder in that game.”

Here’s the video of his press conference from the Riverside Press-Enterprise. He starts talking at the 30-minute mark after a lot of dead time. Continue reading

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Signing Day schedule

Here are some Signing Day announcement times for prospective UCLA commitments.

OL Christian Morris — 9 a.m. PT
LB Isaac Savaiinaea — 9 a.m. PT
QB Asiantii Woulard — 9:30 a.m. PT (ESPNU)
LB Myles Jack — 1 p.m. PT
LB Cameron Judge — 3 p.m. PT (FoxSportsWest)
DT Eddie Vanderdoes — 5 p.m. PT

Morris and Judge might flip to Ole Miss and ASU, respectively, while Vanderdoes is the big fish everyone is chasing. Woulard, Savaiinaea and Jack seem like safe bets for UCLA.

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Kylie Fitts announcing Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Defensive end Kylie Fitts was originally slated to make his announcement on Signing Day, but it looks like he wants to get the news out a little earlier. Fitts, who decommitted from the Trojans after they wouldn’t let him enroll early, took an unofficial to USC on Sunday after a trip to Utah. Notre Dame is in the picture as well, but eight Rivals.com and two Scout.com analysts unanimously have him going to UCLA.

Here’s a quick profile of the four-star lineman. Continue reading

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