The Bruins are making a push to flip a Trojan from across town.
Class of 2024 linebacker Dylan Williams, who committed to USC on April 11, received a scholarship offer from UCLA football on Wednesday, he announced on Twitter. Williams is headed into his junior year at Long Beach Poly (CA) and is already viewed as one of the top linebackers in Southern California and in the country.
Williams also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Colorado State, Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, Nevada, Oregon State, San Jose State, TCU and Utah before committing to USC, which offered him in January.
Williams hails from the same high school as former UCLA tight end and current Green Bay Packers veteran Marcedes Lewis. UCLA men's basketball had two Long Beach Poly alums on the roster this past year, but both Peyton Watson and Myles Johnson moved on from Westwood earlier this offseason.
The Bruins had been targeting another Long Beach Poly product on the gridiron before Williams, but class of 2023 cornerback Daylen Austin committed to LSU on May 17.
Williams is currently a member of a USC 2024 recruiting class that ranks No. 3 in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite. Calabasas (CA) defensive back Aaron Butler is the top-ranked member of the Trojans' future class, while Williams' Long Beach Poly teammate, receiver Jason Robinson, rounds out the star-studded group.
That hasn't stopped newly-hired linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. from getting involved, though. Norton, despite being an All-American linebacker at UCLA in the 1980s, picked up his first coaching job at USC and was on the defensive staff there from 2004 to 2009.
Norton has already reeled in commitments from one class of 2023 linebacker – St. John Bosco (CA) prospect Ty Lee – since taking the job in February. He is also on the verge of sealing the deal with another, as top-ranked in-state linebacker Tre Edwards is announcing his commitment Friday with plenty of buzz that he could choose the Bruins.
Williams ranks on the same tier as Edwards, earning four stars from 247Sports, Rivals and On3. Williams is the No. 16 linebacker in the country and No. 16 recruit in California, according to the 247Sports Composite, also creeping into the top-200 in his class overall at No. 195.
Coming in at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Williams racked up 48 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, two passes defended and two fumble recoveries in 12 games for Long Beach Poly in 2021. Williams spun that successful sophomore campaign into an appearance at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January, where he ran a 4.67-second 40-yard dash and further expanded his recruiting.
UCLA has Darius Muasau, Kain Medrano and Ale Kaho as its veteran, standout inside linebackers for this coming season, but none of them will be donning blue and gold by the time 2024 rolls around. Even young backups JonJon Vaughns, Damian Sellers, Jeremiah Trojan and Choe Bryant-Strother would be entering their super senior years at that point, leaving 2022 St. John Bosco signee Jalen Woods as the only piece locked in for the long-term.
The Bruins do not have a single 2024 commit, at linebacker or any other position. Williams is the 13th player in his class to receive an offer from UCLA, all of whom are four or five-star prospects.