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June 25, 2012

Monday's Mail

Editor's note: Every Monday BSR Publisher Edward Lewis will answer some questions from fans about the Bruins in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to edwardflewis@yahoo.com, @EdwardLewisBSR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on BSR's Facebook page.

Trevor: I've read so many different opinions of Eddie Printz after his performances this weekend that I don't know what to believe. What exactly happened out there?

I like the way you phrase this question, because it's true: It appears five different evaluators went out there to his tournaments and saw five different things. Really, the facts are he threw 110 competitive passes this weekend. He tossed 45 on Saturday in a best-of-five series against Troy Williams' 1925 7-on-7 team, and then he threw 65 more balls on Sunday in UCLA's 7-on-7 tournament, and that was it. He never put on a helmet or shoulder pads, he never faced a pass rush, he never had any real pressure to win the football game, and he never played on a field longer than 40 yards. It was just seven dudes in shorts and sleeveless shirts playing seven others in the same attire, running around and getting some exercise in.

As for Printz's performance itself, I thought he played particularly well. We've recited the statistics ad nauseum on this site, but they came out to 65-for-110 for 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. I don't care if you're playing Madden against your little brother, those are some awfully good stats. As for how he looked mechanically, physically, mentally, etc., that's where the subjective stuff comes into play. I broke down all of his attributes on Sunday night, and honestly found nothing really wrong with him. You can make the case that his spiral isn't as tight as it could be on some of his throws, but when his ball spins off axis, it doesn't affect the results. The ball still fits into tight windows, it still comes with some pretty good zip on it and the accuracy is still solid.

I've seen Jared Goff, Max Browne, Troy Williams, Zack Greenlee, Hayden Rettig and a dozen other quarterbacks play in person in the last few weeks, and the only guy who I can say looks definitively better than Printz was Browne. Otherwise, Printz looked as good or better than any of them. I'd be surprised if he isn't a four-star QB by the time the final rankings come out after his senior season is played.


Jb 99: Have you heard any comments or thoughts from the UCLA staff regarding Printz' performance this weekend?

Coaches aren't allowed to publicly talk about prospective student-athletes until they've signed with the team, so there won't be any quotes from coaches on Printz in the media until February. However, we have heard their thoughts on him indirectly through players, high school coaches and dads, and the responses were all positive. Noel Mazzone saw him for the first time in person during the May evaluation period and apparently loved him and saw no reason to back off the one-quarterback commitment they made to him. Then, during Sunday's 7-on-7 scrimmage, head coach Jim Mora got to see him in person and apparently came away happy with him as well.

In fact, according to Team Georgia's coaching staff, they tried to rotate Printz's backup in during their second game of the day on Sunday, but UCLA wanted to see Printz shred up Frat Boyz's secondary more, so they left him in there. The entire coaching staff looked on with smiles on their faces.

I don't think you'll hear any coach knock Printz both privately or publicly. He's not a finished product yet, but a 6-foot-4, 212-pound athlete who has good accuracy, solid arm strength and blue chip intangibles is a perfect foundation for UCLA to start with.


SouthOCPsyD: What school do you predict Nico Falah will commit to in July (I believe that is when he is supposed to be announcing)? What school do you predict Nico to sign with come February? Is Nico good enough to plug into one of the starting OT spots as a freshman? Could / should he be in the two-deep as a freshman?

Falah's recruiting process is going to go all the way down to probably the last few hours of Signing Day in February. He's by far the best tackle prospect on the West Coast, and with UCLA and USC being the only two left in the running for him, they're going to go blow for blow for him until then.

The way I see it playing out is he commits to USC early, perhaps even in two weeks, because he needs them to save that scholarship for him if that's indeed where he wants to end up. However, once he commits, his recruitment will be nowhere near over. He loves USC because it wins all the time and it produces NFL players at his position. And he loves UCLA because Adrian Klemm is one of the coolest guys on the planet and is one of the best O-line coaches in Division I. Plus, he's a huge fan of Mora as well. So ultimately, I think he commits to USC next month, and if UCLA puts out a solid product on the field, showcases it's moving in the right direction, and promises him Klemm will be his coach for the longhaul, I think he ends up flipping commits before Signing Day.

As for how good he is, I could see him battling for a starting job on Day One wherever he goes. He's not a five-star offensive lineman, but he's pretty close to it, and could be in the two-deep even on some of the most talented teams in the nation.


Sean: Give us your favorite recruits from the weekend. Who was the best? Who does UCLA need? Who do I want to root for to sign with us?

The best prospect in attendance was Alabama commit Tyren Jones. I think he ended up as Team Georgia's leading receiver this weekend, even though he's a true running back. He can fly, and from what we heard, if Alabama ends up taking another running back or two, he might start searching around a little bit, which could open the door for UCLA. Other standouts were tight end Evan Engram, whom I'd be shocked if the Bruins didn't offer this summer; Tyler Foreman, who is a long, rangy center fielder; and Joshua Taylor, who dominated the UCLA 7-on-7 tournament Sunday.

The guy who I think UCLA "needs" or who you should "root for" is Brendan Langley. He's probably the most elite cornerback prospect I've seen in person in this class. He's super physical at the line of scrimmage, already has a D-I frame and he has nice ball instincts. With his positive visit to California, UCLA is suddenly in the mix. It will take a lot to pull him out of SEC country, but Klemm's on him, which gives the Bruins a fighting chance.


SouthOCPsyD: How good can Zach LaVine be - and where do you think he will end up being ranked by the end of the year? Do you think Stevie Clark would fit well with LaVine? Has Ben Howland / UCLA gotten their recruiting mojo back - and what type of class do you think he will sign by the recruiting deadline?

LaVine is probably my favorite guard prospect on the West Coast, just ahead of Isaac Hamilton over at St. John Bosco. Not only is he a great shooter, a great scorer, and a great dribble-drive guy, but he also has a 6-foot-4, 170-pound frame that will look Russell Westbrook-like when he finally fills out. We talked with Rivals national analyst Eric Bossi over the weekend about where he thinks LaVine will end up in the rankings, and he said he'll move about 100 spots. I think he probably ends up around No. 35 or No. 40.

As for Clark, I think that tandem would be unreal. You have two guys who can shoot from anywhere, two guys who want to have pass-first mentalities and two guys who bring some much-needed speed and athleticism to UCLA. Not to mention can you imagine the big men who would love to come to Los Angeles to play with those two?

I think Howland's definitely got that magic back. With Wayne Selden high on the Bruins, Allerik Freeman having them in his top five, Karviar Shepherd having them on his short list, Semi Ojeleye having them in his top five, Jarell Martin, Keith Frazier and Ishmail Wainright all super high on UCLA as well - Howland is going to get another nice class in 2013.


Check out more answers to your UCLA questions on Bruin Tracks!


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