Everything you need to know and what actually matters about the 2019 UCLA Bruin recruiting class.
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This is going to be interesting. Blow off everything all the recruiting types might have you believe when it comes to what a program needs to succeed. For Chip Kelly, he’s going for guys who really fit his type. Last year’s class had the typical big-time talents the program is used to, but this one? There were a few, but it’s been a different sort of recruiting season.
It’s a good class that’s going to get dogged by some, but that’s because it’s a bit unconventional. Kelly went hard after guys who’ll do what he wants to accomplish on both sides of the ball. That means he went after prospects for a specific fit.
Kelly also went big. He seemed to like the guys with the bulk, signing on large receivers – most notably, 6-5, 215-pound Charles Njoku – after getting a slew of big targets last year. He also signed a big running back in 6-2, 215-pound Jahmon McClendon, and big, versatile prospects who’ll find a spot somewhere. Those guys are big, too.
PK JJ Molson wasn’t bad last season, hitting 14-of-19 field goals, but he’s done after next season. In come two kickers – Carson Olivas and Nick Barr-Mira – to get a year to figure out who’s next.
Chase Griffin is a marginal quarterback prospect, but he’s strictly for depth with Dorian Thompson-Robinson the likely main man for the next few years. Kelly needs more options, though – that’s coming in 2020.
The Bruins got a terrific tight end in Mike Martinez, but other parts of the class could be converted into the position. Again, the class has big prospects who could be moved around.
What did the team need the most? More guys and more options for the offensive line. Last year’s class was way light in numbers and raw talent, and this one should be a whole lot better. Sean Rhyan needs to grow into a rock of a tackle in the next few seasons.
Next year’s class needs more defensive linemen, too. The ends are tall, but they need to get bulkier. There’s a whole lot of room on the frames of Noah Keeter and Datona Jackson to get a whole lot bigger.
Yeah, there’s a definite plan in place here. But it would be nice to get the top-shelf prospects who also fit what Kelly’s looking for. His Oregon classes had that, and he created a monster.