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UCLA Football Recruiting: Meet All the 2014 Signees

Jason FrayCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2014

UCLA Football Recruiting: Meet All the 2014 Signees

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    Credit: 247Sports

    The UCLA Bruins welcomed in 19 new members of the football team on national signing day. 

    Headliners of the group include linebackers Kenny Young and Zach Whitley, safety Jaleel Wadood, cornerback Adarius Pickett and defensive lineman Ainuu Taua. 

    This class does lack an elite playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. However, the group fulfills multiple needs. Depth in the secondary and at wide receiver have been enhanced with this stable of signees. The defensive line and linebackers also enjoyed an influx of talent. 

    Here's a look at all of the 19 signees for the UCLA Bruins in 2014. 

    *All recruiting rankings come courtesy of 247Sports.com, unless otherwise noted. 

Malcolm Bunche

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    Alan Diaz/Associated Press

    Previous institution: Miami

    Position: Offensive line

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 327 lbs

    Malcolm Bunche will instantly impact UCLA's depth chart along the offensive line. The Miami transfer is a fifth-year senior who is eligible to compete in 2014. 

    Versatility is the name of the game for the mammoth lineman. He has the capabilities to play as a tackle or as a guard. UCLA lost talented guard Xavier Su'a-Filo to the NFL. Tackles Torian White and Simon Goines have both battled injuries this past season. 

    With the versatility that Bunche brings, he could slot in at either spot. Although he isn't a high school recruit, he's arguably the most important addition to the squad in 2014. 

Matt Dickerson

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    Credit: 247Sports

    High School: Serra High School (San Mateo, Calif.)

    Position: Defensive line

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 275 lbs

    Matt Dickerson had previously been committed to Notre Dame. According to Mitch Stephens of MaxPreps.com, a family illness led Dickerson to ultimately opt for UCLA. 

    The San Mateo, Calif. product is a versatile athlete. He could play as a defensive end in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. He has long arms and a very good frame. With a bit more bulk, he could conceivably be a defensive tackle as well. 

    A back injury kept him from competing in his senior season. Nevertheless, his upside is immense. Expect him to redshirt in 2014 and get fully healthy. With a year of recuperation and conditioning, he should be able to crack the rotation as a redshirt freshman. 

Denzel Fisher

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    High school: Centennial High School (Compton, Calif.)

    Position: Cornerback

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 170 lbs

    Denzel Fisher has his best football ahead of him. While contributing right away is not completely out of the realm of possibility, he'll likely redshirt in order to gain weight. He needs to get considerably stronger before competing on the collegiate level. 

    However, there's a lot to like about him as a prospect. He is almost praying mantis-like with his body type. He has tremendous length and height for the position. His wingspan allows him to bat down passes with regularity. 

    Fisher could be a potential monster with a redshirt season. In some aspects, he's similar to former UCLA corner Sheldon Price. 

Cameron Griffin

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    High school: View Park Preparatory (Los Angeles, Calif.)

    Position: Linebacker

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 210 lbs

    Much like Fisher, Cameron Griffin is barely scratching the surface of his considerable potential. 

    The linebacker led his high school team with 159 tackles on the season, according to Max Preps. He has very good athleticism and plays with a ton of physicality. Much of that likely stems from him being a standout rugby player. 

    He does need to gain some weight and get physically bigger. Griffin could play early on special teams, but a redshirt year could be in the cards for the talented athlete out of Los Angeles. Interestingly enough, he taught himself how to play the guitar, per the Los Angeles Times.

Jordan Lasley

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    High school: Serra High School (Gardena, Calif.)

    Position: Wide receiver

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    Jordan Lasley is one of three wide receivers that UCLA is bringing in for the 2014 class. Of the three, he is the fastest. He's adept at picking up good yardage after the catch. His combination of quickness and overall speed is something UCLA desperately lacks within its wide receiver corps. 

    There's a decent shot for him to see time early for the Bruins, based on his skill set. Per Scout.com, Lasley chose the Bruins over offers from Southern Cal, Utah and Boise State. 

Kolton Miller

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    Credit: 247Sports

    High school: Roseville High School (Roseville, Calif.)

    Position: Offensive tackle

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 280 lbs

    Kolton Miller is a mountain of a man at 6'8". Despite his height, he's not a lumbering lineman in any sense. He has great bend and lateral mobility—perfect requisites for the tackle position. He has the athleticism to get out on the second level and block downfield quite well. 

    The 4-star lineman will likely redshirt in order to gain weight. Down the line, he has the potential to be a very good player for UCLA. Miller chose the Bruins over offers from Oregon and Wisconsin, among others. 

Adarius Pickett

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    High school: El Cerrito Senior High School (El Cerrito, Calif.)

    Position: Cornerback

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    The San Francisco Chronicle named Adarius Pickett as its top player in the Metro area for 2014. The San Jose Mercury News also listed him as its East Bay Football Player of the Year

    Pickett is an intelligent, cerebral football player with an apropos name for a cornerback. He is also physical at the line of scrimmage. He's great at throwing receivers off their routes. 

    He will enroll at UCLA in March. With a leg up on the rest of the recruits, he could vie for playing time as a true freshman. 

Austin Roberts

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    High school: Carmel High School (Carmel, Ind.)

    Position: Wide receiver

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 211 lbs

    Austin Roberts is one of the more high-profile recruits in this cycle for UCLA. The Army All-American turned down offers from Southern Cal, Alabama, Florida State and Florida in order to sign with the Bruins. 

    He is a physical receiver, punishing opponents with his size. He's proficient at using his body—essentially boxing out opponents like a power forward—in order to make the grab. He is also a strong route-runner. 

    The 4-star athlete will compete with Jordan Payton and others for time in the rotation. It wouldn't be a shock to see him play as a true freshman.

Ron Robinson

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    High school: Santiago High School (Corona, Calif.)

    Position: Safety

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 190 lbs

    Ron Robinson is likely the most under-the-radar recruit of the class. He isn't considered to be a potential star and isn't likely to be an early-impact prospect. 

    However, he does hold some value. He has the frame to potentially become an outside linebacker. Right now, he is a big safety. He has the look of someone who will be a solid role player for the Bruins in years to come. 

    The early enrollee could potentially be a solid special teamer early in his career. 

Aaron Sharp

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    High school: Summer Creek High School (Houston, Texas)

    Position: Quarterback

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 190 lbs

    Aaron Sharp had previously been committed to Kansas State before switching his pledge over to the Bruins in January. 

    The dual-threat signal-caller possesses some serious speed. The Houston Chronicle named him as its high school boys track athlete of the year in 2013. He won three gold medals at the 4A state meet and helped Summer Creek High School capture the team title. According to Sharp's Hudl account, the Houston native runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. 

    He brings much-needed depth to the quarterback position. He'll battle Asiantii Woulard to become the top reserve to Brett Hundley.  

Nathan Starks

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    High school: Cherry Creek High School (Englewood, Colo.)

    Position: Running back

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 200 lbs

    The one-time Bishop Gorman product fills a huge need for the Bruins. Nathan Starks is in the mold of a physical tailback. The majority of the running backs currently on the roster are smaller, quicker types. He is also a threat on passes out of the backfield. 

    It would not be a shock to see him come in right away and make an impact as a true freshman. He's a talented prospect with good overall athleticism. 

Ainuu Taua

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    High school: Lompoc High School (Lompoc, Calif.)

    Position: Defensive line

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 287 lbs

    Ainuu Taua literally plays like his hair is on fire. The undersized defensive lineman displays wonderful energy and quickness. He makes up for his relative lack of size with sheer athleticism. Due to his squat build, he gets great leverage when going up against offensive linemen. 

    Taua will likely start out as a nose guard. However, he's more than capable of playing as a defensive end in UCLA's 3-4 scheme. He also played as a fullback on his high school team. With UCLA having a penchant for utilizing defensive players on offense, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in some offensive packages. 

    The talented 4-star defensive lineman picked UCLA over Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. 

Najee Toran

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    High school: North Shore Senior High School (Galena Park, Texas)

    Position: Offensive guard

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 265 lbs

    Najee Toran was a commitment to Oregon State before flipping to UCLA. A teammate of fellow signee Zach Whitley, Toran is a nasty, punishing lineman. Based on his film above, he's very good at sealing the edge and opening up holes for his running backs. 

    He is still smallish for a guard. Expect the 3-star Texan to redshirt this upcoming season in order to get physically stronger. 

Jacob Tuioti-Mariner

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    High school: St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, Calif.)

    Position: Defensive end

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 265 lbs

    Jacob Tuioti-Mariner had a tremendous season for St. John Bosco. The talented defensive end accrued 108 tackles and 12 sacks on the year.

    He is an athletic player with great pursuit. A quick look at his highlights above will demonstrate what an active defensive end he is. 

    There's no telling how good Tuioti-Mariner can be. Originally a volleyball player, the talented athlete is still relatively raw as a football player. With a redshirt year working on refinement of technique, he will be more prepared for the rigors of college football. 

Alex Van Dyke

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    High school: Cosumnes Oaks High School (Elk Grove, Calif.)

    Position: Wide receiver

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 205 lbs

    Alex Van Dyke is an impressive athlete. The 6'4" wideout has above-average leaping ability and is great at climbing the proverbial ladder to snatch the ball out of the air over defensive backs. Despite his tall stature, he has good straight-line speed and can even make defenders miss in space on shorter routes. 

    Van Dyke could eventually end up at the Y position in Noel Mazzone's offense if he continues to grow. The 4-star receiver chose UCLA over offers from Oregon, Oregon State and Cal. 

Jaleel Wadood

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    High school: St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, Calif.)

    Position: Safety

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 170 lbs

    Jaleel Wadood is a pure football player in every sense of the term. 

    The safety out of St. John Bosco has elite instincts out on the field. His anticipatory skills are impressive, as is his overall understanding of the game. He isn't the biggest or fastest player, but he more than makes up for those minor shortcomings with physicality and intelligence. 

    Expect Wadood to perform right away. He might not start, but the 4-star defensive back should make an impact on special teams during his freshman campaign. 

Zach Whitley

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    High school: North Shore Senior High School (Galena Park, Texas)

    Position: Linebacker

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 223 lbs

    Zach Whitley is the crown jewel in UCLA's 2014 recruiting class. 

    The elite linebacker out of the Houston area has ridiculous sideline-to-sideline ability. He's capable of utilizing his vast athleticism to chase down smaller players. He is violent when defending against the run. He crashes down toward the line of scrimmage with much fervor. 

    Simply put, this is a massive signing for the Bruins. The one-time Alabama commitment will battle Isaako Savaiinaea for the vacant middle linebacker spot next to Eric Kendricks. 

Dwight Williams

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    High school: Serra High School (Gardena, Calif.)

    Position: Linebacker

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 205 lbs

    Dwight Williams joins Jordan Lasley as the second Serra prospect to sign with the Bruins. 

    He is an athletic outside 'backer. He has good coverage skills with the ability to check quick athletes in space. The 4-star athlete has the potential to contribute as a true freshman off the edge.

    Special teams also will likely be on the docket in his inaugural year at UCLA.

Kenny Young

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    Credit: 247Sports

    High school: John Curtis Christian High School (New Orleans, La.)

    Position: Linebacker

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Kenny Young is one of the more talented linebackers in the Southeast. Landing Young against the likes of Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and LSU is a massive achievement for the Bruins. 

    He excels in the box close to the line of scrimmage. He's adept at exploiting gaps within the offensive line and crashing forward for tackles in the backfield. Much like Whitley, Young is a physical specimen. 

    The 4-star linebacker will vie for time early in his career for UCLA. It would be a surprise for him not to play in some capacity as a true freshman. 

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