Best UCLA Offensive Player
WR Theo Howard, Jr.
With Jordan Lasley and Darren Andrews done, it’s Howard’s time to rise up and be the No. 1 target – and he’s ready. One of the first top targets who was able to stay in one piece, playing in every game and finishing third on the team with 56 catches for 594 yards and four scores.
The 6-0, 180-pounder has blazing speed, is consistent, and has everything there to come up with a national breakout season.
2. TE Caleb Wilson, Jr.
3. QB Devon Modster, Soph.
4. QB Wilton Speight, Sr.
5. RB Soso Jamabo, Sr.
Best UCLA Defensive Player
S Adarius Pickett, Sr.
The tough 5-11, 195-pounder was a big recruit who’s playing up to the hype. Solid in his first two seasons, he broke through with 85 stops and a pick as one of the few big positives for the mediocre defense.
Ultra-quick, he’s able to work as a punt returner when needed, and he proved last year he can help bail out the leaky front seven with 11 stops against Texas A&M and 20 tackles in back-to-back weeks against Utah and Arizona State. Expect more of the same.
2. CB Nate Meadors, Sr.
3. LB Krys Barnes, Jr.
4. DT Chigozie Nnoruka, Jr.
5. DE Jealan Phillips, Soph.
Key Player To A Successful Season
OT Andre James, Jr.
The offensive line has to keep the new starting quarterback upright. There’s talent available to take over for Josh Rosen, so if one option isn’t great, there are others who can give it a go. But it doesn’t fly if the line doesn’t do its job after a rough year against good pass rushers, and a miserable season for the ground game.
The 6-4, 310-pound James has to grow into a rock at left tackle after starting every game on the right side. He’s lone, talented, and good enough to get even better, but the Bruins need him to work at an all-star level.
Key Game To The UCLA Season
USC, Nov. 17
This first season under Chip Kelly is to get things in place to start rocking and rolling in 2019 – the Bruins aren’t going to be amazing right out of the gate. However, by the middle of November, the team should start to be coming together. The quarterback situation needs to be fine, the defensive principles should be in place, and young playmakers have to be identified.
And after losing the last three games to the Trojans, and with Kelly needing to establish himself in the rivalry, a UCLA win would mean everything is going in the right direction – at least until the regular season finale against Stanford.
2017 UCLA Fun Stats
– Rushing Yards: Opponents 3,736 – Opponents 1.474
– Penalties: UCLA 106 for 977 yards – Opponents 98 for 872 yards
– Time of Possession: Opponents 33:31 – UCLA 26:29