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As signing day approaches, here's a look at UCLA's early signees

As signing day approaches, here's a look at UCLA's early signees
is the most highly regarded of UCLA’s early signees. (Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)
As of Tuesday, the day before signing day, UCLA’s recruiting class had earned the No. 10 ranking in the country, according to Scout.com. That’s the best in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Bruins are awaiting a number of high-profile decisions, plus signed letters from their verbal commitments, but there will be no drama surrounding eight players who have already signed letters of intent.
Among them are one of the best receivers in the West, one of the best kickers anywhere and a pair of talented brothers.
Here’s a closer look at UCLA’s early signees:

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Breland Brandt, DE

Average rating: Four stars

Height: 6-3

Weight: 210 pounds

High school: Los Angeles Windward

What it means: Brandt was rated a five-star recruit initially before settling in as a high four-star defensive end. He was considered one of the best overall athletes at Windward, where he also played basketball.

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Demetric Felton, RB/WR

Average rating: Three stars

Height: 5-10

Weight: 180

High school: Temecula Great Oak

What it means: Felton is a fast, compact back who brings some versatility. He mostly played running back at Great Oak, but he is more likely to start out as a slot receiver for UCLA.

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Theo Howard, WR

Average rating: Four stars

Height: 6-1

Weight: 175

High school: Westlake

What it means: Last year’s UCLA receiving corps has been mostly wiped out. Jordan Payton and Devin Fuller graduated. Thomas Duarte left early for the NFL draft. UCLA needs a speedy receiver for quarterback Josh Rosen. Howard provides that. He is the most highly regarded of UCLA’s early signees, and he’ll have an extra spring practice to develop.

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Matt Lynch, QB

Average rating: Three stars

Height: 6-5

Weight: 190

High school: Bloomfield (Colo.) Legacy

What it means: UCLA’s starting quarterback is locked in for at least the next two seasons, barring injury. That job belongs to Josh Rosen. But the position is rather thin behind him, especially after Jerry Neuheisel skipped his last year of eligibility to become a graduate assistant. Lynch adds some depth and could compete for the starting job after Rosen leaves. He is a pocket passer but brings good speed and mobility.

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J.J. Moslon, kicker

Average rating: Three to four stars

Height: 5-11

Weight: 195

High school: Westmont (Canada) Selwyn House

What it means: For four years, UCLA could count on kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, who won the Lou Groza award last season as a senior. J.J. Molson will have big shoes to fill, but he was rated the No. 2 kicker in his class by special teams guru Chirs Sailer. He may be called upon immediately. UCLA Coach Jim Mora wasn’t afraid to use Fairbairn as a true freshman, and there is little reason to think Molson would be different.

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Nick Terry, DT

Average rating: Three stars

Height: 6-4

Weight: 295

Junior college: Sacramento American River

What it means: Terry, from Pleasant Grove High near Sacramento, initially signed with Boise State in 2013. He redshirted his first season and appeared in one game in 2014 before transferring to junior college in 2015. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.

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Leni Toailoa, S

Average rating: Three stars

Height: 6-1

Weight: 175

High school: Rialto Carter High

What it means: Despite being in the same grade, Leni Toailoa is actually the younger brother of Lokeni, the linebacker who is also one of UCLA’s early signees. Their father moved Leni up a grade so the boys could be in the same class. Leni initially committed to San Jose State. Offers from power-conference schools came later, possibly because of his age, but ultimately, his potential won out.

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Lokeni Toailoa, LB

Average rating: Four stars

Height: 6-0

Weight: 250

High school: Rialto Carter High

What it means: One morning in March, after agonizing between UCLA and USC, Lokeni Toailoa had an epiphany. “I woke up this morning and wanted to be a Bruin,” Toailoa told The Times. Toailoa gives UCLA what Coach Jim Mora sought after a disappointing season for its rush defense: a big, formidable presence inside who can stuff the run.

Twitter: @zhelfand

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