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UCLA Football: Where Is This Recent Bruins Recruiting Buzz Coming From?

After speaking with local and out-of-state Bruin recruits, there's a clear sense that something's changing UCLA, and recruits can't stop talking about it.

UCLA fans once again have a reason to be excited. New head football coach DeShaun Foster is bringing energy to a program that was down bad, really bad, just 2 months ago. Since Chip Kelly's departure from UCLA to the Ohio State offensive coordinator job, it's looked like quite the uphill battle for a Bruin football team entering the Big-10 conference while bleeding players to the portal. 

To add to that, UCLA was fresh off a 2024 recruiting class that was arguably the worst they've had in over a decade. Even in the transfer portal era, signing just 10 high school recruits is nowhere near the standard we're used to seeing in Westwood. Under Kelly, UCLA never finished in the first 25 schools in 247 Sports recruiting class rankings. But after I spoke with several UCLA recruits in the 2025 and 2026 classes, it sounds like the vibe and buzz around a historically good program is once again picking up. 

I asked Loyola High School (Los Angeles, CA) 2025 defensive end/outside linebacker Scott Taylor what was the first thing that stuck out to him when he was on campus just days ago. 

"The main thing for me is the new energy and the feel that the new staff brings... Everyone's loving being there, just from talking to some of the players. Everyone's loving where they're at. I talked to Coach Malloe and Coach Foster a little bit and they just preach hard work, and really getting after it. And I mean, it shows when I watch the workout. Everyone's working hard, encouraging each other. So it was a good vibe and energy around where the team wants to be." 

Another elite recruit out of IMG academy, Zech Fort expressed similar sentiments after taking a trip out to UCLA, and that UCLA is definitely sticking out to him right now in his recruiting process. This is on top of the two local recruits that are already committed in the class of 2025 in linebacker Weston Port and Kuron Jabari Jr., a cornerback, both of whom are from Southern California. 

Although there's still a lot of time left in the recruiting process for Taylor, it's safe to say that the Bruins have the lead as it stands, in his recruitment. "I'm definitely going to officially visit UCLA sometime in May as my first, for sure" said Taylor. 

Taylor's goal is to commit to a school early this summer. Taylor doesn't have any other officials locked in at the moment, but he's also got offers from several Ivy League programs as well as Arizona. "UCLA is sticking out a bunch, I've heard from the staff a lot. It's been great to start building a relationship with them so. I'm excited about where that can go," he added.

UCLA is planning on using Taylor in a similar role as former Bruin Laiatu Latu but with the added option of having Taylor play off the line of scrimmage, highlighting his open-field pursuit ability. "Based on different fronts, I could be a stand-up guy on the edge, but then they also showed on the back end, coverage stuff, guarding tight ends guarding running backs, number 2 inside receivers." 

The 6-foot-4, 233-pound Taylor also shared his where NIL comes into the picture in his recruiting process. "The NIL stuff is great, but I wouldn't go somewhere for NIL over a school that I felt was a better program, that was a better fit. I'm trying to go to the school where I can play the best kind of football."

All this suggests that not only is UCLA recruiting starting to gain momentum, but that they're going after recruits who, as it stands, are more focused on football than NIL. A great sign of the program's ability to retain recruits, which was something that got them into this recruiting dilemma in the first place.