Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA Bruins Football: Most Important Returning Players in 2013

The UCLA football program has some key players leaving, but the Bruins also have some key players returning.

RB Damien Thigpen: Losing Johnathan Franklin is a big blow, but watch out, Thigpen may take you by surprise. This kid has breakaway speed, moves up and down very well and he’s a reliable receiver. Thigpen really made his presence felt last year backing up J. Frank. Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to a torn ACL in his right knee. I expect him to make a recovery and compete for the starting job in Spring.

WR Shaq Evans: Talk about a deep threat, look it up in a dictionary and his face will pop up. A transfer from Notre Dame, Evans caught 60 passes for 877 yards and 3 touchdowns. The touchdown numbers might not stand out, but this kid made some big plays throughout the year. Just adding another threat to Brett Hundley’s arsenal.

Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

LB ANTHONY BARR: Why is his name in caps? Well, it’s obvious. Every time he made a tackle, it was a big one. An F-Back converted to LB, Barr made national headlines, and was even a projected top 15 pick (per Mel Kiper). Anthony Barr’s presence, whether it’s sacking a quarterback, stuffing the run, or just communicating on D, is ALWAYS felt. I’m really excited about him; he has great potential. And he gets even more points since he decided to stick around for his senior year.

HC Jim Mora: No, he’s not a player, I know that. Mora was great during his first year at UCLA. He lead the Bruins to a PAC-12 South title and a 9-5 record, all with a freshman quarterback and a young team. Mora could’ve walked out on UCLA and taken a job in the NFL, but he didn’t. Major props to him for choosing to finish what he started. It’s reassuring to have a coach that is willing to turn down the spotlight and stick to his team.


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Tags: College Football UCLA UCLA Bruins UCLA Football

  • Henderson Cooper

    The good news just keeps coming! Very happy and excited for all the great things that the hiring of Jim Mora and his great staff, and the offensive and defensive changes that came with. The future looks bright. Even though USC had a down year, for them, winning the big game and winning in the recruiting sets a very handsome stage for the Bruins. Keep the students in class, ease off on the partying, stay safe on the streets, practice, eat right and win all the way to the big one. Go Bruins!