USC had tremendous previous week in recruiting, but they still don’t have the top ranked class in the Pac-12 as of right now. That’s because UCLA had another good week with a commitment from Clovis West (Fresno, California) athlete Darian Owens.
Owens could end up being another weapon for Josh Rosen to get the ball to for the Bruins, but he easily could end up covering receivers on the other side of the ball as well.
He is smooth athlete with very quick feet. He has very good, but not quite elite, speed. He likely isn’t going to get too much bigger, but doesn’t have to. Physically he looks like he is ready to compete at the college level right now.
Owens isn’t asked to run too many different routes, but his footwork out of his breaks really stands out. He is quick, but it’s his efficiency of movement that allows him to gain separation.
He has the speed to threaten over the top, but also flashes the ability to go up and high point the football. He is a natural hands catcher that snatches the ball well away from his body. That’s also something that helps him hold onto the ball even after taking a hit in traffic.
He does some nice things after the catch. If given room, he can do some damage. He also has a little bit of wiggle to make the first defender miss and shows some strength to run through arm tackles.
I actually liked his game a lot on defense as well. There are always a lack of quality safeties and he did some nice things as a single high free safety. He was instinctive and did an outstanding job of reading the quarterback’s eyes. He put himself in a good position to make plays and had the ball skills to finish them.
He also was a solid tackler that made some players pay after the catch and did a nice job coming up from depth in run support. His feet lead me to believe he would be a solid player in man coverage as well even though I didn’t get to see him in that role.
If he plays receiver, then I think he will play on the outside, but think he could also be a solid contributor out of the slot as well. I like him best at free safety though and it will be interesting to see how the UCLA coaching staff views him in a couple of years.
Versatility is huge asset for any prospect and Owens has a lot of versatility. Wherever he ends up, he has the potential to develop into a very good player for the Bruins and should eventually start for multiple seasons.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).