The following 10 players listen below may surprise UCLA football fans in 2012. Not because you think they suck, but because you probably don’t know who they are. The term “sleeper”, used in sports, generally means someone who comes out of nowhere to make an impact on the team. This list contains “super sleepers.” These are the guys no one talks about. They are the guys’ family and friends follow, while everyone else watches the superstars. These are the 10 super-sleepers of 2012.
1) David Allen- Allen, previously a reserve linebacker, has made the move to Fullback and stands alone at the position. Although, Mazzone rarely uses a Fullback, if called upon, Allen is the only option. Worst case scenario for Allen, he is used as a special teams player only, where he performed very well in 2011.
2) Tyler Scott- Scott, a walk on Wide Receiver, made quite the impression in spring practice. Typically, walk ons get very little reps in practice and even fewer in games. Scott is big, fast, runs good routes, and has good hands. If he repeats his spring performance in fall, he just may see time on Saturdays.
3) Ahmaad Harris- Although Harris will likely redshirt, and the Bruins have no shortage of hybrid receiver/scat running backs, if Harris wows the coaches in fall, he has a chance to see the field. Coach Mazzone has a deep rotation and Coach Mora loves Harris, Michael Vick’s cousin.
4) Brett Downey- Most Bruin fans will admit to rooting for Torian White or Simon Goines to win the Right Tackle position, but if either falters, Downey is your man.
5) Ricky Marvray- Ok, so everyone knows who Marvray is, but some Bruin fans seem to forget the ability he has. After injuries and reportedly failing a drug test last season, leading to a 1 game suspension, Marvray was in the old staff’s dog house. If Ricky can stay healthy, which has been a problem this year also, his talent will eventually show. He runs great routes, has good hands, and has the ability to make a man miss after the catch, which is essential in the new offense.
1) Stan McKay- UCLA is short on safeties and McKay has shown glimpses in the past. He is a physical safety, who loves to play aggressive in the box. However, he has had the tendency to get lost in coverage at times. If he can put it all together in 2012 and be a more disciplined player, he has a chance to make a big impact in the UCLA secondary.
2) Brandon Sermons- Sticking with the secondary, Sermons has quietly been running with the 2nd string for the last two seasons. Coming off of a gruesome broken femur in 2010, Sermons played mostly special teams in 2011 and did well. While most attention is on the newcomers, Adams and Rios, if needed, Sermons may get a shot.
3) Kevin McReynolds- Much chatter among Bruin fans ensued when McReynolds committed to the Bruins and fans all believed he was another big body defensive lineman that we needed. After redshirting in 2011, the talk died down and his name has not been mentioned much in 2012. UCLA is thin at Nose Guard and McReynolds has a chance to eventually work his way into the two-deep.
4) Brandon Tuliaupupu- like McReynolds, Tuliaupupu plays a position of great need. If Brandon Willis goes down with an injury (knock on wood), Tuliaupupu may find himself in the rotation.
5) Aaron Porter- Much talk has been made about the strength of UCLA’s starting four linebackers, but depth is a clear concern, as well. Expect Aaron Porter to get playing time as a true freshman. Porter is a big, physical Linebacker whose punishing style translates well. If he can adjust to the speed of college sooner rather than later, he will make an impact in 2012.