5 Newcomers to Watch for the UCLA Bruins in 2018

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson headlines Chip Kelly's first recruiting class

New UCLA head coach Chip Kelly' performed impressively in his first high-profile task. Kelly landed the nation's No. 18-ranked recruiting class per 247Sports, beginning the process of cultivating the program in his vision.

 

UCLA brings dynamic playmakers on both sides of the ball as part of the 2018 recruiting class. Some will have immediate impact on the state of Bruins football.

 

Bryan Addison, ATH

Although Gardena, California-based Serra High School head coach Scott Altenberg is the son of a UCLA legend, the Southern California prep powerhouse has done more to benefit the Bruins’ archrival, USC. Serra standouts Adoree' Jackson, Marqise Lee, Robert Woods and Deontay Burnett are just a few of the former Cavaliers who made significant impacts for the Trojans in recent seasons.

 

UCLA scored a major win landing a Serra recruit in the 2018 signing class. Addison, a 4-star athlete, is a unique prospect with the size (6-5) of a big-play wide receiver, but he could compete for an immediate role in the Bruins’ secondary at safety with long-time starter Jaleel Wadood's eligibility lapsed.

 

Bo Calvert, LB

Reinforcements arrive for the worst run defense in the nation. Calvert, a four-star linebacker out of Southern California prep power Oaks Christian, could provide the Bruins an immediate boost.

 

Heavily recruited by a variety of Pac-12 schools, including at one point favoring USC, Calvert brings impressive size and athleticism to the Bruins’ linebacking corps. He has physical attributes similar to those of former UCLA star and current Minnesota Viking Anthony Barr.

 

Chase Cota, WR

UCLA has had to replace some excellent wide receivers in recent years, including Jordan Payton and most recently, Jordan Lasley. Lasley's record-setting performances late in the season will be difficult for the Bruins to replicate, particularly Darren Andrews, the team star’s receiver in the first half of the 2017 season, graduating.

 

Cota is a prospect from South Medford High School, near Kelly's old stomping grounds in Oregon, who comes in ready to help bolster a new-look receiving corps.

 

The 6-foot-3 Cota should pair well with returnee Theo Howard to give UCLA a pair of big-body targets in the Bruins’ new-look offense.

 

Michael Ezeike, TE

A National Signing Day flip to UCLA from USC, the Ontario (Calif.) Colony product should fit well into Kelly's scheme. He'll join returnee Caleb Wilson, a breakout performer for the Bruins in 2017 before a midseason injury, to give UCLA a look comparable to Kelly's 2011 Oregon Ducks.

 

That team used both Colt Lyerla and David Paulson, attacking defenses with size to complement the offense's speed. And with Kelly's proven willingness to line up tight ends as H-backs, as well, there is no shortage of possibilities for Ezeike in his system.

 

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB

The most hyped prospect in Kelly's first UCLA recruit class arrives with lofty accolades in part because he looks the part of a Kelly-coached superstar.

 

Thompson-Robinson brings high-4-star accolades to Westwood, as well as a celebrated dual-threat game ripe for stardom on the collegiate stage.

 

The competition between Thompson-Robinson and returnee Devin Modster should be one of the more intriguing storylines of the Pac-12's offseason. Modster showed potential while backing up Josh Rosen in 2017, and starred as a dual-threat playmaker in his own right in high school.

 

No matter if he wins the starting job or, Thompson-Robinson brings instant excitement and new energy to UCLA.

 

— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Kensing is publisher of TheOpenMan.com. Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.

Event Date: 
Friday, February 9, 2018 - 15:44

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