The Fourth of July long weekend was filled with a solid amount of fireworks for the Bruins on the recruiting trail.
Class of 2023 linebacker Jerry Mixon announced his top six finalists Sunday night, and UCLA football made the cut. Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Missouri and San Diego State are the other contenders still in the race for Mixon's commitment.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep (CA) prospect also had offers from Cal, Nevada, San Jose State, UNLV, Washington and Washington State, but he appears to have crossed those schools off his list for the time being.
With UCLA making the monumental decision to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten a few days earlier, Mixon told 247Sports that although he had been planning to announce his decision later this month, he will now wait for the dust to settle in regards to the remaining Pac-12 teams on his list.
At the moment, UCLA is the presumptive favorite to reel in Mixon, with the 247Sports Crystal Ball and On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine both heavily favoring the Bruins. Mixon took an official visit to Westwood the weekend of May 13, and he said he has a strong relationship with linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr.
The cousin of Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon took a visit to Arizona in May, though, and he went up to Eugene for the Ducks' spring game, so his recruitment is far from over.
247Sports, ESPN and On3 all have Mixon pegged as a three-star recruit, with ESPN slotting him in the highest among the nation's linebackers at No. 27. Mixon was one of the two West Catholic Athletic League Utility Players of the Year, also making First Team All-League and earning All-State honors.
Sacred Heart Cathedral won the CIF Division 4-A state championships with Mixon leading the way on both sides of the ball. In addition to being the team's leading rusher, Mixon closed out the title game with a 54-yard pick six.
Mixon totaled 1,800 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns his junior year, in addition to his 147 tackles, 14.0 sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect – in terms of production, rankings and general hype – is one of the most highly-sought after recruits to come out of the San Francisco area in years. Mixon earned invites to the 2022 Polynesian Bowl National Combine and Showcase, as well as the National Preps National Combine at the NFL Pro Bowl.
More recently, Mixon was one of several linebackers and defensive backs invited to the Elite 11 Finals – a 7v7 showcase and quarterback competition – where he earned all-tournament honors.
UCLA lost veteran linebackers Caleb Johnson and Jordan Genmark Heath earlier this offseason, but Hawaii transfer Darius Muasau came in as a high-level short-term replacement.
Looking towards the future, while Muasau, Ale Kaho and Kain Medrano could be gone relatively soon, the Bruins signed St. John Bosco's (CA) Jalen Woods for their class of 2022 and earned a commitment from Mater Dei Catholic's (CA) Tre Edwards for their class of 2023.
Of course, reeling in more commitments would be a welcome development for UCLA, considering their class of 2023 currently ranks No. 64 in the 247Sports Composite with just five pledges.