Every once in a while, I’ll present a 2012 UCLA football recruit, give reasons why he should be rated high in the context of our football program and reasons he shouldn’t be rated high. The point is to look at the context of the signing. Did we pick up a 5-star wide-out when our class already includes two of them? Did we nab a 3-star linebacker when we’re stacked with 4-star LBs?
And that’s what my job is. Your job is to give an honest assessment of the player, from a scale of 1 star to 5 stars, by voting in the poll at the bottom. Consider our current strengths and weaknesses as well as our coaching staff for the position. If you disagree with whatever reasoning I have, back your shit up in the comments.
Today’s kid: Ellis McCarthy, DT, Monrovia, CA. Height: 6’5” … Weight: 295 lbs … 2nd-best DT in the nation
Ellis McCarthy is our only five-star recruit. That said, there couldn’t be a more important position to have a five-star recruit, especially here at UCLA (save for defensive end).
Why should you give him 5 stars?
McCarthy is a total freak. At his size, he’ll be one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the nation if he’s groomed correctly. Currently, Scout compares him to, guess who, Ndamukong Suh, the beastly DT out of Nebraska who’s continuing his mean-as-hell streak in Detroit with the Lions.
What’s most important, though, is that our defensive line was shoddy last year (and years prior). Our pass-rush was total trash in 2011 and it’d be nice to actually see someone get in the back-field quick enough to force some game-changing pressure on the QB. McCarthy has the size to bulldoze himself through the offensive line, and at 6’5”, he’s going to be able to get his hands up and blind most college quarterbacks.
There’s no doubt that he’s as talented as they come, and there is really no doubt that UCLA’s defensive line needs him. But …
Why should you give him 1 star?
As the case was with Devin Fuller, it’d be ridiculous to give him one star. But the issues with McCarthy are, surprisingly, more glaring than the issues with Fuller. The four-letter network’s scouting report is actually pretty scathing for a 5-star recruit. They mention his inability to explode fast enough to get off the line and beat blockers before they get in proper position. They also mention that he tends to try to get around blockers a bit too much, not something you want to see from a DT, whose job, primarily, is to clog up space in the middle, collapse the pocket, take up an extra blocker or two and allow for linebackers to close in on the back-field or to force the pocket to collapse enough so that the quarterback gets hurried and makes mistake.
Scout.com also lists an area of improvement: “Intensity/Effort.” And in case you didn’t know, “Intensity/Effort” is something we’ve been missing at UCLA for the longest time. Coach Jim Mora is definitely going to get the guys more disciplined, but does McCarthy tend to take plays off every so often, and if so, will he kick that habit?
There’s no doubt that there’s a place for McCarthy to fit in, especially since we need him, but is his work ethic a concern?
Enough from me, you guys. Your turn. Considering what I presented to you, rate Ellis McCarthy’s value to this program on a scale of 1 star to 5 stars.