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August 2, 2014
Looking at UCLA's DBs heading into camp
Tyler Foreman will give it a go at linebacker, redshirt freshman Jalen Ortiz will make a run at corner and walk-on Charles Dawson will move from defensive back to wide receiver.UCLA has done some shuffling with its defensive back core prior to the start of fall camp. Per a source, redshirt freshman
With those moves in mind, here's a peek at how the UCLA secondary will look heading into fall camp next week:
THE STARTING FOUR
Cornerback - Fabian Moreau, Junior
After an electric spring, and some heavy-handed compliments from head coach Jim Mora, UCLA is expecting a huge season out of Moreau. In fact, Mora said it wouldn't surprise him if Moreau is an eventual NFL first-round pick.
Safety - Anthony Jefferson, Redshirt Senior
The senior leader of this unit, Jefferson's versatility will allow Jeff Ulbrich to run multiple fronts, including a 3-3-5 variation this fall. The big DB can not only play safety effectively, but he's one of the better cover corners on this team as well.
Safety - Randall Goforth, Junior
Much like Jefferson, Goforth has big-time versatility as both a dominant safety and cornerback. He's been a contributor since the day he stepped onto campus three years ago, and he's expected to have another great year for the Bruins.
Cornerback - Ishmael Adams, Junior
At only 5 feet 8, there are much bigger corners on UCLA's roster, and honestly, probably much more talented ones as well. But Adams' fight, grit and heart have him securely in the starting four heading into fall camp. A bulldog who's relentless in man coverage, Adams is one of the stickiest CBs in the Pac-12.
THE NEXT MEN UP
Safety - Tahaan Goodman, Sophomore
Goodman had a huge spring camp, showing some serious range and hitting ability. While UCLA's starting four are pretty much set, Goodman's play may force the Bruins to go into a five-DB set a whole lot this season.
Safety - Jaleel Wadood, Freshman
His senior season at St. John Bosco has everybody around Westwood amped to see what Wadood can do as a freshman at UCLA. Possibly the best high school senior in the state, Wadood should battle immediately for playing time in San Bernardino.
Safety - Librado Barocio, Redshirt Senior
Much like Adams, Barcoio isn't the biggest player in UCLA's secondary, but he has one of the biggest hearts. He's almost always the last player to leave the field, and Mora rewarded the fifth-year senior with a scholarship this season. He should find playing time on both special teams and in the secondary this year.
Cornerback - Priest Willis, Sophomore
This will be a pressure-packed year for Willis. Mora seems hell-bent on keeping the young DB at cornerback, despite some early struggles at the college level. If he can finally adapt to the position this year, he could be a big contributor down the road. But if he can't, the former Rivals100 four-star may need to think about a move to safety.
Cornerback - Marcus Rios, Redshirt Sophomore
After a scary sinus issue last season, Rios started to look like his normal self in the spring. If he keeps improving physically and finally gets his body to 100 percent, he could be a contributor sooner than later at UCLA.
Cornerback - Adarius Pickett, Freshman
Pickett will be an interesting prospect to watch this year. While he's a good CB, he possesses ball skills that may make him a candidate for a possible switch to running back. His future at UCLA could be determined by where ends up on the Bruins' depth chart this season.
Cornerback - Denzel Fisher, Freshman
There's no denying Fisher's upside. He's a tall, smooth, long and athletic corner that the NFL is now thriving with. The issue with Fisher, though, will be how long it takes him to adjust to this level of football. Once he picks up the speed of the game, he could be a big-time player for the Bruins.
Cornerback - Jalen Ortiz, Sophomore
Ortiz struggled to catch the football in the past 12-or-so months as a wideout at UCLA, and now we've heard he'll be tried out at cornerback. He was a great two-way player in high school, so it'll be interesting to see how this move pays off in 2014.
Cornerback - Johnny Johnson, Redshirt Freshman
Johnson reinjured his surgically-repaired shoulder this past spring and will miss yet another year. His future as a Bruin could be in question if this shoulder injury keeps flaring up.
Safety - Ron Robinson, Freshman
The early enrollee struggled in his first few weeks as a Bruin this past spring. He actually has a body type similar to Foreman's, and it wouldn't be farfetched to think Robinson may eventually move to linebacker as well if he can't make it as a safety on this depth chart.
Cornerback - Justin Combs, Redshirt Sophomore
Another undersized player who, like Adams and Barocio, always gives maximum effort. His size will limit his playing time for the foreseeable future at UCLA, but because of his tenacity, he could become a good special teams player for the Bruins this season.
Cornerback - Erick Zumwalt, Redshirt Junior
The brother of newly-drafted Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, walk-on Erick Zumwalt has a chance to be a special teams contributor this season.
Defensive backs - Michael Carlson (Redshirt Freshman), Dylan Luther (Redshirt Freshman) and Alex Staff (Redshirt Freshman)
The other three walk-ons on this unit will need to show Mora, Demetrice Martin and the rest of the staff that they can play at this level in order to be contributors at UCLA.