The Bruins have snagged a new centerpiece for their future linebacker corps.
Class of 2023 linebacker Tre Edwards verbally committed to UCLA football on Friday, he announced on Instagram Live. The Mater Dei Catholic (CA) recruit had his official visit with the Bruins over the weekend – the only one he booked with any school – and it apparently left enough of a mark for him to pick the blue and gold over Arizona, Cal and Oregon.
Edwards is the fourth player to join coach Chip Kelly's 2023 recruiting class, with wide receiver Grant Gray, safety/linebacker hybrid Ty Lee and running back Roderick Robinson II being the first three. Robinson committed to UCLA on Thursday, and the top in-state running back is from the San Diego area just like Edwards.
Between Edwards and Lee, new inside linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. has been the driving force behind two of those commitments, and he may not be done just yet. Norton has offers out to six other linebackers, several of whom came on official visits the week before Edwards.
Several signs were pointing towards Edwards committing to the Bruins, since he was coming off an official visit to Westwood when he announced his final four and decision date. UCLA Director of Player Personnel Ethan Young also Tweeted his signature "BOOM!" a few hours earlier, signifying that the program had received a verbal commitment.
When Friday arrived, though, Edwards tagged Oregon football in his Instagram bio. Edwards also archived all of his posts besides his final four announcement and photos from his official visit to Eugene. Those last-second moves appear to have been a red herring, though, and he is Westwood-bound after all.
Edwards' first offers came rushing in after his freshman season with the Crusaders, when he was named a 2019 Freshman All-American by MaxPreps. USC, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, Illinois, UNLV, Cal and Arkansas all offered that offseason, while San Diego State, Oregon, Arizona, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Nevada and Utah State sent Edwards offers since.
UCLA started its official recruitment of Edwards last September under Don Pellum, who sent Edwards his official offer in late January five weeks before Norton took over.
Edwards is a consensus four-star prospect and is ranked as the top inside linebacker in California by the 247Sports Composite and ESPN. Rivals is the highest on Edwards, ranking him No. 137 overall in his class and No. 6 at his position, and all three systems have him pegged as a top-15 linebacker in the nation and top-20 player in California.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker played in 11 of Mater Dei Catholic's 13 games in 2021, helping them finish undefeated and win the CIF Division 2AA State Championship. Edwards was able to rack up 96 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and a forced fumble, also picking up two touchdown receptions on two catches on offense.
While Edwards' career high in tackles remains the 103 he recorded as a freshman, he took major steps forward as a pass rusher and run stuffer in 2021, earning a spot on the MaxPreps California All-State Team in the process.
Hawaii transfer Darius Muasau, Ale Kaho, Kain Medrano are in line to be the key contributors at UCLA's two inside linebacker spots in 2022, but Kaho is likely to leave next offseason and Muasau and Medrano will likely be done after 2023. Even the depth pieces of JonJon Vaughns, Damian Sellers, Jeremiah Trojan and Choe Bryant-Strother will be in their fourth years in the program come 2023, leaving the future murky at the position past lone 2022 signee Jalen Woods.
UCLA is also in hot pursuit of Edwards' Mater Dei Catholic teammate and fellow four-star recruit, wide receiver Jeremiah McClure. While McClure has yet to officially book a visit to Westwood, the Bruins are considered one of the favorites to reel him in – and that was before they picked up a commitment from his classmate.
With Edwards' commitment, UCLA moved up from No. 49 to No. 40 in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings for the 2023 class.