Grad transfer OL Sunny Odogwu chooses UCLA

Jim Mora’s search for grad transfer talent came up big Friday as the Bruins landed the commitment of former Miami right tackle Sunny Odogwu.

Odogwu chose UCLA over Michigan and can add immediate help to an much-maligned offensive line. While earning his bachelor’s degree at Miami, he started 14 games but dealt with major injuries late in his career.

The 6-foot-8, 325-pound right tackle missed the final game of the 2015 season due to knee surgery and only lasted five games of the 2016 year after he broke his lower leg in a game against Florida State.

A native of Nigeria, Odogwu came to the United States when he was 16 after his father died. He originally came to pursue a basketball career, but found football as a senior in high school. He’s known to be personable and warm, just as his name would suggest.

“That’s who I am, that’s who God made me and I appreciate that,” he told the Miami Herald in 2015. “But as a player I just put my head down and go to work every day knowing that the coaches have my best interest and the team’s best interest at heart.”

UCLA’s offensive line struggled last year, but returned every starter except for left tackle Conor McDermott. If Odogwu sticks at right tackle, he’ll displace Kenny Lacy, who took over the spot during spring practice. Lacy did not particularly shine during spring camp as he repeatedly lost one-on-one reps against UCLA’s fast edge rushers. UCLA’s starting offensive line, from left to right, during spring practice was Kolton Miller, Andre James, Scott Quessenberry, Najee Toran and Lacy.

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UCLA loses commitment from safety Jhevon Hill

UCLA lost its longest-committed player for the 2018 recruiting class Wednesday as Jhevon Hill backed out of his verbal pledge to the Bruins.

When the three-star safety from Cajon High in San Bernardino committed to UCLA on March 8, he wrote on Twitter that UCLA was his “childhood ream school.” However, he has since pulled in offers from Arizona and Arizona State. He also has Pac-12 offers from Utah, Cal and Washington State.

The Bruins have two safeties for their 2018 class and both are four-star prospects: Stephan Blaylock (St. John Bosco) and Cam’ron Jones (Mansfield High in Texas). UCLA didn’t sign any safeties in its deep 2017 defensive back group.

UCLA’s nine remaining commits:

  • ATH Isaiah Johnson
  • DL Aaron Maldonado
  • OL Blake McDonald
  • S Cam’ron Jones
  • WR Kyle Phillips
  • RB AJ Carter
  • QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
  • S Stephan Blaylock
  • DL Niti Liu
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UCLA lands commitment from 3-star defensive lineman

UCLA landed its second defensive lineman for it’s 2018 recruiting class on Tuesday as three-star defensive tackle Niti Liu announced his verbal commitment to the Bruins on Twitter.

The 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect from Sacramento’s Grant Union High is the No. 10-ranked defensive tackle in the West and No. 6 in California, according to Scout.com.

He also had offers from Arizona, Colorado State and Fresno State. UCLA was the first school to offer him.

Bishop Amat’s Aaron Maldonado is UCLA’s other defensive line commit for the 2018 class. Liu brings UCLA’s group to 10:

Other UCLA verbal commits: Continue reading “UCLA lands commitment from 3-star defensive lineman” »

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Early signing period for Division I football approved

The Collegiate Commissioners Association approved an early signing period for Division I football on Monday, officially allowing recruits in the 2018 class to sign their national letters of intent as early as Dec. 20.

The traditional signing period that begins in February is still available, but now recruits can choose to sign during a 72-hour window from Dec. 20-22. The new period coincides with the first three days of the junior college transfer signing period. The NCAA Division I Council already approved the change in April.

UCLA has nine verbal commits so far for the 2018 class who could consider using the early signing period to lock down their spots in Westwood. The group is led by four-star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman and includes three safeties: four-star prospects Stephan Blaylock (St. John Bosco) and Cam’ron Jones (Mansfield High, Texas) and three-star recruit Jhevon Hill (Cajon).

Other UCLA verbal commits:

  • ATH Isaiah Johnson
  • DL Aaron Maldonado
  • OT Blake McDonald
  • WR Kyle Phillips
  • RB AJ Carter
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St. John Bosco DB Stephan Blaylock commits to UCLA

UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin is stocking up on safeties for the 2018 recruiting class.

St. John Bosco’s Stephan Blaylock announced his commitment to UCLA on Friday, giving UCLA three verbal commitments from safeties for this recruiting cycle.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Blaylock is the No. 4 safety in California, according to Scout.com. He’s ranked as a four-star recruit by Scout, Rivals and ESPN.

Blaylock picked UCLA over Oregon, Nebraska, Washington State and Colorado. He will play in the Polynesian Bowl next year.

After signing four cornerbacks in the 2017 class, Martin now has pledges from two four-star safeties in Blaylock and Cam’ron Jones and a three-star in Jhevon Hill. Blaylock is UCLA’s ninth verbal commit for the 2018 class, which is led by top quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Blaylock’s junior season highlights:

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