The UCLA Bruins are off to a shaky 2-0 start to the season. Jim Mora‘s squad hasn’t performed to expectations. However, the the Bruins will receive extra help on the defensive side of the football next week.
According to FOX Sports‘ Greg Biggins, Takkarist McKinley, a four-star defensive end recruit from Contra Costa Junior College, committed to the Bruins Thursday. McKinley is eligible to play this season and expected to join the team next week.
“I just signed the scholarship papers and I’m ready to go,” McKinley told Biggins. “I’m very excited to be a Bruin, I’ve liked them for a long time, going back to high school. When I visited over the summer, I just fell in love with the place. I got to tour the campus, see the facilities and the dorms and met some really great people.
“It just felt like home to me and I have a strong comfort level with the players and coaches as well. With UCLA, it’s not just about football, it’s the total package of academics, alumni support and connections after football. I love the area and the program is going in the right direction so it’s a lot of pluses when you pick a school like UCLA.”
The 6-3, 235-pound defensive end was considered a top-notch edge rusher at the JUCO level. McKinley’s presence on the roster should help a stagnant pass rush for the Bruins. UCLA was spoiled by the play of Anthony Barr and Cassius Marsh the past two seasons. They were two of the most dynamic pass-rushers in college football. They’re both playing in the NFL this season, and the Bruins are tied among the worst teams in the NCAA with only one sack through two games.
“UCLA has a need a for a pass rusher and I definitely think he’s talented enough to play at that level right now” Contra Costa coach Alonzo Carter told Biggins. “He’s a special talent and does things you just don’t see. You can’t find players with his size and speed coming off the edge. He’s still injured right now and hasn’t practiced in a few weeks but later in the year, I could see him contributing for them and making an impact.”
McKinley originally committed to the Cal Golden Bears as the part of the 2013 recruiting class, but he didn’t qualify when the NCAA didn’t count two classes he took over the summer. The NCAA corrected the oversight which allowed McKinley to play this fall.
(Picture courtesy of Rivals.com)