UCLA football gains 17 recruits during first day of early signing period
UCLA football coach Chip Kelly was able to secure 17 signees on the first day of the early signing period Wednesday. Five commits remain unsigned. (Amy Dixon/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Sam Connon
Dec. 18, 2019 9:22 p.m.
This post was updated Dec. 18 at 9:39 p.m.
Chip Kelly and his recruiting staff pulled off one final Hail Mary on the first day of the early signing period.
Seventeen recruits signed a national letter of intent to join UCLA football next season, with the top-ranked prospects being four-star pro-style quarterback Parker McQuarrie and four-star outside linebacker Damian Sellers. McQuarrie had already committed to the Bruins, but Sellers made his commitment Wednesday afternoon.
Sellers is currently UCLA’s highest-ranked recruit, coming in as the No. 183 prospect in the country after racking up 65 tackles and 8.5 sacks during his senior season at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. The 6-foot-4 rising freshman will be joining a linebacker corps that will graduate five of its biggest contributors and will be the third-highest rated recruit Kelly has reeled in since coming to Westwood.
After the addition of Sellers, the Bruins’ class jumped up to the No. 28 class in the nation, 12 spots higher than UCLA finished in last year’s recruiting cycle.
Sellers may be joining a depleted group of linebackers when he takes the field in blue and gold next season, but he isn’t the only recruit entering into a thinned-out depth chart.
With senior kicker JJ Molson graduating, UCLA will have to find a new placekicker for the 2020 season. One option is incoming three-star recruit Luke Akers, son of six-time Pro Bowl kicker David Akers, who committed to the Bruins over the summer and signed his NLI on Wednesday.
McQuarrie committed in the spring and was one of the first Bruins to make the partnership official Wednesday morning. The 6-foot, 7-inch quarterback is the top recruit coming out of New Hampshire and will bolster a quarterback room that will return its starter, backup, third-string and former four-star recruit redshirt freshman Colson Yankoff, who sat out last season because of transfer eligibility rules.
Two of UCLA’s 17 signees Wednesday, linebacker Caleb Johnson and defensive end Mitchell Agude, were transfers themselves. Agude, a product of Riverside City College, was rated as the No. 10 junior college prospect in the country, while Johnson came out of Fullerton College ranked No. 40 among JuCo recruits.
Wide receiver Logan Loya committed to the Bruins on Nov. 4, and while he earned a three-star rating in 247Sports’ composite rankings, he has been graded as high as four stars by certain experts on the site. Loya hauled in 62 receptions for 977 yards and eight touchdowns this season with St. John Bosco High School.
But since Loya was unable to secure a consensus four-star rating, Kelly ended day one with two true four-stars and zero five-stars in his 2020 class. Kelly has yet to earn an NLI from a five-star recruit since joining UCLA.
Three high schoolers and two transfers who had all previously committed to UCLA – all of whom are three-star recruits – have yet to sign their NLIs and officially become Bruins. They have until Friday to sign with UCLA, or else they will have to wait for the standard signing period to open Feb. 5.
Last year, 77% of nationally-ranked recruits signed in the early signing period, up from 65% in the 2018 cycle – the year the early signing period was put in place.