Tuesday was the first day of the Evaluation Period, which was the first opportunity for college coaches to visit 2015 recruits at their high school campuses and call them (head coaches are only allowed to call, per NCAA rules).
For the next several days following the beginning of the Evaluation Period, then, there are always plenty of indications which recruits UCLA is targeting, depending on whom the coaches went to see and whom they called.
UCLA, too, has had a good turnout of unofficial visitors to campus this week, mostly since it's spring break for many high school students. Thursday, in fact, looks to be another pretty big day for official visits.
We're hearing that Rasheem Green, the five-star defensive lineman from Gardena Serra, plans to visit practice today. It would be his second look at a UCLA spring practice, and his third time on campus in a few weeks.
Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton linebacker Osa Masina is expected. He's doing a spring break, west-coast tour, having visited Stanford and Cal last weekend, USC Tuesday, UCLA Thursday and then ASU this weekend.
UCLA-committed running back Bolu Olorunfunmi, from Fresno Clovis West, is expected to be at Thursday's practice.
Kahlil McKenzie, the defensive line target from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, visited UCLA and practice Wednesday, and we've heard he came away very impressed (and said so on his Twitter). McKenzie is one of those recruits that is taking some extensive unofficial visits, and programs are rolling out red carpets for him, so it was critical to put on a good show for him, and we've heard UCLA definitely met with McKenzie's approval. UCLA assistant Angus McClure, who recruits Northern California, was also on De La Salle's campus Tuesday.
UCLA-committed athlete Jaason Lewis, from Virginia, also flew into L.A. and was on campus Wednesday, taking in the last few minutes of practice, and we've heard he's been helping to recruit McKenzie. Lewis is expected to be on campus Thursday, too, and attend practice.
Buffalo (New York) Canisius defensive end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. was at UCLA's practice Wednesday, and Jim Mora spent a good 20 minutes of his practice time talking up Tyrone Wheatley Sr.
UCLA is recruiting a number of out-of-the-region offensive line prospects, and from what we've heard from sources back east, it looks like UCLA's best chance is with Drew Richmond, the 6-6, 290-pounder from Memphis (Tenn.) University, the #11-ranked offensive tackle prospect in the nation. Richmond intends to unofficially visit UCLA, but the trip isn't planned as yet. We're told he's established a very good relationship with UCLA Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm.
Klemm was out Tuesday at a few high schools, specifically Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde to see OL target Tevita Halalilo. We have sources at the high school that told us Halalilo was really pleased that Klemm came to see him on the first day of the Evaluation Period, that it made a big impression. We reported previously that Halalilo could be the first OL to commit for 2015, and we're hearing again that could be the case, and sooner rather than later.
Staying with the OL theme, UCLA is doing very well with Roy Hemsley, the 6-6, 280-pounder from Los Angeles Windward, and he's expected to attend UCLA's practice Thursday. Hemsley, you might remember, attended UCLA's first spring practice, which was at 7:00 a.m. He's also been to USC's practice, and we're hearing it probably is a UCLA-USC battle for him at this point.
Zach Robertson, the 6-5, 320-pounder from Bellflower St. John Bosco, has made it pretty clear that UCLA is his leader, and it's thought that it's just a matter of time before he commits.
UCLA probably has 4 scholarships to give to the 2015 offensive line class, so if it could get commitments from, say, Hemsley, who is projected as a tackle, and then either Halalilo or Robertson, who are projected as guards, by the end of the summer, it'd put UCLA in a very good spot to then take a shot at Richmond and other elite guys that might wait until Signing Day. Things might change, too, after Klemm and the UCLA coaches are on the road more during the Evaluation Period, and as a result of UCLA's camps in June.
A new name to watch is Semisi Uluave, the 6-4, 300-pounder from Honolulu (Haw) Punahou. He has a very nice collection of offers, some from the Pac-12. Uluave is also high school teammates with one of UCLA's prime targets in the 2015 class, defensive end Canton Kaumatule. New UCLA assistant coach Mike Tuiasosopo has a connection into Kaumatule and Punahou, and Klemm knows the Uluave family from his playing days at the University of Hawaii. It might be a case that Tuiasosopo or Klemm, or both, have to take a trip to Hawaii this spring to check out Uluave in person before offering him.
We've heard that Jim Mora himself spoke with Kaumatule Tuesday.
UCLA is recruiting Austin Bryant, the #26-ranked defensive end in the nation, from Thomasville (Georgia) Thomas County Central. We've heard that Mora called him Tuesday.
It's always been thought that UCLA was on the very short list for Keisean Lucier-South, the defensive end/linebacker from Orange (Calif.) Lutheran, but we've hear lately that it really is uncertain which programs are at the top of Lucier-South's list. Mora called Lucier-South Tuesday and Jeff Ulbrich and Kennedy Polamalu were at his school first thing in the morning.
We had heard, too, that UCLA was doing very well with Isaiah Langley, the defensive back prospect from Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill, but that Langley could have some concerns with UCLA's young depth in the secondary. In fact, we've heard that there are some programs that have been telling a few 2015 defensive backs about UCLA's depth. McClure was on Foothill's campus Tuesday to see Langley, but we haven't heard if the subject of the secondary depth chart came up.
In fact, the story had gotten around a few weeks ago that Marvell Tell, the safety prospect from Encino Crespi, was also concerned with UCLA's secondary depth, but he spent a day at UCLA last week, went to practice, sat in on meetings, etc., and the word is that UCLA is back in a very good spot for him. Mora himself called Tell Tuesday.
With limited scholarships to give to 2015 secondary prospects, we could see UCLA getting a fairly early commitment from Dechaun Holiday, the defensive back prospect from San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills, who we know UCLA is doing well with (Mora spoke with Holiday Tuesday), and then go after the other big fish of Tell, Langley, Iman Marshall, the elite defensive back from Long Beach Poly, and Stanley Norman, the Gardena Serra corner prospect. We've also heard that UCLA is in good shape with Hunter Dale, the emerging safety prospect from River Ridge (Louisiana) John Curtis Christian, the high school of incoming freshman linebacker Kenny Young.
Mora's first call on Tuesday was to Marshall, and UCLA Defensive Backs Coach Demetrius Martin spent a good amount of time at Poly during the day.
We heard that Tuesday Mora put in a call to Taeon Mason, the defensive back from Pasadena (Calif.) Muir, who is committed to USC. The word is that UCLA has a reasonable chance to flip him from the Trojans.
It appears UCLA and USC are both making each other put in a good deal of work with a number of recruits.