3 Biggest Questions UCLA Needs to Answer Before 2014 Signing Day
The UCLA Bruins are poised to sign another strong recruiting class in 2014 under Jim Mora and his staff.
Mora has done a great job of utilizing young talent on his roster. This past season, 18 true freshmen saw time on the field. Many of those young players were integral fixtures on the team.
However, there are some questions that Mora has to answer within this recruiting cycle. A few areas do need improvement, and there's less than two months for the Bruins to fulfill those weaknesses.
Let's take a look at three questions UCLA will have to answer as signing day approaches.
Will UCLA Address the Quarterback Position?
UCLA is in a bit of a perilous situation when it comes to the quarterback situation.
At this juncture, Brett Hundley hasn't publicly said whether he intends to return to school next year. He very well could leave for the NFL and, theoretically, be a very high draft choice.
The depth behind Hundley is paper-thin. Should Hundley depart for the NFL, the job would likely fall onto the shoulders of freshman Asiantii Woulard. Woulard is far from proven, considering that he's currently redshirting. The only other scholarship quarterback currently on the roster is Jerry Neuheisel.
Conventional wisdom suggests that UCLA should absolutely sign a signal-caller in this cycle. After Kyle Allen committed to Texas A&M, the top target is seemingly Brad Kaaya.
Kaaya, a current Miami pledge, is from the greater Los Angeles area. He appears to be UCLA's top target at the position as of right now.
If UCLA loses out on Kaaya, it'll likely have to wait for the loaded quarterback class out West in 2015.
UCLA's current stable of offensive skill players isn't poor by any stretch. As a whole, it's a productive group with ability.
However, it's not one with a true game-breaker. There's not a player on the roster who can take a five-yard pass and turn it into a 50-yard touchdown. The bottom line is that the Bruins need an influx of talent at both the running back and wide receiver position.
Current commitments Austin Roberts, Jordan Lasley and Alex Van Dyke should help the wide receiving corps considerably. Lasley is a burner in space, while Roberts and Van Dyke are bigger, taller options. Marlon Mack out of Sarasota, Fla. is the lone running back commitment for the Bruins.
Of the non-committed prospects, the two top targets for UCLA are Joe Mixon and Michiah Quick. Mixon would instantly impact the running back depth chart. He's too great of a talent to not see considerable time on the field as a true freshman.
Quick is the type of athletic, agile receiver missing from UCLA's current roster. He'd also have the potential to play right away.
Can UCLA Land Elite Talent from Outside of California?
UCLA is placing an impetus upon recruiting elite talent from all across the country. The Southern part of the United States, in particular, is an area that the Bruins are trying to make inroads.
The Bruins have commitments from offensive lineman Najee Toran and defensive back John Plattenburg. Both hail from the state of Texas. Other out-of-state commitments include running back Marlon Mack (Florida) and 4-star wide receiver Austin Roberts (Indiana).
UCLA is making a strong push for Malachi Dupre, Kenny Young and Mattrell McGraw. All three Louisiana natives will visit UCLA officially (per Scout.com) on the last weekend before National Signing Day.
Elite linebacker prospect Zach Whitley out of Texas recently visited UCLA on an official visit. The Alabama commitment is a high school teammate of Toran. Linebacker Rashaan Evans out of Alabama is another heavily targeted prospect.
Lastly, defensive ends Harrison Phillips, Solomon Thomas and Davon Godchaux are all out-of-state prospects in which UCLA would love to land.
It will be fascinating to see whether or not UCLA can continue its trend of landing legitimate talent from outside of California. A win against Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl would give UCLA its first 10-win season since 2005. It could, in some ways, legitimize UCLA as an up-and-coming program for various recruits.
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