UCLA junior running back Malcolm Jones is transferring, according to Scout.com.
This is likely a result of Jones being buried in the depth chart. UCLA’s most stacked position is running back, and with Jones having been the third back behind Derrick Coleman and Johnathan Franklin the past two years, it was unlikely he’d be alright with sitting fourth in the depth chart behind Franklin, Jordon James and Damien Thigpen, all of whom were given more touches last week against Rice than Jones.
Of course, UCLA’s issues with depth at running back have been alleviated in other ways. Most notably, Anthony Barr, who was originally buried in the running back depth chart even further behind Jones, requested to be switched to the defensive side of the ball, realizing he had a better chance of earning playing time on that end. As a result, Barr proved to be an explosive option at linebacker last week against Rice.
No one would’ve expected Jones to stick around and compete with James, Thigpen and Franklin while also staving off Steven Manfro. Jones has a redshirt year available, so this was definitely the smarter move on Jones’ end.
In his two seasons at UCLA, Jones carried the ball only 80 times, and part of his being buried on a deep running back corps was his performance. Jones only gained 313 yards on those 80 carries as a Bruin, amounting to just 3.8 yards a touch.
Malcolm Jones was a prolific high school running back, ranked third in the country when Rick Neuheisel’s staff recruited him. Staying behind Coleman and Franklin isn’t something to scoff at, since both were very serviceable, so we’re sure Jones will find success elsewhere.