UCLA makes big splash with new recruiting class

The latest UCLA recruiting class not only features multiple players with all-state accolades, but several players from the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team.

UCLA coach John Speraw announced last week that high school seniors Sam Burgi, Cole Johnson, Kevin Kobrine, Daniel Matheney and Cole Pender, along with recent high school graduate Ian Eschenberg have all committed to Bruins for the 2019 season.

“This is a group of high achieving student-athletes who will complement our previous top recruiting classes and they all have the unique ability to play multiple positions.” Speraw said in a statement. “They also have the potential to impact our team immediately and more importantly, these student-athletes possess the kind of character we look for in a Bruin. Our staff is extremely thrilled to welcome these great young men and their families to UCLA and we look forward to their growth on and off the court.”

Burgi, a 6-foot-3 outside attacker and opposite from Laguna Beach, California, was selected during the summer to the preliminary roster of the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team. In addition, Burgi helped lead his club team to a gold-medal finish at the 2017 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships.

Eschenberg, a 6-foot-6 outside attacker from Newbury Park, California, was named the most valuable player of his high school conference as a senior. The member of the 2015 USA Volleyball High Performance Beach Team began to serve a church mission in Brazil after graduating from high school last year.

Johnson, a 6-foot-7 setter from York, Pennsylvania, was an all-state selection last season. That same season he also led his high school team to a state championship.

Kobrine, a 6-foot-4 opposite from Newport Beach, California, was named to the initial roster for the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team earlier this year. The brother of UCLA opposite Sam Kobrine was named the most valuable player and earned All-Tournament Team honors at the 2016 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships.

Matheney, a 6-foot-6 middle attacker from Torrance, California, played for the United States at the 2017 FIVB U19 World Championship and was among the team leaders with 11 blocks and a 0.35 blocks per game average. He also has earned first-team all-state honors in each of the last three seasons with his high school team.

Pender, a 6-foot-3 libero and outside attacker from Newport Beach, California, was named the most valuable player of his high school conference and was an all-state selection last season. With his club team, Pender earned All-Tournament Team honors and won the gold medal at the 2017 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships.

UCLA after opening the 2017 season at No. 2 in the national rankings finished an injury-plagued year in fifth place in the MPSF and reached the conference tournament quarterfinals.