When was the last time you looked at the L.A. schools and thought UCLA had the edge in elite prospects? I think the Trojans still have better talent overall, despite the depth problems, but based on my Big Board, I see a two-to-one advantage for UCLA inside the top 10. What's more, both of the UCLA prospects are at premium positions -- pass-rusher and quarterback. The Pac-12 is loaded with talent these days, and the battle of Los Angeles has clearly shifted in that regard.
It was a good week for pass-rushers, as UCLA's Anthony Barr moved into the top five, and Vic Beasley of Clemson moved into the top 25. A connection between the two? Both were once running backs, and kept the quickness, and also the lower-body strength, as they transitioned to defense.
As always, scouting reports remain similar week to week, with updates on matchups. Asterisks denote juniors; two asterisks denote redshirt sophomores.
Jadeveon Clowney *
He faces a dangerous UCF team Saturday, with a quarterback in Blake Bortles who can cause problems given time to operate. In other words, it's a good time for No. 7 to have a big game. Clowney combines exceptional strength and quickness, as well as strong hands, to quickly shed blocks. He's not just an edge-rusher looking to quickly turn the corner, as he beats tackles inside effortlessly. He can occasionally play a little high, which allows teams to run at him, but he has improved there and is nowhere near a liability.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 1 | PLAYER CARD
Teddy Bridgewater *
The Cardinals get a week off before they face Temple, yet another team that won't be able to slow them down, which is now more a problem than a compliment. Bridgewater looks as comfortable as he should be against what he's seen so far, typically with the time to scan the whole field. When he sees a target he has a quick release, plenty of arm strength and good ball placement. I really like how he calibrates his throws, not using too much arm when he doesn't need to.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 2 | PLAYER CARD
Louis Nix III *
Hasn't done much in the backfield, but he has been a wall. At his best, Nix has the rare size and skills to handle a zero-technique role -- Nix can keep multiple blockers occupied and make life easy for linebackers cleaning up against the run -- but he's not limited to that because he can really move, at least a lot better than you'd expect from a guy who can play at 340 pounds.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 3 | PLAYER CARD